Long-vacant gateway to Siesta Key could be developed

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Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2014 11:05 am

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Even more development may be on the way along Tamiami Trail. Benderson Development -- one of the firms building the Mall at University Town Center -- is now focusing on prime property located at the gateway of south Siesta Key.

The property, located at the corner of Stickney Point Road and Tamiami Trail, has sat vacant for years. But now there are plans to make it a “shop, dine and stay” destination.

Benderson Development has big plans for the over 23 acres of property after purchasing the property that was once home to a mobile home park until 2005.

The project plans include a hotel with 150 rooms, and 250,000 square feet of commercial space.

But residents living in a neighborhood bordering the property are not thrilled.

"We've got Gulf Gate right across the street. We got all kinds of shopping right along 41. Why do we need another shopping center on a busy highway?" asks homeowner Eleanor Pfirrman.

There's also concern that with increased density, traffic will only get worse than it already is. "The traffic is bad and the speed is horrendous. At night they come through here on motorcycles because it just cuts right through to Stickney Point from 41,” says William Pfirrman.

"We find the public input, especially the neighbors and the surrounding community, their input is invaluable. And we really want to work with all involved all stakeholders to come up with the best project," says Mark Chait of Benderson Development.

If all goes well, according to planning documents, Benderson estimates that construction will begin in the spring of 2015.

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