Sarasota, Ringling Center Reach Settlement

Development

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY JUN 9, 2016

Owners of a shopping complex on Ringling Boulevard who once imagined a Super-Walmart there have reached a settlement with the City of Sarasota that would open up different redevelopment options for the land. Louis Doyle and other owners of the Ringling Shopping Center plan to maintain or develop the property after the city changes the zoning and land-use designation to allow for downtown mixed-use development. “The new zoning will align with the Downtown Sarasota form-based code and design principles while allowing us to provide a much wider range of uses for the community,” said Doyle in a statement. “We feel that the New Urbanist principles that this zoning will call for will have a nice reaction from the market, meaning we will be able to provide the center with some great new retail options that the neighbors will welcome.”

The Sarasota City Commission voted three years ago against a plan to build a Super-Walmart, which prompted land-owners to sue the city claiming that vote effectively denied the owners’ private property rights. City Commissioner Susan Chapman, who was a Planning Board member at that time and voted against the Walmart proposal, said the settlement agreement was a positive step. “I don’t want to jinx it, but I have great hopes for that property,” she said. And she does not have a problem with the zoning change called for in the mediated agreement. “Downtown Neighborhood Edge or Downtown Edge, that is not an inappropriate use for that site.”

Right now, the shops operating in the center have short-term leases and the owners have not reached any agreements for long-term leases or anchor tenants. The center previously was anchored by a Publix before the grocery opened a new location on U.S. 41. Owners plan to market to prospective tenants once the city begins its rezoning and comprehensive plan amendment process. “These changes will make the center more marketable while also providing the community with what they have told us they want,” said Doyle. “It is a great compromise that we are pleased with, and we consider this a win-win for the community.”

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