Halflants & Pichette Project Approved on Trail

Todays News

A modern condominium building designed by Halflants & Pichette is set to transform the streetscape of North Tamiami Trail.

The site plan for Whitaker Lofts won approval from the Sarasota Planning Board. That allows for construction of a four-story structure with 19 condo units and almost 9,000 square feet of first-floor retail space. Across the street from Whitaker Bayfront Park, the curved façade fronting U.S. 41 will bring a distinct look to the trail, with deep balconies and a dramatic grand staircase. 

“The property is going to serve as a landmark piece of architecture for the city of Sarasota as you enter driving south toward Downtown Sarasota,” said Gabe Nisula, one of the project managers.

Nisula told the Planning Board the curvature to the building aims to complement the immediate surroundings. 

“Our solution for this site is to create a simple curve which reacts with the newly constructed roundabout at the intersection of 14th Street and Highway 41,” he said.

Ana Menenes, the other project manager, said activating the area both with shaded, ground level retail and an accessible courtyard would spur public activity in and around the new structure. That could be valuable related to the under-used Whitaker park but also retail along the trail the city has worked for years to revitalize.

“It will become a destination to everyone and it will increase visitors,” said project manager Ana Menenes, “not only in our site but the park as well as the area.”

The stairs will lead to an elevated courtyard but managers with Halflants & Pichette hope to preserve a grand oak already standing on property, and worked with the city arborist to do so.

Planning Member Dan Clermont at a public hearing questioned the fact the architecture plans for balcony overhangs to reach beyond the property line and into public right-of-way, but architects and city officials researched and said that complies with city regulations and state building codes. Ultimately, the project won unanimous 4-0 approval; Planning Board Member Michael Halflants of Halflants & Pichette recused himself from the vote.

An announcement on the project approval from Halflants & Pichette noted the architecture firm has a perfect record over 16 years of winning approvals in public hearings in front of city boards and commissions.

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