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Lido pavilion leaseholders discuss plans

Island residents remain skeptical about plans to renovate the Lido Beach pool and pavilion, but the private operators believe they're making progress.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. March 15, 2018
A rendering shows what Lido Beach Redevelopment Partners have in mind for the city-owned Lido Beach pool and pavilion.
A rendering shows what Lido Beach Redevelopment Partners have in mind for the city-owned Lido Beach pool and pavilion.
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Nearly four months after the city of Sarasota approved a controversial lease for the Lido Beach pool and pavilion, the plans continue to trouble Lido Key residents.

The city’s agreement with Lido Beach Redevelopment Partners LLC is set to begin in May and could run for 30 years. Before the private group can begin a series of planned improvements to the city-owned property, though, the city must approve a more detailed site plan for the renovations.

The changes include the conversion of the concession area into a 200-seat open-air restaurant, the addition of a Tiki bar and splash pad and a thatched roof above the dining area.

Throughout the lease-review process, Lido residents expressed opposition. Now, with a lease agreement in place and renovations poised to begin this year, Lido Beach Redevelopment Partners hopes to address community concerns before taking control of the property.

“We want to work with them,” said Gavin Meshad, a member of Lido Beach Redevelopment Partners.

A March 7 community workshop at City Hall provided a platform for residents to share their thoughts. Questions focused on parking, hours of operation, access for people with disabilities and the price point of the amenities the operator plans.

Representatives for the leaseholder included Meshad, Daiquiri Deck co-owner Troy Syprett and architect Javier Suarez. The group attempted to assure residents the changes would not be a significant departure from what’s offered.

“We have not changed the composition of the elements or the structures of this building,” Suarez said.

Residents remained skeptical.

“I fear, as I listen, that we’re creating Starbucks out of a coffee shop,” Lido resident Bryan Martin said. “We have a nice cup of coffee on the beach now. It’s not perfect; it doesn’t always taste great. And to make it wonderful, we’re going to price it out of the people’s range who are there now and change, completely, the character of that beach.”

Syprett and Meshad said they felt they were adding and enhancing amenities for beachgoers, rather than trying attract people to the restaurant and bar at the pavilion.

“The people already at the beach — that’s who we’re targeting,” Syprett said.

Not everyone in attendance was opposed to the proposal, though. Lido resident Harold Ashby said people living on the island had to remember the pavilion gets used by everyone in the city. Still, he urged the new operators to remain conscientious of their neighbors once their lease began.

As Lido Beach Redevelopment Partners goes through the development review process, Syprett said the facility would likely continue to operate with the concession operation in place until the plans are approved. Ideally, Meshad said, construction on the improvements would begin in the late summer and be finished in early 2019.


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