With the recent acquisition the Super 8 motel at 4309 N. Tamiami Trail, the Sapphire North and Sapphire South apartment developments will include a Sapphire middle.
Sapphire North and South were approved by the Planning Board in November 2022. Those projects were brought by Jarzi Really Advisors of New York. Owner and developer Roers Cos. of Plymouth, Minnesota, has acquired the property separating the two, a 1.35-acre site occupied by a Super 8 motel, with plans to create a cohesive, three-building community along U.S. 41 between 42nd and 47th streets.
Represented by Sarasota attorney Charlie Bailey, Roers had its first appearance before the Development Review Committee on Dec. 21. The revised proposal for the project incorporating all three parcels calls for three four-story buildings totaling 225 apartments and 292 parking spaces — an average of 1.3 spaces per unit — taking advantage of parking reduction incentives offered in the North Trail Overlay District.
The North Trail Overlay was approved by the City Commission to help incentivize redevelopment along U.S. 41 in north Sarasota, which had been in decline for decades since Interstate 75 was completed pulling retail, restaurants and hotels from what was formerly the primary north-south corridor.
“What we're proposing is a single unified site plan that would embrace the Sapphire North and Sapphire South properties and the intervening Super 8,” Bailey said.
One benefit of combining the three parcels into single project, Bailey said, is a reduction in the number of driveways off U.S. 41.
“There are now seven driveway connections cumulatively along U.S. 41,” Bailey said. “We’re proposing to replace them with just two — a right-in-right-out and one full-access.”
A previously approved driveway from Sarasota Avenue into the west side of the Sapphire North plan, which had been met with concerns by residents of the adjoining Sapphire Shores neighborhood, is proposed to be eliminated, leaving only a pedestrian access there.
The development is proposed to include primary New Urbanism features such as placing buildings close to the street and hiding parking behind them, along with reduced parking requirements. When Sapphire North and South were approved, the developer told the Planning Board the architecture would be similar to another of its projects on Tamiami Trail, Solle Apartments closer to downtown at 24th Street.
Once it meets all technical criteria with the DRC, the expanded project will move to the Planning Board for final consideration.