New hotels could change the landscape of downtown Sarasota

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- Downtown Sarasota is soon getting a bit of a makeover, with five new hotels poised to spring up through downtown Sarasota by 2016.

Newly released hotel renderings have both Sarasota residents and business owners talking about the future of downtown.

Hotel Sarasota is one of five modern hotels coming to downtown Sarasota. Sarasota architect Jonathan Parks describes recently released renderings of the hotel, to be located at the corner of North Palm and Cocoanut avenues, that show the vision of walkability through downtown and to the bayfront.

“When you look at it and you look from the street to the curb, and the curb to the sidewalk, and the sidewalk to the front of the building, it really has no look like any other project in downtown," says Parks.

Down the street, Aloft Sarasota is already under construction at the corner of South Palm Avenue and Ringling Boulevard.

At the corner of North Gulfstream and Tamiami Trail, Westin Sarasota will be constructed next to the Vue Sarasota Bay development.

And up the road, an Embassy Suites is bringing 180 suites, 6,000 square feet of meeting space, and a more than 250 space parking garage.

Younger residents say they're looking forward to a more contemporary vibe in downtown.

“I would like some modernization. I've moved around quite a bit and I've lived in more older place like Utah, and younger places like Atlanta, and definitely as far as city goes, I really love Sarasota," says resident Elvis Chung.

"Most of the hotels we have are either run down on 41, or they cater more to people that just want to be on the beach, so it's nice to bring a little more aesthetic to the downtown area," says resident James Hanratty.

A new restaurant owner says he's ready to have more traffic coming through the downtown area, now that the Kimpton Hotel is set to be built along North Washington Boulevard and Main Street. "Anything that brings more business downtown, especially to our east end that's kind of in a revival state as it is now, is I think fantastic for everybody downtown,” says Mark Woodruff, owner of Made.