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Downtown Sarasota Car Show

Downtown Sarasota: Events to Stay, Hotels on the Way

| Sande Caplin |

There’s a green light, or at least hot yellow, to lift the proposed 2017 events moratorium set in place a few months ago around the rumblings of the Thunder by the Bay event.

Ron Soto, chairman of the Sarasota Downtown Merchants Association, says according to what he heard at the meeting March 22, there’s a very good possibility the 2017 Events Moratorium will be lifted. Threatening not only Thunder by the Bay but all events held downtown, like the New Year’s Eve celebration, art and food fests, and others that raise funds for charity, many tourists and residents would have lost out on some major fun times.
public art

Soto reported Mayor Shaw said at the March meeting,

“We have a system in place. It may not be perfect but it’s not broken. So why fix it?” It will be revisited in late April but Soto says he believes that all is a go for lifting the moratorium.

He also told recently that one of his favorite slogans is: “Downtown Sarasota, Love it or Lease it!” In other words, those choosing to live in a metropolitan condominium must understand that comes with a bit of noise. And it’s not hard to see where Ron stands on the downtown events issue.

What will be truly changing the face of downtown, according to Soto, are the hotels slated for or currently under construction. This brings in a whole new profile of people – visitors – who want the convenience of walking to all things they wish to do whether on a business or pleasure trip. Downtown’s plethora of restaurants and shops are there for the taking.


I couldn’t help but to think of the Eagles tune “Welcome to the Hotel California” when I saw that we’ll actually be featuring a “Hotel Sarasota” among the proposed hotels and nearly $3 billion of construction projects on the books for downtown Sarasota.

The City of Sarasota Downtown Real Estate Development in Progress March report tracks real estate development projects with construction values of over $500,000 that are taking place within the Downtown Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) boundary, an area of approximately one square mile. Among the many noteworthy projects are hotels proposed or under construction including:

The Sarasota Modern, 591 Cocoanut Ave., five stories and 41 guest rooms; Embassy Suites & Spa, 202 N. Tamiami Trail., 200 guest rooms; Westin Hotel, within the Vue at 1 N. Tamiami Trail with 255 guest rooms; and Hotel Sarasota, 1255 N. Palm Ave., 163 guest rooms and 10,000 sq. ft. ballroom and restaurant.
downtown dining

These hotel offerings add to the existing Hotel Indigo with 95 rooms; Hyatt Hotel with 294 rooms; Ritz Carlton with 266 rooms; and Aloft Hotel with 138 rooms.

One Palm Avenue at the northeast corner of Palm Ave. and Ringling Blvd. has temporary certificates of occupancy for its 138 hotel rooms and 139 apartments, a restaurant and 6,000 sq. ft. of retail.

For more information, visit:

Photos by Patti Pearson

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