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  • | 4:00 a.m. September 4, 2014
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+ Sarasota businessman buys North Trail motel
Sarasota businessman Harvey Vengroff continues his push for more affordable housing with the purchase of a North Trail motel — a move that fits with local needs for transitional or emergency housing for homeless families.

Vengroff bought the 117-unit Sarasota Airport Hotel for $2.25 million.

Vengroff plans to convert the motel rooms into affordable studio apartments for low-income families as an alternative to a homeless shelter. He is working with local charities, such as the Salvation Army and Jewish Family & Children’s Services, to find renters who have the best chance of using low-cost housing to move out of poverty.

Vengroff expects to charge $575 a month per unit, which includes electric and water service.

“It’s going to need a lot of improvements before people are going to want to live there,” Vengroff said. “We plan to start renting them out in a couple of weeks.”

+ Ringling College buys building near Sarasota High
The Ringling College of Art and Design made a strategic property acquisition last month that will give the school space next to the Sarasota Museum of Art.

Ringling bought a 7,100-square-foot retail building north of Sarasota High School on U.S. 41 for $1.6 million. The building is leased to glasses and contacts retailer Visionworks for at least the next year.

Ringling spokeswoman Christine Lange says the college saw the building as an obvious opportunity given its location adjacent to the former Sarasota High School.

The college has raised $22.5 million to convert the 57,000-square-foot school building into a modern and contemporary art museum.

The redeveloped building will feature a 110-seat auditorium, sculpture court, indoor/outdoor café, classroom, studios and meeting spaces. Construction of the project is expected to take until 2016 at the earliest.

The college is still evaluating its long-term plans for the Visionworks building.

+ Sarasota, Manatee Realtor groups consider merger
Realtor organizations for Sarasota and Manatee counties will consider joining forces.

The board of directors for the Sarasota Association of Realtors and the Manatee Association of Realtors voted this week to merge the organizations. Leaders called the merger an effort to create a stronger voice for the region statewide, nationally and on the Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service.

“Merging the two organizations allows us to eliminate duplication and operate more efficiently and cost effectively,” said Sherry Grooms, MAR president.

Members of both organizations are slated to vote on the concept at 1 p.m. Sept. 16.

Meetings & agendas
Siesta Key Association board meeting—  4:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4. Room F, St. Boniface Episcopal Church, 5615 Midnight Pass Road, Siesta Key.

Lift Station 87 community workshop — 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8, Conference Room 112, City Hall, 1565 First St., Sarasota.

Sarasota County Commission meeting — 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10, First Floor Chambers, County Administration Building, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota.



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