Benderson Development pitches Stickney Point Road project… but obstacles loom

Benderson Development pitches Siesta Promenade at Stickney Point Road project… but obstacles loom

Alex Mahadevan | Digital Content Producer via The Observer

Benderson Development, one of the two firms behind the mega mall planned at the University Town Center, has begun the initial pitch for a hotel and shopping center on the other side of town.

But some residents are concerned about traffic issues, which has been a frequent criticism of the new mall.

The Sarasota County Development Review Committee heard a pre-application presentation June 19 for Siesta Promenade. For that project, Benderson plans to build a 150-room hotel and 250,000 square feet of retail space in 12 structures at the intersection of South Tamiami Trail and Stickney Point Road, according to a site plan.
The company and county staff will invite interested residents to a neighborhood workshop to collect public input and explain the project at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, at South Trail Church of Christ.

“We envision a place where customers will park once, window shop, have a nice dinner or just ice cream and simply enjoy another quality Sarasota experience,” said Benderson Director of Development Todd Mathes.
Pine Shores Estates mobile-home park previously occupied a majority of the 24-acre property.

Benderson, using the name Siesta 41 Associates LLP, bought the property in four parcels for more than $20 million in 2005, but it remained vacant after the mobile-home park closed in 2008. The firm aims to re-zone the various lots to a commercial general designation.
Plans include more than 1,000 parking spaces situated mostly toward the interior of the development and a new traffic signal proposed for Stickney Point Road.
“The project presents itself as urban infill in the midst of ‘Old 41,’” Mathes said in planning documents.

Organizing opposition

When the Florida Department of Transportation added a “no turn on red” sign at the intersection of Stickney Point Road and Midnight Pass Road, the seemingly small change provoked outcry from residents about increased traffic woes. And after less than two months in place, FDOT replaced it with an electronic system that only prevents right turns at the intersection if a pedestrian has pressed the crosswalk button.
Neighbors near the proposed Benderson project have cited that incident as evidence that the gateway to south Siesta won’t be able to handle any more intense development.

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