Building Up

Here's a Look at What Could Be Coming to St. Armands Circle

A rundown of the proposals for the Fillmore parking lot site that City of Sarasota commissioners received this week.

By Kim Doleatto November 18, 2021

rendering of St. Armands Circle

Drawing of St. Armands Circle and the city-owned Fillmore parking lot, provided in the proposal Jebco Ventures/PMG submitted to the City of Sarasota. The City of Sarasota received five proposals to develop the site. 

When developer JWM Management proposed a four-story, mixed-use hotel, grocery and townhouse project on St. Armands Circle to the Sarasota City Commission in May, it opened a conversation about the future use of the circle’s Fillmore parking lot and whether the city should consider more than just that one, unsolicited proposal. At an August meeting, commissioners voted 4-1 to consider other proposals for the site at 58 Fillmore Drive, just southeast of the circle. The deadline for submitting them was this week.

Some contingencies developers will have to take into account include making up for lost public parking income at the current 2-acre Fillmore parking lot site, a zoning change from the current governmental designation to commercial tourist, and for those who want to build higher than 35 feet, a change to the comprehensive plan. Lastly, a comprehensive plan change would require a supermajority vote from city commissioners, which means four out of five would have to approve the change.

Here are the proposals:

JWM Management, Inc.

rendering of a hotel and condo project

A rendering of JWM Management's proposal for the Fillmore parking lot site on St. Armands Circle. The design is by Sarasota-based Suarez Architecture.

Led by John Meshad, president of JWM Management, Inc., his was the first group to bring the development of the Fillmore parking lot to the attention of the City of Sarasota at a commissioners meeting in August.

The vision:

rendering of a hotel and condo project

A rendering of JWM Management's proposal for the Fillmore parking lot site on St. Armands Circle.

Build a 98-room boutique hotel with 11 residential townhomes and 12,000 square feet of space for a gourmet grocery store, multi-stalled men's and women's public restrooms, and up to 270 covered parking spaces for public use. To facilitate this project, the applicant must be granted a comprehensive plan amendment to increase the allowable height of the project from 35 to 45 feet, allow residential development along Adams and Monroe streets and eliminate the requirement of retail on the first level of the project. 

The bid:

It's complicated.

In their proposal, the developers offer a fair market value price to be determined by an appraiser hired by the City of Sarasota. To also be considered in the price is the building of up to 268 parking spaces for public use, benefiting the public and the city.

The parties have 30 days from the receipt of the appraisal to accept or reject the proposal. If either party objects to the fair market value, they can then enter negotiations.

JWM says it recognizes that public input may also compel the city to modify their plans. In that event, the appraiser would revise its estimated fair market value price.

Gregory Thomas Leonard 

The vision:

To build a boutique hotel with 60 units and 50,000 square feet of commercial space. It includes an upscale restaurant, retail space and a grocer. There would be roughly 200 internal valet parking spaces for public and private use. The maximum height would not exceed 35 feet, and they would include an increased setback of 10 feet along residentially- zoned properties allowing for a larger landscape buffer.

The city would relinquish its parking rights on the site.

No renderings of the proposed project were submitted.

The bid:

$8 million

Gregory Thomas Leonard is one of the proprietors of Shore restaurants on St. Armands Circle and Longboat Key.

Jebco Ventures/PMG 

rendering of a condo and retail building on St. Armands Circle

Jebco Ventures/PMG rendering of a mixed-use condominium and retail project. The rendering is designed by Sarasota-based Hoyt Architects.

rendering of mixed-use condo and retail space on St. Armands Circle

Jebco Ventures/PMG rendering produced by Hoyt Architects in Sarasota.

Jebco has recently developed the Embassy Suites Hotel and the Strand condominiums in Sarasota, among many others. PMG has offices in Miami and Manhattan and develops projects nationwide.

The vision:

Build a three-story, mixed-use condominium and retail project including 47 residential units, each approximately 2,600 square feet. There would be roughly 12,500 square feet of commercial space that might incorporate high-end retailers and a market such as Dean and Deluca's, Eli's or Morton's Market. It would have 80 parking spaces for residents and 90 spaces for the public. The building would be no higher than 35 feet. 

The bid:

$8.5 million

Kim Githler was listed as the project contact person.

Ocean Properties

A rendering of a hotel on St. Armands Circle

A rendering included in a proposal for an extended stay hotel put forth by Ocean Properties for the Fillmore parking lot.

rendering of a hotel and retail building on St. Armands Circle

Rendering by Ocean Properties slated for the Fillmore parking lot site on St. Armands Circle.

Ocean Properties is one of the largest privately held hotel management and development firms in North America, with more than 100 properties under ownership.

The developers first met with representatives of the St. Armands Residents Association and the Lido Beach Property Association to gain input. Based on what they learned, they crafted two different proposals. 

Proposal No. 1

The vision:

Build a 63-room, high-end, residential hotel called the St. Armands Hotel. It would cater to extended stays, (the term was not specifically defined), to reduce activity and traffic around the neighborhood–two top concerns among area residents.

The density would adhere to the current commercial tourist designation of 35 hotel units per acre and the height would be no more than 35 feet. Because of that, there will be no need to seek a variance to the comprehensive plan. Each hotel room will have one parking space and the hotel would have a small lobby bar of 20 seats that would be open to the public.

The bid:

$8.175 million

Ocean Properties would pay $125,000 for each approved hotel room. With 63 rooms, that's $7,875,000. If the final plan added more rooms, up to a maximum of 70, they would pay an additional $125,000 per room. They would tack on $15,000 per seat for the 20-seat bar for an additional $300,000, bringing the total to $8.175 million.

Proposal No. 2

This project is the same as the first, but approximately 15,000 square feet would be dedicated to retail space and a high-end, fresh grocery and deli market.

The bid: 

$11.775 million

Both proposals include public restrooms and would replace the current 251 parking spaces with 175 spaces.

Mike Walsh, Ocean Properties vice-president, signed off on the proposal.

Martin Hyde

At an August city commissioner's meeting, former Sarasota City commission candidate Mark Hyde said he would buy the site for $5 million. Commissioners voted 4-1 to accept other proposals for the Fillmore parking lot following JMW's sole, unsolicited proposal to purchase it.

In the proposal, Hyde wrote, "I felt it important to place on public record that such an alternate offer exists."

The two-paragraph proposal had no outline or renderings of a building plan. 

City Attorney Robert Fournier will review the offers and prepare a report to present to the City Commission for its consideration. Fournier will be consulting with the city manager, auditor and clerk to schedule a meeting on the matter for early next year.

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