Downtown Sarasota getting busy

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SARASOTA - Dozens of workers are starting new jobs in the next few days in downtown Sarasota. An upscale restaurant opens Monday in the retail spaces around the city parking garage; just one of several large-scale projects in various stages around the downtown area.

"Louie's Modern", perhaps the most talked-about restaurant in downtown Sarasota, opens its doors Monday on Palm Avenue.

Amazing is the word owner Steve Seidensticker hopes you'll use when you walk from the restaurant to the banquet facility and private dining area.

He hopes Louie's Modern catches on downtown like his other restaurant on Osprey Avenue.  "After our success at Libbie's, we wanted to expand and settled downtown, and we're very excited about the vibrancy of the downtown area," he said.

Louie's Modern isn't the only development on this block.

Construction could begin as soon as September on a 10-story hotel right next door on Palm Avenue.

Tony Souza of the Downtown Sarasota Alliance says the activity going on reminds him of the Sarasota he first moved to nearly ten years ago.

He says within the next couple weeks, the Sports Page and Living Walls will be torn down to make room for an 18-story highrise called 'The Jewel.'

"It's going to be the tallest building downtown, but it's very transparent, a lot of glass, a garden on the 4th level," he said.

Plans are also under review for up to 40 townhomes on a 2-acre field on Ringling next to the County Administration building. The developer hopes to break ground as soon as next month.