Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Quay development plans come into focus

The owner of the bayfront site is putting together the last pieces of what’s been pitched as a destination district. When will Sarasota residents get to see the final product?

  • By
  • | 11:30 a.m. November 5, 2021
See the box below for the key to the buildings at the Quay now and in the future. Rendering courtesy GreenPointe Communities
See the box below for the key to the buildings at the Quay now and in the future. Rendering courtesy GreenPointe Communities
  • Sarasota
  • News
  • Share

The city’s Development Review Committee recently discussed plans for an 18-story, 134-unit building on the site of the Quay Sarasota, a waterfront community that’s been in the works for more than six years.

The proposal is the fourth distinct project put forward under the Quay umbrella, adding to a planned suite of towers on a 14.7-acre property in downtown Sarasota that had been dormant for nearly a decade. Jacksonville-based GreenPointe Communities purchased the site at U.S. 41 and Fruitville in 2014. Later, the company announced plans to build a destination district block-by-block, creating a mixed-use hub.

So far, the company is pleased with its progress. As GreenPointe works to finalize plans for the final slots on the property, here are five things to know about the Quay:

1. The southern first phase of the site could be finished in two years.

If you’re wondering when you might have an opportunity to visit the Quay property, you might only have to wait a little while longer.

Already, there are completed portions of the project that are bringing people to the site. This year, Kolter Urban completed the construction of The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sarasota, a 73-unit, 18-story condominium located to the north of the Ritz-Carlton hotel and residential complex.

GreenPointe completed renovations on the Belle Haven, a historically designated building that dates to 1926, and placed it on the market for $12.5 million. A future use is yet to be identified, but for now, it serves as the property owner’s offices.

Two buildings are under construction at the entry to the site at U.S. 41 and Fruitville. Stretching along U.S. 41, Lennar Multifamily Communities is building a 11-story, 240-unit building with more than 13,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. South of Fruitville, Kolter Urban is building another 18-story condo tower with 149 residences. Both projects are targeting completion in the third quarter of 2023.

Some public-facing amenities are next on the development team’s to-do list. GreenPointe President Grady Miars said crews are in the process of finishing off the Central Quay, a one-acre park on the waterfront. GreenPointe has also finished construction plans and obtained state permits for boat docks on the property.

2. Market trends have led to an emphasis on residential construction...

In 2015, when GreenPointe first contacted the city about developing the Quay site, the company detailed plans for a project that could include up to 695 residences, 189,050 square feet of retail space, 20,000 square feet of office space and a 175-room hotel.

The latest proposal for the Quay Sarasota project is an 18-story building with 134 residences and 8,000 square feet of ground-level retail. Image via city of Sarasota.
The latest proposal for the Quay Sarasota project is an 18-story building with 134 residences and 8,000 square feet of ground-level retail. Image via city of Sarasota.

Six years later, confirmed plans for buildings on the property include 596 residences and 21,000 square feet of retail. One of the final spaces that’s still yet to be accounted for is marked as the future site of a residential/office/hotel mixed-use tower, but as GreenPointe targets a 2025 final buildout, Miars said residential projects will continue to lead the final stages.

Miars said the choice to max out the residential footprint in comparison to other uses is reflective of market conditions. While business trends and the emergence of COVID-19 have created questions about the future of retail, GreenPointe has found no shortage of demand for waterfront residences in downtown Sarasota.

“​​People want to be a part of the city and be part of the fabric of our community,” Miars said.

3. ...but restaurants and retail remain an important project component.

Despite that residential emphasis, GreenPointe says it doesn’t want the Quay to turn into an enclave for those living on the property.

Miars said a strong concentration of residents will help ensure the viability of the restaurants and retail that are included in the site. For the Lennar Multifamily Communities building, set to have the largest commercial footprint on the site, the shops and dining opportunities on the first floor are designed as a complement to nearby open space.

Maintaining a diversity of uses — particularly at the ground level — is part of the plan.

“​​When you walk three city blocks and there’s nothing there, it feels like a long distance,” Miars said. “But when there’s things to interact with and be a part of, it feels like an interesting walk.”

4. Less visible construction was a necessary first step in transforming the site.

Miars said he understands if some residents are annoyed by the pace of construction, but some important work on the Quay may not have registered as a big deal for those who pass by the site.

He said the first two years of construction on the site focused largely on underground utility work, ensuring that a site that’s been vacant since 2007 was ready to handle an influx of new activity. GreenPointe also partnered with the city and Florida Department of Transportation to accelerate the construction of a roundabout at U.S. 41 and Fruitville, which opened last year.

“The good news is all that infrastructure is in and complete,” Miars said.

5. The project team is confident the west side of U.S. 41 can become a destination.

When GreenPointe acquired the Quay, a destination city park to the north was just a conceptual idea that community activists were organizing support for.

Now, the city has approved a master plan for The Bay Sarasota, a project that will seek to redevelop more than 50 acres of public land surrounding the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Miars said the emergence of a neighboring transformative project affirmed the company’s decision to invest in the Quay. He thinks the buildout of the Quay and The Bay, done in conjunction with the buildout of roundabouts and pedestrian safety features on U.S. 41, will succeed in drawing visitors across the state highway — which has historically been a challenge.

Miars sees The Bay — as well as growth in areas such as the Rosemary District — as complementary to the work GreenPointe is doing.

“We wanted to be a piece of the puzzle, and if we could complement what’s being done at The Bay and what’s being done downtown, that’s the best for all of us,” Miars said.


Latest News