The resident population east of Interstate 75 will soon grow by at least 300.
Real estate development firm The Collier Companies recently purchased 13.2 acres for $5.4 million in a cash deal that closed on Aug. 23.
It’s part of Sarasota County’s Fruitville Initiative, which was approved in 2014 following workshops with residents and a 2010 charette. The goal of the initiative is to encourage economic development and growth on 420 acres along both sides of Fruitville Road east of I-75 to create a gateway into Sarasota. As part of the deal, The Collier Companies will also be building four roadways and gifting them back to the county.
Although the apartment project site is near the county-owned Celery Fields, an important bird and wildlife habitat, no community meetings were required through the planning process.
“Because we're not abutting them, we didn't receive any pushback,” says Shannon Lee, vice-president of development for The Collier Companies.
Yet to be named, the apartment complex will comprise of three- and four-story buildings, six in all, and offer 130 one-bedroom apartments, 114 two-bedroom apartments, and 56 three-bedroom apartments. It will also have a separate clubhouse, resort-style pool, fitness center, mailroom with package lockers and a pet spa. The style will be “modern and simple. We want to fit in with the area,” Lee says.
The apartment project will be located on the south side of Fruitville Road, near the Fruitville Public Library, and across from Citria, a new, 300-unit luxury apartment complex that opened this summer where a 800 square-foot one-bedroom apartment is listed for $1,849 a month.
The Colliers Companies' project will cost roughly $70 million to build, but it’s too early to determine unit pricing, says Lee. “We won't be renting for two years," she says. "Rents have been going up so high and fast we're trying to see where they're going to level out first.”
She expects the project to break ground during the first quarter of 2022 and estimates 16 to 18 months for construction.
Sarasota County rent rates have been exploding. According to data from Apartment List, a national online marketplace for residential, long-term rentals, the last time they dipped was in June of 2020, and they've been on a consistent, steep incline since September 2020. The median price for a one-bedroom apartment in Sarasota County was $1,505 last month, compared to $1,142 at the same time last year. For a two-bedroom in Sarasota County, the rent was $1,923 last month; last year September, it was $1,459—a roughly 24 percent increase year-over-year for both one and two-bedroom apartments. In an August interview, Igor Popov, chief economist at Apartment List, said, “We’re getting used to seeing these numbers, but 20 percent or more growth in a year is not normal.”
Attracted to what’s in store with the Quay Sarasota and overall area growth, the Fruitville purchase is the first time the Gainesville-based the firm has set foot in the Sarasota Market.
"We look forward to doing more deals in Sarasota. I have my eye on a couple things downtown," Lee says.