Sarasota City Commissioners deny zoning extension for Quay site

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Posted: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 5:55 pm | Updated: 9:27 am, Mon Jul 7, 2014.

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The former Quay property was once the place to go in Sarasota for entertainment and dining. But the land has remained vacant since 2007, when the Quay was demolished. Thanks to it's prime location, the site's future development is important to the city as a whole, and not just nearby residents and businesses.

Tuesday night, the Sarasota City Commission voted 4-1 to deny a Jacksonville developer's request for a 30-year extension to develop the Quay property, saying if they extended the zoning code agreement for this development, they would have to do it for others, too.

City Commissioner Susan Chapman was vocal in her opposition to the extension, expressing concern that the developers would just sit on the property. She also said that the development of this waterfront property needs to be carefully considered.

"The Quay property is one of the most valuable pieces of property in the city in terms of affecting our community," she says, expressing concern that the current $1 billion plan to build condos, a hotel, restaurants and retail space is too dense for the property. "The entire site would essentially be covered with concrete and buildings," she says. "No green space. Planning concepts have even changed since 2007."

Chapman explains that if the commission was to extend the zoning code agreement to 30 years for this development, they would have to do it for others, too.

"If you grant it for one, how can you say no for another?" She asks.

There are other concerns surrounding the development of Sarasota bayside -- traffic being a major one. Local residents share that concern.

"Studies should be done to make sure that it is not too congested," said area resident Anne Ruffing.

Renee Wunderli, who owns the nearby Little Salon at 430 N. Tamiami Trail, appreciates the city's careful consideration of how the property will be developed.

"Give it a lot of consideration so there's nothing that's going to pop up and interfere with business and traffic," she says.

"This is a project that is a bridge between our arts and culture amenities and our downtown," Chapman says.

We reached out to Greenpointe Holdings, and their attorney replied to ABC 7 via email saying that they are considering the significance of the project and evaluating the time needed to achieve development. No decisions have been made by the developer at this time.

As for the city, they say other properties and future plans for transportation and expansion downtown have been put on hold because they are contingent on what happens to the Quay property. It holds that much value for the city and its future.

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