Selby Gardens Announces Acquisition of Spanish Point

Todays News

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY MONDAY BUSINESS EDITION MONDAY APR 20, 2020

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens just expanded its footprint to Osprey as Historic Spanish Point joined under the nonprofit organization’s umbrella.

Jennifer ROminiecki, president and CEO for Selby Gardens, announced Friday the board of trustees there voted unanimously to take on the destination as a companion campus. “For those who may not be familiar, Historic Spanish Point is a 30-acre gem on Little Sarasota Bay in the Osprey, less than 10 miles from Selby Gardens.

An online announcement by Spanish Point said a merger would advance both organizations’ missions. “Combining two nonprofits with similar missions, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens will showcase air plants of the world, native nature, and our regional history through both its Downtown campus, and its new Historic Spanish Point campus,” reads an announcement.

Selby Gardens assumed the Osprey attraction’s annual operating budget of just under $900,000. Executive Director John McCarthy will stay on the Spanish Point campus in a position of vice president under the Selby Gardens’ organizational chart.

The acquisition comes as Selby Gardens continues to move forward with a scaled back master plan proposal in Sarasota, and Rominiecki said nothing shifts with that proposal as a result of the merger. She said Spanish Point will not serve as a “backup plan,” and stressed that $35 million secured to implement a Selby master plan are tied to that's specific site. Any changes that ever take place at Spanish Poitn — Selby Gardens leaders alluded to a desire for better traffic flow at the Osprey destination’s entrance — will be done in a way that keeps with the existing carrier of the campus.

But she did allude to the fact the joining of the organizations will over time grow research and educational opportunities at Spanish Point. “The two campuses will work very well together,” she said.

“What we’re most excited about is the opportunity to tell the story of native Florida plants and of some of Southwest Florida’s earliest inhabitants, and we’re excited that HSP will remain a place where locals and people from around the world can visit to learn about our history.”

Of course, its notable the historic purchase happened in the midst of a global pandemic that has both facilities closed to the public right now.

“We are confident we are in a position to successfully merge and sustain the two organizations, thanks to the fact that Selby Gardens has no debt, and that we have a strong foundation of community and donor support,” Rominecki said. “We are focused on a long-term approach and strategy to sustain the organization into the future.”

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