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Sarasota stalls Lido pool plan vote; opposition mounts

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

The Sarasota City Commission opted to put on hold consideration of a lease proposal that would allow a 200-seat restaurant and tiki bar at the 2.5-acre site of the Lido Beach Pool and Pavilion.

With Commissioner Willie Shaw absent, commissioners decided to table discussion of the controversial plan but did allow public comment.

For Lido resident Ken Ayotte who lives directly across the street from the pavilion site, the commission would be acting irresponsibly if it allows the restaurant proposal to move forward.

“I cannot believe you are even considering this. It is a total abdication of city government responsibility. We bought here because of the nature and character Sarasota presents – a beautiful public beach. You are talking about a project that would totally change the character of Sarasota and Lido. It is a quiet residential area and I would be looking across the street at a bar. You would change the character of everything,” said Ayotte.

The plan includes a 10-year lease to allow a group named Lido Beach Redevelopment Partners, LLC to have a 200-seat restaurant, ice cream parlor, event lawn, tiki bar and beach store along with other operations.

The proposed tenants would pay an annual rent of about $80,000 per year with annual escalations.

The tenant is also offered two 10-year options for renewal completely at their discretion.

Sarasota resident Martin Hyde spoke of the poor financial terms that the city is considering in the lease proposal. He suggested that at a minimum the Lido Beach Redevelopment Partners should pay no less than 5 percent of gross sales in addition to the base rent.

Sarasota attorney John Patterson said he had analyzed the lease and said that he had both “big picture concerns” as well as “issues with the overall financial deal” as well as details of the lease.

Patterson provided the city commission with his observations of the lease.

“It is not wise to tie up to 2.5 acres that is at the heart of the city’s only beach for 30 years over a capital shortfall of slightly more than $2 million,” wrote Patterson.

Patterson was referring to the Master Plan that was developed between the Lido Key Residents Association and the City that shows it would take about $3.2 million to renovate the facility. The city has $1.2 million earmarked to redevelop and renovate the site, thus the $2 million shortfall.

The city in light of this shortfall, opted to undertake the idea of a public-private partnership and in 2014 developed what is called an Intent To Negotiate (ITN) process.

In 2015, the Daiquiri Deck owners, who are principles in the Lido Beach Redevelopment Partners, LLC, responded to the ITN and have since gone back and forth with the city in developing their plan.

Last January, the commission voted to move forward with the plan and develop a contract reflecting the terms that will now be voted on at the city commission’s Nov. 20 meeting.

For Patterson one of the greatest flaws in the entire presentation of the lease and in the negotiation process is “the apparent absence of any economic analysis on behalf of the city and by anyone with expertise as to whether the proposed rent is fair market rental.”

There were about three-dozen speakers who were on hand at the commission meeting last week, but when the decision to delay was made, most of them left. The commission will discuss the lease and the details of the plan at the Nov. 20 meeting. City Attorney Robert Fournier said that he will present some amendments to the lease prior to the next meeting, but did not offer details.

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4 Responses for “Sarasota stalls Lido pool plan vote; opposition mounts”

  1. Chris says:

    If only the original casino hadn’t been knocked down!

  2. Suny Gravy says:

    All of these Commissioner’s that voted to give away the Lido Beach pool plan should be voted out when their term is up for re-election.

  3. Danny M. says:

    $80,000 per year for ground rent? Daquari Deck would need to pay more than double that amount for their much smaller site on St Armand’s Circle. And this is a 2.5 acre beachfront location, probably worth $10,000,000 or more if it were for sale. So a meager 3% return on value puts the ground rent at $300,000 per year–so even if you round it down to $240,000/year it’s still 3 times the amount currently being negotiated. None of this should even matter because it’s a very shortsighted proposal to allow such an intense use of the site–one that would have a major impact on surrounding neighbors who have located there for a reason–a peaceful and quiet environment void of the noise, lights, traffic and tourist-driven nature of nearby St Armand’s Circle–which is a lovely place but completely commercial in nature. I have been a commercial real estate developer for 27 years and understand the dilemma faced by the City. I’m a full-time Sarasota resident and former homeowner on south Lido Key for many years. My humble advise to the City is to be patient and seek input from the community before agreeing to give up this important site to a private party. Rethink a better approach, perhaps similar but on a smaller scale to what has recently transpired on Siesta Key beach. Allowing the proposed intense commercial development on this site would be a grave mistake with near-term and long range negative consequences.

  4. Mike says:

    Why could the city find funds for Siesta Key renovations but not Lido? Why did the city replace a perfectly adequate restroom at South Lido (Ted Sperlink Park) costing close to a million dollars, when it doesn’t even have an inside shower. Seems that 2.5 million is a bargain. Having lived on Lido for 32 years, I know I’ve put in my share of the costs. This is just another example of the commissioners and there cronies, using public land to line their pockets.

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