SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - When dog racing was banned in Florida, the owners of the Sarasota Kennel Club on Bradenton Road decided to sell their property.
It’s been a fixture of the Sarasota community for nearly a century, so many are wondering what will replace the dog track.
“I come here every day," said Earl Curbin III.
For more than 50 years, he’s been working and betting at the Sarasota Kennel Club.
“It’ll be sad to see it go, but like I said, the worst part is getting rid of the dogs," said Curbin. “What’s gonna happen to the dogs and the people that are employed by mutuals throughout the state of Florida?”
It’s an era coming to an end, but the developers who are in the process of completing the sale on this land said there’s a bright future ahead.
“Once the architects come in there and paint this vision of what it could be, that’s when you can really, you can get excited and that’s when you can see it,” said Michael Lander, managing partner of Wakefield Development Partners.
Lander said they have a vision to divide the 24 acres into four separate parts, which would allow additional developers the chance to build there too. One part may include more than 300 new units for people to live in.
But the New York based company is stressing that they aren’t making any final decisions until they hear first-hand what our community needs.
“What do you want to see? What’s possible here? And the sky is the limit," said Lander. "Really, it’s an amazing piece of land.”
So far, the biggest need they’ve heard is attainable housing - a place where people who work can afford.
“[For instance,] I have a job and I’m working and I want to have a place to live, I don’t want to drive all the way to Tampa to come and then drive back to work," Lander explained. “I want to be local, where I live and I want it to be reasonable.”
The developers are still in the process of purchasing this land and estimate it can be anywhere from six months to a year before they complete the City permitting process.
“We want to add to the community, we want something that improves Sarasota,” Lander said.
The developers are hosting a community workshop to give anyone interested a chance to voice their opinion. It will be held on Wednesday, August 14 at 5:30 p.m. in the SRQ Media Studio at City Hall.
The address is 1565 First Street in Sarasota.