Michael's Opening Long-Imagined Waterfront Venue

Hospitality

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY MONDAY BUSINESS EDITION MONDAY AUG 15, 2016

The celebrated views at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens will soon be host to a waterfront entertaining venue for Michael’s Events & Catering. Construction just began on on Michael’s on the Bay, where proprietors promise a transformed locale all open in October. Co-proprietors Michael Klauber and Philip Mancini have dreamed of opening a waterfront venue in the region for more than a decade, Klauber says. “Our dream came true,” he says.

Michael’s has maintained a permanent physical presence at Selby Gardens since September, when the company took over the Selby House Café. Last fall, plans were formed to change the meeting space on the waterfront into a modernized venue for weddings and other major events. But at one of the most popular meeting spaces in Sarasota, a renovation of this scope was hard to schedule. “We had to wait until the space was open and there weren’t events, Klauber says. “That was quite a window we had to wait for, as events were scheduled into May and June. We couldn’t get started until now.” In this off-season, the entire construction effort will be completed in a time block of just six to eight weeks.

The team brought on James Piatchuk as architect and ended up stripping the existing construction to its bones. "The space is being partially reorganized and generally upgraded to better serve and function for the kinds of events that this idyllic location deserves to host," Piatchuk says. "The restrooms are being relocated to group the service spaces together and free up and expand the event space. The kitchen will be all new, upgraded and also expanded somewhat."

“We have a 6,000-square-foot box and we are completely reconfiguring anything,” Klauber says. When completed, there will be 4,800 square feet of entertaining space in a building reconfigured to better serve catering. “This room has been designed with 40 years of catering experience in mind,” Mancini said in a statement. Theatrical lighting and design features accommodate a range of different events; the space was redesigned with a contemporary feel using organic, natural tones. Indoor seating will be available for up to 300 guests, or 450 people at a standing reception. Michael’s has also brought on Amy Donnellan as a dedicated team member handling weddings and private events at the new venue.

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