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Two affordable apartment buildings headed for Tamiami Trail

Sarasota's Development Review Committee is working with developers planning 132 affordable housing units.

Blue Sky communities is planning 96 affordable apartments on county-owned land along North Tamiami Trail.
Blue Sky communities is planning 96 affordable apartments on county-owned land along North Tamiami Trail.
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Two affordable housing developments that include 132 units and the site plan for the new clubhouse at the Bobby Jones Golf Course continued their progress toward city staff endorsement last week as they appeared before the Development Review Committee.

Resubmittals were heard for New Trail Plaza and an expansion of Oakridge Apartments, both 100% affordable housing projects on North Tamiami Trail. 

Partial sign-off was granted for New Trail Plaza, a four-story, 90-unit apartment building plus a three-story mixed-use building with 3,040 square feet of commercial space and six additional residential units. 

St. Petersburg-based Blue Sky proposes to build the development on a 3.5-acre parcel of at 4644 N. Tamiami Trail. The site is currently vacant and is part of a 6.3-acre Sarasota County-owned site. 

Planned is a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom rental apartments, all developed as attainable units for those earning at or below 80% of the Sarasota County average median income. Although the project is required to have a minimum of 57 parking spaces, there will be 106 spaces, in addition to bicycle racks. A single vehicle access is proposed directly from Tamiami Trail.

Blue Sky is required to acquire the entire property from the county but plans to sell the remaining 2.8 acres to be developed into affordable single family residences.

“The county won't let us split the property until they own it,” said project consultant Joel Freedman of Blue Sky. “Once Blue Sky owns it, then we will come back and do a block split to sell it, probably to CASL (Community Assisted Supportive Living), which will develop the single family.”

With partial sign-off, the developer will resolve remaining regulatory matters with individual department representatives.

The L-shaped main building will partially front Tamiami Trail, separated from the mixed-use building by a driveway. Consistent with the North Trail Overlay District, the parking will be located internally to the project. A retention pond will separate the north-facing frontage from adjacent single-family residential.

A few blocks north on Tamiami Trail, Sarasota-based One Stop Housing is proposing to expand its Oakridge Apartments at 4900 N. Tamiami Trail. The affordable housing developer is planning a three-story, 36-unit affordable apartment building on 4.91 acres. 

Also part of the North Trail Overlay District with future land-use classification of Urban Mixed Use, the site includes 120 existing affordable multifamily units owned and operated by One Stop Housing, plus a 3,713-square-foot restaurant and reception office.

The new building will be located behind the existing structure along the roadway. Among the sticking points is the required amount of glass required on the west-facing elevation, for which One Stop may seek an exemption from the city’s Building Services Department.

“When we think about these spaces, adding 30% more glass sounds like a positive thing, but these are small bedrooms, and then you're on the ground floor and you start having issues with privacy,” said Stefan Baron, the head of development for One Stop Housing.

That plus other matters remaining to be resolved require a resubmittal to the DRC.



Andrew Warfield

Andrew Warfield is the Sarasota Observer city reporter. He is a four-decade veteran of print media. A Florida native, he has spent most of his career in the Carolinas as a writer and editor, nearly a decade as co-founder and editor of a community newspaper in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

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