New downtown apartments could soon be reality in Sarasota

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SARASOTA, FLA. - Gospel music filled the Blue Rooster Restaurant Sunday morning as customers enjoyed a brunch buffet.

“Here at the Blue Rooster we like to say that Monday through Saturday we worship the Blues but on Sunday afternoon, we praise the Lord at our Sunday Gospel Brunch,” said Devin Rutkowski.

Rutkowski is the Head Rooster and co-owner of the restaurant. He told ABC 7 they have been offering two gospel shows every Sunday since Christmas.

“I think word is getting out because we are sold out, both shows, first time ever.”

The Blue Rooster has been open about a year on Fourth Street in the Rosemary District of Sarasota.

“It is really kind of the final frontier if you will for downtown Sarasota, there is a lot of opportunity here.”

News that developers are moving forward with plans to build up to a 450-unit apartment building on six acres along Cocoanut Avenue between 10th Street and the Boulevard of the Arts in the Rosemary District is exciting to Rutkowski.

“Not everyone has to own their house so I think having rental housing in downtown Sarasota, in addition to obviously condominiums, is very good.”

But before the apartments can be built, the city will have to add an amendment the Rosemary District zoning plan to allow greater density.

“The idea is to have more people on smaller pieces of land so that everybody benefits from that.”

Brian Budd lives in the Rosemary District and is in favor of new apartments.

“Any thing that brings the area up,” said Budd adding, “it has been improved quite a bit over the last few years and we would like to see more of it.”

A nearby apartment building means more feet on the street for the Blue Rooster and Rutkowski doesn’t believe a large apartment building would have any negative impact on traffic.

“I think more people would walk or bike if they lived within a walking or biking distance of their work or their enjoyment.”

Before the Rosemary District zoning amendment goes to the state for approval, the Sarasota planning board will hold public hearings in May.