DeMarcay developer pushes forward with high-rise on Palm Ave in Downtown Sarasota

Despite a setback in the quest to obtain a building permit and a looming deadline, the developer behind a proposed Palm Avenue condominium is determined to find a solution.
New building at 33 S Palm keeping the old facade
by: David Conway  via yourobserver.com

Examining a list of the city’s issues with his company’s proposal for an 18-story development on the site of a historic Palm Avenue building, Greg Kveton says he’s willing to take three inches off the height of the high-rise if it helps his project become a reality.

Kveton is the head of GK Development Inc., the team behind a proposed condominium and commercial project on the site of the historic DeMarcay Hotel and Roth Cigar Factory buildings. Following the 2014 acquisition of the land at 33 S. Palm Ave., developers have made numerous attempts to revise the project’s original site plan, approved in 2006 and set to expire Oct. 15.

So far, the city has passed on approving those changes. Tim Litchet, the city’s director of neighborhood and development services, cited six different criteria when he ruled the changes to the site plan would constitute a major, rather than a minor, revision. That would require the City Commission to sign off on the changes, a lengthy process that would likely blow past the Oct. 15 deadline to acquire a building permit.

The reasons for the city’s ruling vary. Litchet writes that, in the newer plans, the number of condos is reduced from 39 to 30, the architectural style is “much different” and the parking layout is changed. Even the height of the building — marginal as the difference may be — is listed as a factor in the decision.

“The total height of the structure is 247 feet, 1 inch, as opposed to the 246 feet, 10 inches approved,” Litchet’s ruling states.

The 2006 site plan is a crucial factor in determining the future of the development. Approved under the now-defunct Downtown Residential Overlay District, the plan entitles the builders to more than four times as many residential units as they would get today.

Although it was initially unclear what impact the city’s ruling would have on the project, Kveton says he’s working on yet another revision to the site plan with the city. He’s willing to make certain changes. They’ll build 39 residential units; the layout of the condominium floors will be changed to reflect the initial plan; the height will come down to 246 feet, 10 inches.

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