Barring a significant change in the design of the proposed One Park condominium development, a legal battle within The Quay may prevent the project from moving forward until at least mid-2023.
12th Circuit Judicial Court Judge Hunter Carroll declined a summary judgment request by Quay 1 and 9 LLC to determine if ownership of the air rights above Quay Commons on the northern edge of the development belongs to the Quay Sarasota Master Association or if they can be conveyed to Quay 1 and 9 by the master developer, Quay Ventures, to build One Park above the street at a height of 14 feet.
Quay Commons is the primary street and pedestrian walkway through The Quay, the 14.69-acre waterfront development on North Tamiami Trail between Boulevard of the Arts and Fruitville Road.
Residents of The Quay Block 6 Condominium Association have challenged the One Park plan primarily the basis of those air rights relative to the 2016 development agreement with the city. The principals in One Park — Property Markets Group of New York City and Miami, and Sarasota-based JEBCO Ventures; which comprise Quay 1 and 9 LLC — are seeking an amendment to that agreement to effectively allow Quay Commons to become a breezeway beneath the structure.
A hearing on the proposed amendment before the Sarasota Planning Board has been scheduled for this week.
Without summary judgment in hand, though, whether that is continued until the legal process is completed remains to be seen. The effect of Carroll’s order is to require a full trial on all the issues, primarily whether master developer, Quay Venture, can sell the air rights over Quay Commons.
That trial is tentatively set for May.
Block 6 residents and their attorney, Robert Lincoln, have argued that allowing One Park to be built as proposed would create an 18-story monolith at the corner of Tamiami Trail and Boulevard of the Arts. The development agreement for The Quay calls for separate buildings on blocks 1 and 9, land currently being used for staging construction of other buildings within The Quay.
While both sides argued multiple points, Carroll boiled the matter down to one issue: the air rights.
“The parties raise several factual and legal arguments,” Carroll wrote. “The Court need address only one to resolve this summary judgment motion.
“At the time Quay Venture LLC filed its Notice of Binding Determination on May 2, 2022 — concluding that the air rights above 14 feet of finished grade of the Sarasota Commons roadway were not included as Common Elements — there is a disputed issue of fact whether that roadway and surrounding common area elements were developed within the meaning of article 3.2 of the Declaration requiring conveyance of the Common Elements to the Master Association ‘as and when’ they are developed. Even though currently controlled by Quay Venture LLC, there is no conveyance from the Master Association of the air rights above 14 feet of Quay Commons.
"Because the Court resolved this motion on this singular narrow ground, the Court does not need to address any of the other arguments,” Carroll further wrote. “The Court denies plaintiff’s motion for final summary judgment.”
The plan for One Park also lacks full support of staff. At its the Dec. 7 meeting, the Development Review Committee expressed concerns that One Park would create a "tunnel-like" and "echo chamber" effect over Quay Commons.