After months of preparation and waiting for their day in court, attorneys on both sides of the proposed One Park condominium controversy will have to wait a few more days until their bench trial resumes before 12th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Hunter Carroll.
The expected five-day trial, which started Monday, was adjourned until 8:30 a.m. Thursday, with Carroll sending attorneys and client representatives home — some from as far away as the Jacksonville area — as the anticipated major Hurricane Idalia approached.
Being litigated are the air rights above Quay Commons, and whether they belong to the master association or if they can lawfully be conveyed by master developer Quay Venture to One Park developer Property Markets Group.
Should One Park be developed as planned, it would span across Quay Commons, the primary access street into The Quay, at a height of approximately 20 feet. Opening arguments on Monday focused on whether Quay Commons fits the definition of a developed street — which may have required it be conveyed to the master association at that time — and whether it is part of the Central Quay, open space located within the center of the 14-acre development between Fruitville Road and Boulevard of the Arts along U.S. 41.
Counsel for One Park developers and investors and Quay Venture argued Quay Commons is far from developed and is generally maintained as the access road for residents and construction traffic, but is constantly under reconstruction as work alongside the street requires moving curb cuts, underground utility work and more. The attorneys added that if Quay Commons was already common property, the few property owners within the development would bear the costs of completing the street once construction is finished.
Additionally, they said a “scribner error” in the master declaration resulted in omitting language that common open space will be conveyed to the master association at-will by the developer.
Attorneys for the Ritz-Carlton Residences, collectively Block 6, countered that the street is developed by definition, also pointing out that other master declarations written by the now-retired general counsel of GreenePointe Developers, which is developing The Quay as Quay Venture, do include the at-will terminology, suggesting language in documents governing development of The Quay was intentional.
In dismissing the parties until Thursday morning, Carroll said any litigants who cannot make it back because of storm-related reasons are welcome to join the proceedings via Zoom. He urged them to stay in contact with him via email over the next two days.
“If I don’t hear anything from anybody I’m going go assume that we’re going to be back here at 8:30 on Thursday,” Carroll said.
Carroll's decision is expected in September. Pending appeal, that ruling will either halt the plans for One Park or pave the way for a public hearing to resume before the Sarasota Planning Board on a proposed amendment to the general development agreement that would allow blocks 1 and 9, which are separated by Quay Commons, to be combined.