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  • | 4:00 a.m. June 13, 2013
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+ Developer signs intent with Kimpton hotel chain
A developer proposing to build a business hotel on a .95-acre parcel of county-owned land said he has a signed letter of intent with the Kimpton chain of hotels.

If the project across the street from the historic courthouse at 20 N. Washington Blvd. advances, Kimpton would operate a boutique businesses-focused hotel on the property, said Rod Connelly, president and founder of Civix Inc., a Sarasota-based real-estate development company.

“This location in the city, from the standpoint of office space, is centrally located,” Connelly said.

The idea of developing the site first arose a year ago, when County Commissioner Joe Barbetta led a discussion about whether the county should sell three of its prime parcels of public land — including the acre on U.S. 301. Barbetta said a private development — whether it be a hotel, office building or some other project — on the county-owned land would spur economic development.

Connelly said he hopes to make a presentation about his proposal to the County Commission within a month. The proposal involves a land swap resulting in a 150-room hotel on the upper Main Street property.

+ Iwo Jima monument supporters to make presentation
Supporters of an effort to bring a bronze Iwo Jima monument to Sarasota’s bayfront are slated to make a presentation to city commissioners next month.

Tom Savage, founder of the Sarasota Public Art Fund, said a tentative July 8 presentation date is set. At the City Commission meeting, Savage will talk about the project and request permission to permanently place the sculpture on the bayfront next to Unconditional Surrender.

Savage and project supporters have been approaching potential donors. It will cost an estimated $1.6 million to buy the sculpture, install it permanently and maintain it.

“We hope to have half of the funding in place by the time we go to the City Commission,” Savage said, “and that is a hope.”

Longboat Key resident and U.S. Navy veteran Harold Ronson and Savage are on a mission to acquire Felix de Weldon’s original 1945 Iwo Jima monument. Ronson was part of the Navy’s Amphibious Forces, and during the invasion of Iwo Jima, he was one of the sailors charged with taking U.S. Marines of the Fifth Division from ships to Iwo’s shores.

+ Correction
In the Your Neighbor on Steve Wilberding printed in the June 6 issue, the Sarasota Observer incorrectly wrote the organization Wilberding founded. Its correct name is Up With People.



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