WATCH: Demolition begins on vacant GWIZ building along Sarasota’s bayfront

WATCH: Demolition begins on vacant GWIZ building along Sarasota’s bayfront

SARASOTA (WWSB) - Despite some calls to spare the structure, the GWIZ building in Sarasota is being torn down to make way for a 53-acre project known as “The Bay.”

GWIZ, an acronym for "Gulfcoast Wonder and Imagination Zone," is the name of the 33,000 square foot building along Sarasota's bayfront that has sat vacant for more than five years. The city has been paying more than $40,000 a year to maintain the building, which was built in 1976, and would have needed $300,000 in repairs.

Demolition of GWiz building underway

Knocking it down only costs the city $125,000 and the site its currently on will be incorporated into The Bay project, which will see a redesign of Sarasota's bayfront. It's currently in the master planning phase, with an aim to "establish a cultural and economic legacy for the region while ensuring open, public access to the bayfront."

A group opposed to knocking down the GWIZ building argued it was an important part of Sarasota’s history, but city leaders say preserving the building was not a priority for citizens when they conducted a survey and that developers say they could not re-purpose it into the bayfront redesign.

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