Plans for 10-story apartment building for young renters

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DOWNTOWN SARASOTA, Fla. --  The Sarasota Planning Board signed off on a plan to build a ten-story high rise in downtown Sarasota aimed at young working professionals.

Developers want to knock down nearly an entire city block on 2nd Street across from Whole Foods Market and replace it with 168 apartments and retail space. But this wouldn't be like the other high rise projects going up around downtown.

"If you look around, there are so many large expensive condos, we're excited to bring something for young professionals to live in the city," said Allison Olinger of Biter Enterprises.

Allison works for Jesse Biter, the man SRQ magazine called 'The New Entrepreneur' on a recent magazine cover. He already owns the land under the project.

"We anticipate that this project will provide reasonably priced housing for young professionals which will bring young people downtown," Olinger said.

Besides the apartments, the high rise would also include retail space.

Reaction on the street is mixed.

"I think there's enough places for people to live in Sarasota that's affordable for just about everybody, and I think more tall buildings ruin the atmosphere of downtown," said Maria Spelleri.

But Michael Garcia likes the plan. "That sounds all right to me, they need more mid-income places to rent downtown," he said.

If the City Commission approves the endeavor, Biter Enterprises hopes to break ground by the end of the year.