A new development slated for the North Trail could tackle two major issues facing the city of Sarasota: Lack of affordable housing and the revitalization of the blighted highway.
After buying the one-acre parcel housing the Monterey Village Inn for $1 million last year, Elia Rofail has brought in local architect Brent Parker and engineer Matt Morris to redevelop the property. The city’s development review committee this morning commented on initial plans for 33 apartments in a three-story structure at 2413 N. Tamiami Trail.
Though the development is only in its preliminary pre-application stage, Parker said the apartments are expected to serve as workforce or student housing, both of which are sorely needed near downtown.
City staff addressed the need to add a sidewalk to 24th Street, but noted that the owner could instead pay into a special fund for future sidewalk enhancements in order to save a group of trees on that side of the property.
If ultimately approved, the project could spark revitalization along the long-troubled stretch of road, as it would replace a vacant motel. But the plans were not conceived using the North Trail Overlay District, which the city approved two years ago to spur desirable redevelopment in the area.
Sperry Van Ness is marketing another former motel property just north of the Monterey Village Inn.
City staff also suggested a voluntary meeting with nearby residents to address any concerns they may have about the plans.
“I think it would be a welcome change,” said Chief Planner Ryan Chapdelain of the proposed development. “But I think it would be worthwhile to meet with (the neighbors)."