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Hundreds of downtown housing units inch toward approval

Four projects totaling 264 residences, 126 of them affordable housing, earn DRC partial sign-off.

A rendering of Artist Court at the corner of South Washington Boulevard and Adams Lane.
A rendering of Artist Court at the corner of South Washington Boulevard and Adams Lane.
Courtesy image
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It was the Joel Freedman show at the June 18 Development Review Committee meeting as the prolific consultant to local development made back-to-back-to-back-to-back appearances, with a fifth interrupted by another hearing, while representing projects ranging from One Park West in The Quay to the affordable housing Lofts on Lemon II, and nearly everything in between.

Freedman shepherded One Park West, the expansion of Lofts on Lemon, the Artist Court apartment building and two smaller townhome projects to partial sign-off, the latter still with considerable work remaining as they require both administrative and Planning Board adjustment approvals.

Both of the townhome projects, Cohen Court Townhomes and Rosemary Townhomes, are owned by Maximillian Vollmer, but are separate submissions to the DRC although they are adjacent and will appear to the uninitiated as a single development.

“Just so everyone knows, they’re very similar projects, but they're separate projects because of different ownership, even though Max is the same owner,” Freedman said.

With an address of 1425 Eighth St., Cohen Court Townhomes is seeking administrative site plan, Planning Board adjustment and administrative adjustment approval on a nine-unit development at the northwest corner of Cohen Way and Eighth Street. Those requested adjustments are for a reduction of required frontage widths.

At 1434 and 1442 Ninth St., Rosemary Townhomes is requesting similar administrative and Planning Board adjustments for 13 units on the southwest corner of Cohen Way and Ninth Street.

Both are within the Downtown Edge zone district with a future land use classification of Urban Edge, and are also located within the Rosemary Residential Overlay District. Both of the townhome projects received partial DRC sign-off and, after they complete their time before the city staff, will go to the desk of Director of Development Services Lucia Panica for adjustments within her purview, then on to the Planning Board to address higher-level frontage adjustments over which it has authority.

Artist Court

Located on Adams Lane at the gateway to the Towles Court neighborhood, after multiple iterations, the Artist Court rental apartment development is one step closer to administrative approval. 

Developer GK Real Estate, with Freedman’s help, is seeking administrative site plan and administrative adjustment approval for a 10-story, 242-unit building on the on the west side of South Washington Boulevard between Golf Street to the north and Adams Lane to the south. 

The site of Artists Court from Adams Lane toward South Washington Boulevard.
Photo by Andrew Warfield

The project is within the Downtown Core zone district and utilizes the downtown attainable housing density bonus to include 26 attainable units, one-third each must be priced at 80% or below, 81% to 100% and 101% to 120% of area median income.

The proposed entrance to the parking is off Golf Street and still requires documentation of a joint use agreement with the adjoining property, Florida Cancer Specialists, for shared access. 

The three adjustments being requested are to increase the maximum front yard setback for a portion of the façade in the southeast comer of the building along Adams Lane; a reduction of 7.6% from the habitable space provided on the ground floor along Adams Lane; and a 25% reduction in the required 12-foot recess to 9 feet along the Adams Lane frontage. Those requests must be approved by Panica prior to granting administrative approval. 

Lofts on Lemon II

After helping to secure a utility easement vacation approval from the Planning Board on June 12, Freedman joined George Scarf of Hoyt Architects and Sarasota Housing Authority President William Russell for the third submittal on the second phase of the Lofts on Lemon affordable housing development.

The first phase of Lofts on Lemon along Cohen Way. The second phase will add 100 units to the Sarasota Housing Authority property.
Photo by Andrew Warfield

The SHA is seeking administrative site plan approval for a new eight-story, 100-unit building with structured parking on a three-acre site across the parking lot from the first phase that fronts Cohen Way.

All units are proposed to be attainable to households making 80% of the area median income or less. The SHA is utilizing the affordable housing density bonus incentives to reach 100 units and Florida’s Live Local Act to permit up to eight stories, in accordance with the Downtown Core zone district standards located within one mile of the property. 

Russell, Freedman and company left the meeting with a partial sign-off.



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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