Downtown Sale

A Parcel on the Corner of Ringling Boulevard and U.S. 301 Sold, and Guess What? It Won't Be Demolished.

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County bought 100 S. Washington Blvd. and plans to renovate, not raze.

By Kim Doleatto January 5, 2024

The three-quarter-acre parcel at 100 S. Washington Blvd. sold for $6 million.

A two-story building in downtown Sarasota zoned for commercial and residential mixed-use, allowing up to 10 stories, has just sold. The kicker: unlike other recent commercial sales, the new buyer has no plans to demolish the building.

Located just east of the downtown Sarasota core, the building, which sits on a three-quarter-acre site on the corner of Ringling and South Washington boulevards, across from the Office Bar, was leased by local real estate company Michael Saunders & Company for 27 years until last May.

This is one of a few noteworthy commercial sales that have recently taken place just blocks away, including the new Payne Park Townhomes and the Artist Court Residences, which will both see single-level buildings, including a two-level, architecturally significant building designed by Victor Lundy, razed. Another $32 million sale of roughly three acres on nearby Ringling Boulevard may soon see the demolition of a historically designated home to make room for future mixed-use projects. 

The property will not be demolished, according to selling agent Lee DeLieto.

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County closed on the sale of the building on Dec. 23 for $6 million and plans to renovate, not raze. Built in 1950, the roughly 9,800-square-foot building is zoned downtown core, and allows for mixed uses, with a density of 50 residential units per acre—or 200 units, if 15 percent affordable housing is included. Applied here, that would amount to an allowable 37 residential units and 148 with the incentive. 

The Education Foundation, headquartered at 1960 Landings Blvd. in Sarasota, declined to be interviewed for this story. However, Jennifer Vigne, the foundation's president and CEO, said in a statement that “the building at 100 S. Washington will help the Education Foundation of Sarasota County realize its strategic goals set in motion several years ago. We know that education is the key to a thriving community. Purchasing the property is an early step in what will be a coordinated, multistage philanthropic effort to provide comprehensive, individualized support to each and every student and to champion the amazing teachers who do so much for our community.”

The nonprofit is governed by a board of citizen advocates and funded by philanthropists and corporate and foundation partners. It serves nearly 44,000 students and more than 5,000 instructional staff and support personnel in 59 public schools in the Sarasota County school district.

Stan Rutstein of Re/Max Alliance Group represented the foundation in the purchase transaction. The seller is the Hyatt and Cici Brown Revocable Trust of Daytona Beach. Hyatt Brown sat in the Florida House of Representatives for the 31st district, as a Democrat, from 1972 to 1980. From 1978 to 1980, he was Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. He sits on the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List with a net worth of $2.8 billion.

Lee DeLieto of Michael Saunders & Company, head of the team that represented the Browns in the sale, said the property was primed for redevelopment. “When we began marketing the site, we were pleasantly surprised to be ultimately working with a buyer with plans to retain and renovate the existing building,” he said in a statement.

After occupying part of the building in 1996, Michael Saunders & Company expanded its operations to the entire building beginning in 2003. Last May, the firm’s executive, commercial and development services teams relocated to the company’s new headquarters in the Wells Fargo Advisors Building at 1605 Main St., in downtown Sarasota. Other Michael Saunders staff who previously worked in downtown Sarasota at 1801 Main St. and 40 N. Osprey St., which also sold recently, moved to the new site, too, consolidating the employees under one roof. 

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