Sarasota exploding with apartments, hotels


By Kevin McQuaid via Business Observer

Downtown Sarasota had quite the run-up during the last decade’s development cycle, with projects ranging from the 16-story Plaza at Five Points mixed-use tower to the 10-story Courthouse Centre.

But it now appears that development may have been just a warm up.

Today, more than $800 million worth of new construction is ongoing in the city’s downtown Community Redevelopment Area, according to a city website.

Much of the new construction, however, is clustered in just two asset classes: hotels and rental apartments.

Joe C. Hembree, a broker at Sarasota commercial real estate firm Hembree & Associates, told a group of CCIM Institute agents at a recent Sarasota-Manatee gathering that more than 750 new hotel rooms are under construction now or have recently been completed, and that more than 1,300 new apartments are in the works.

Each of those figures would more than double the existing inventory in the CRA, Hembree notes.

On the lodging side, a Westin hotel would add 255 rooms; a Hilton-branded Hotel Sarasota would add 163 rooms; and an Embassy Suites & Spa another 200. An aloft hotel with 138 rooms debuted earlier this year.

Two other proposed hotels, at the former Sarasota Quay site on Tamiami Trail and on Fruitville Road, would add another 400-plus rooms.

On the Gulf Coast, only Clearwater has more hotel rooms in development.

From a rental perspective, no city in the region has more downtown apartments underway.

Sarasota Flats, on the former Hibbs Farm & Garden site on Fruitville, will bring 228 rentals; Elan Rosemary will add 286; at Cityside 489 units are being built; Atlanta-based Carter is developing 180 units downtown; and One Palm, which occupies the same land as the aloft, added 139 apartments when it opened in March.

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