Sasaki Releases Concept Plans for Bay

Todays News


As the process for The Bay continues, consultants Sasaki have released conceptual renderings for the future of the 53 acres on Sarasota’s Bayfront. Now, officials continue to gather feedback on the designs, which all for the moment include preserving many cultural structures fronting Tamiami Trail but reform the waterfront parts of the property that now host the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. 

Bill Waddill, managing director for The Bay process, says the community should share opinions on the three alternatives about what resonates with them and what does not. Feedback on May 21 and 22 will be refined for a draft master plan to present to the community, and programming strategies will be developed. Then on June 25 and 26, a final master plan will be developed for the community in anticipation of a City Commission meeting on Sept. 6. “We’re really at a critical time in this process,” Waddill says.

The three concepts remain flexible, but here are the major attributes of the plans.

Shift The Horizon: This plan would involve the a floating stage surrounded by a largely green amphitheater, located Bay-ward of a new performing arts and cultural center. Extended mangroves and boardwalks align for views of sunset in summer or winter, and docks on the north side of the property get similar treatment treatment. Green-roofed garages surround the new cultural hall, and all of the high ground would be pulled back from the water and elevated. Everything gets centered from the Municipal Auditorium location, with the new hall due west of the historic structure.

Bridge The Divide: One pedestrian bridge spanning over 10th Street would connect downtown with the Bayfront, a new performing arts hall would span over the water now separating the the north and south sides of the site. This would create a new canal district near the new cultural center. Expansive outdoor venues and multi-use lawns. Boardwalks around the perimeter would also connect to nearby hotels, and new inlets would boost the waterfront and greenery, while a horseshoe drive would also allow enjoyment of the facility before leaving a vehicle.

The Village and the Island: An ecological attraction would be formed with a new island surrounded with beach areas and floating greenery. The new, green attraction would host a swimming hole and natural forest, along with an event lawn. A new performing hall would open immediately behind the Municipal Auditorium but vertical construction would cluster along a main street parallel to U.S. 41, with a water channel separating the island amenity from the high and dry, built-up district. The Sarasota Orchestra would be in a new building anchoring one edge of the cultural district.

See more details on the plans at

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