SoHo in Sarasota

By Robert Plunket September 15, 2010


Yes, Sarasota has its own SoHo, with artists’ lofts, hip shops and restaurants, design studios and high-tech businesses. It’s not terribly big, but that just makes it nicer. It’s all within a few blocks, and has a neighborhood, walk-anywhere feeling. It’s called the Rosemary District.


It has a great location, just north of Fruitville and about four blocks from Centennial Park and the bayfront. And currently on the market is perhaps its nicest live/work space, a 4,000-square-foot light-filled environment, with two attached suites that can be rented out as galleries or retail shops.



1419 Fifth St.


The space, first built in 1926, used to be an automobile dealership, then a theater. It was purchased and reconfigured by a well-known artist couple several years ago and today consists of a three-bedroom, four-bath core space, arranged as a working studio and hip residence. It has 20-foot ceilings, skylights, clerestory window, concrete floors and lots of deluxe touches, like a Viking gas range. The feeling is bright and sunny, with lots of little nooks for hanging out while waiting for the muse to strike.


The studio ceiling

The reconstruction was handled by Pat Ball, who’s famous around town for his sensitive and imaginative remodeling. Everything is first quality, and you still see many remnants of the building’s original purpose—the living room still has the garage doors that lead into the car showroom, all sealed up, of course, and now part of the visual history of the space.


Living room (with garage doors)

Like most SoHo-type places, the Rosemary District is a little rough around the edges. But every month it seems to get hipper and more stable. And there’s no doubt that it’s on the verge of major importance as business shifts to fiber optics and that sort of stuff.


The property is priced at $1.5 million. Contact Ellen Wells, (941) 349-3444, or Eric Massey, (941) 957-3730.

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