Marie Selby Botanical Gardens has received the permit to begin vertical construction on Phase One of the Master Plan for its downtown Sarasota campus—specifically on the Living Energy Access Facility, or LEAF, a multipurpose structure that will house a new garden-to-plate restaurant, expanded gift and plant shop, and on-site parking, all topped by a nearly 50,000-square-foot solar array. The $51.6-million first phase of the estimated $92-million project also will feature a new welcome center, a cutting-edge plant research center with a state-of-the-art herbarium and research library, and more.
Phase One also includes a new multi-use recreational trail (MURT) that will enable multimodal transportation to the campus and the bayfront. The MURT will connect to a bayfront pocket park that is owned by the City of Sarasota but will be improved and maintained by Selby Gardens. Other initiatives in Phase One include the creation of new garden features and more green space, restoration of historic Palm Avenue as a pedestrian-only promenade, and offsite roadway improvements.