At a dinner party, I recently met two lovely couples who had purchased second homes on Siesta Key last year and were unhappy with all the traffic and construction. “It’s just awful,” one of the women told me. “I can’t get off the key, and now they’re adding a new development at the corner of Stickney Point and U.S. 41.”

She was talking about Benderson Development’s controversial Siesta Promenade, which has a lot of longtime residents concerned, too. Still, my first thought was, “You’re part of the growth!”

It’s human nature to gripe about change, even if we might have some role in what’s changing. But those newcomers have a point. Sarasota is in another era of tremendous growth and transformation, from the 23,000 new homes expected in Parrish to our north to the enormous new West Villages in South Sarasota (the fifth-fastest-growing master-planned community in the country) to the major building and development happening downtown.

The city of Sarasota’s latest development report tallies 84 downtown projects with 4,573 new units of condos, apartments and hotel rooms, completed or in some phase of construction or planning. That’s a lot of new people and cars.

Susan Burns

Image: Lori Sax

But some changes are easy to embrace. You’ll notice a new look to the magazine this month, a redesign masterminded by creative director Gigi Ortwein. Redesigning a publication takes time, thought and an eye for intricate detail. We’ve spent months obsessing over the process, and we’re thrilled with the result. Magazines, like cities, evolve, and their design needs to reflect the people and places they cover. Sarasota is still the beautiful, creative and unique place it’s always been, but it’s also becoming a lively modern city, and we wanted everything from our logo to our typography to express all that. We’ve also added some new departments, from expanded coverage of homes and real estate in a section called “Home View” to “Perfect Party,” a short but saucy list of the newsmakers we’d love to host for dinner right now.

Another change we’re embracing: We’ve relocated our offices to Bay Plaza. We’re thrilled with our new location on what we think is one of the best blocks in the city.

And speaking of best, this is our annual Best of Sarasota issue. You’ll learn what readers chose as their favorites and what the editors have picked as our “Best of the New.” 

There is a wonderful upside to all this new stuff. While we sometimes struggle to adjust to change and growth, we also have a lot more to choose from. And whenever you’re stressed by all the changes, you can stop and order what our editors have dubbed the “Best New Meal in a Glass.” It’s the “Ultimate Bloody Mary” at Brick’s Smoked Meats. It’s made of veggie-infused vodka and garnished with a smoked pork rib, bacon and pickled vegetables. Some changes are worth celebrating.

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