Developer plans high-rise on historic property in Downtown Sarasota

Developer plans high-rise on historic property in Downtown Sarasota

by: David Conway via yourobserver.com

The downtown home of two historic buildings could soon be the site of a high-rise condominium, as a development firm has taken a step toward finishing a project first approved in 2006.

The owners of the DeMarcay Hotel and the Roth Cigar Factory buildings, located at 33 S. Palm Ave. and 30 Mira Mar Court, sold the properties for $2.75 million in March. The purchasers, XAC Developers LLC, filed a development application with the city in July to construct an 18-story, 39-unit mixed-use condominium building on those parcels.

In addition to the residential units, the plans call for 1,921 square feet of retail space on the 8,641-square-foot parcel along Palm Avenue. In total, the proposed development is 153,955 square feet.

The city approved a site plan for the land in 2006 under the Downtown Residential Overlay District, which has since expired. Still, that site plan is valid through October 2015, and XAC Developers intends to apply for its building permit before that deadline.

The planned development is a blow for downtown leaders and other citizens who hoped to preserve the historic properties in their current state. Following the sale of the property and the eviction of its last remaining retail tenant, the Downtown Improvement District discussed possible options for preventing the demolition of the Palm Avenue building.

At that time, board members bemoaned the potential loss of historic property — a practice that several people said is becoming too common in the city.

“We just keep chipping away at the historic buildings, and it’s almost embarrassing,” Downtown Improvement District Chairman Ernie Ritz said. “People keep saying, ‘Where’s the historic district?’ You’re looking at it.”

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