CitySide Sparking Rosemary Revitalization?



One of the most watched development projects in the Rosemary District could house its first residents before the end of the year. CitySide, a four-story apartment complex located near Boulevard of the Arts and Florida Avenue, just opened its model apartments and has started leasing spaces. Rosalyne Holdings founder Bruce Weiner says around 40 people are already signed up to move in come December, and he anticipates as more projects come online in the neighborhood, interest in CitySide will skyrocket. “The more people we can get in the Rosemary District, the more people will want to live there and the more likely it is shops and restaurants and bars and convenience stores will continue to open there,” Weiner says.

The arrival of tenants could also signal a long-awaited revitalization of a promising neighborhood, according to commercial real estate agent Ian Black. “Every time I go down there, I have to pinch myself,” says Black, owner of Ian Black Real Estate. “Right now, it’s quite incredible. I’ve only waited 25 years for this.” He says that projects like CitySide, which will soon bring 228 new residences to the area in its first phase, will make the region more attractive to new residents and businesses. “It’s Economics 101 that if you increase the supply, it will have an impact on affordability,” he says.

The development group announced the hire of a new leasing manager, Travis Block. CitySide includes apartments ranging in size from 572 square feet up to 1,403 square feet. Rents will run from about $1,000 for smaller units up to around $2,400 for two-bedroom apartments. Weiner says because of demand for apartments for young professionals, many of the units will be studios and one-bedroom apartments. But it’s not just young people showing interest; some active 55- to 65-year-olds have shown interest in the larger units. 

From a planning perspective, CitySide also brings to life an experiment in density for Sarasota. Weiner worked for a year with city planners on a proposal allowing up to 75 units per acre in a concentrated part of the Rosemary District. “The density boost is critical because it really wasn’t feasible for us or others to develop an economically sustainable project with only 25 units an acre,” he says. “The numbers just don’t work.” It proved easier to convince city officials to approve the plan than many expected. Now, the attempt at urban rentals will be put to the test in the marketplace.

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