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12 homes planned for Longboat arts center site

Developer pays Ringling College $1.85 million for the 2.3 acre site.

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  • | 3:00 p.m. June 1, 2017
The Longboat Key Center for the Arts closed in May.
The Longboat Key Center for the Arts closed in May.
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The sale of the Longboat Key Center for the Arts property is final.

The north end landmark was purchased from Ringling College of Art and Design by developer Jim Clabaugh for $1.85 million. Clabaugh said he intends to build 12 single-family homes on the 2.3 acre site.

“We’re hoping construction of the first home will start in July,” Clabaugh said.

The developer mentioned that the homes will be of a “coastal style,” conforming with both existing town codes and the character of other residences in the Key's Longbeach Village neighborhood.

Planning, Zoning and Building Director Alaina Ray said the site is zoned for residential use so the project will not require a referendum, but the subdivision of the site into plots will require approval from the Town Commission.

Clabaugh, a Key resident, has developed a number of projects on Longboat, including Tangerine Bay and Regent Place.

Clabaugh expects demolition of the arts center to begin within 10 days. He said he expects to be finished with the project in 24 to 30 months.

Since March, north end resident group LBK North has been petitioning for the town to relocate a historic cottage from the Center for the Arts property. The cottage was built in the 1930s as part of the Whitney Resort.

Two such cottages are located on the property, and Clabaugh said he has chosen to give both to local resident Michael Drake, who intends to preserve them before demolition begins.

Larry R. Thompson, President of Ringling College, announced the sale of the center in February, adding that “a major part” of the sale proceeds will go toward the development of a new arts facility: The Longboat Key Center for the Arts, Culture and Education. The Longboat Key Foundation is currently working to raise $12 million for the construction of the center. 

Clabaugh and Reid Murphy, who managed the sale, said any Key resident with questions or concerns about the project should contact Murphy’s company Developers Realty at 941-232-3304. 


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