Sarasota bayfront plan envisions $100 million Mote aquarium – Developers in Hot Water and are preparing to explain the leaked plan

Sarasota bayfront plan envisions $100 million Mote aquarium – Developers in Hot Water and are preparing to explain the leaked plan

Sarasota Bayfront Proposed plan - picture via Sean Dreznin with the picture map via The Observer
Sarasota Bayfront Proposed plan – picture via Sean Dreznin with the picture map via The Observer

By David Conway via The Observer

A confidential proposal for bayfront land made public in June, which comes with a price tag exceeding $300 million, has placed several parties with connections to the plan in an uncomfortable position.

The proposal advocates for the placement of several amenities — including park land, a performing arts hall, a hotel, a conference center and a $100 million aquarium — on a large swath of public land along the U.S. 41 corridor near 10th Street. Outlined in a PowerPoint presentation, the plan features the logos of six organizations: venture capital firm Seven Holdings, Arizona-based company Governmental Facilities Development Services, Core Construction, Hoyt Architects, Mote Marine Laboratory and the city of Sarasota.

It was the last logo that caught the eye of Vice Mayor Susan Chapman, who brought up the proposal at a June City Commission meeting.

Chapman said she had received a hard copy of the presentation when an anonymous source slipped it under her door. She said the city granted no authorization to use the logo. Beyond that, Chapman was worried a visioning process for city land near the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall — recently undertaken by a variety of organizations under the banner Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 — had gotten out of hand.

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