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City's 'one-stop shop' for developments takes step closer to completion

The new building brings the city of Sarasota's public works, engineering and code enforcement under one roof.

A rendering of the city's "one-stop shop" for building services scheduled for completion in summer 2024.
A rendering of the city's "one-stop shop" for building services scheduled for completion in summer 2024.
Courtesy image
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Vertical construction of the city’s new “one stop shop” building for its development services team has been topped off and work has moved inside as staff begins preparations to move across 2nd Street into its new space.

When complete in mid-summer 2024, the four-story, 30,725-square-foot building will house practically all personnel involved in regulating and serving the needs of developers as well as associated functions, including public works, engineering, code enforcement and others.

Currently, much of that staff is based in the annex building adjacent to City Hall. Others are scattered throughout the city. At approximately $12 million, it’s the first new building to house city employees to be built in 32 years.

City Hall, including the basement, is 30,592 square feet. The annex, built in 1979, is 17,550 square feet.

In addition to providing needed space, the one stop shop will provide a single location for developers and contractors who currently must travel between multiple locations in the city to meet with staff on various aspects of the permitting and code enforcement process.

Construction has moved to the interior of the city's new One Stop Shop for development services on 2nd Street across from Sarasota City Hall.
Photo by Andrew Warfield

“We have grown out of our space,” said Director of Development Services Lucia Panica. “It's going to have development services, utilities, public works engineering, a utilities engineer, and then the majority of the Planning Department. The main purpose is to provide a space where people can come and have someone there to talk to regarding any aspect of their building permit instead getting bounced around. This is one place where they can go in and just talk to anyone involved with permitting.”

The new building will also benefit the staff that Panica said has continually adjusted to less space as it has grown, and is expected to add more personnel with the impending citywide expansion of the city's vacation rental ordinance.

“We are definitely crammed in. We've had to makeshift office spaces as we've expanded, so now everyone will have adequate working space,” Panica said. “That's one huge benefit, as well as having a break room on each floor. Right now we use a hallway that's not even a break room. We’ve adapted to the space, but we've outgrown it.”

Vacating the three-story annex also means more elbow room for the city staff that remains behind, and will permit the city to consolidate more operations on a single campus. Currently, for example, some departments are based in the city-owned former federal building three blocks south of City Hall at 111 S. Orange Ave. Should that building be eventually vacated by the city, it could choose to sell it or lease the space.



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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