Latest Bayfront developments: Sarasota Orchestra to exit stage as Van Wezel plans new hall

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Master planning 53 prime Bay front acres is perhaps the most challenging and yet exciting undertaking the Sarasota community has embarked upon.

Last week, Sasaki the design firm hired to plan the Bayfront project, unveiled a revised draft of its Master Plan that was met with enthusiasm at its community unveiling.

The acreage spans from G-Wiz on the south and follows the Bayfront including the Van Wezel, the 10th Street Boat Ramp, the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium and the expansive parking lot.

Sasaki has spent about half a year receiving feedback from tens of thousands of residents and have received more than 3,000 surveys with residents offering clear opinions that collectively have shaped the plan.

The majority of residents, according to Sasaki, want Bayfront pedestrian accessibility, the presence of signature cultural amenitites such as the Van Wezel, as well as passive recreation, a boat ramp and dining opportunities in the future redevelopment.

The latest Master Plan shows these amenities and more and includes numerous pedestrian bridges, a pier, a one-acre event lawn, a new Van Wezel, a bait and tackle shop, botanical gardens, and a 3,000-4,000 square foot restaurant.


New Van Wezel could cost $270 million

The largest component of the redevelopment of the city-owned acreage which has been dubbed “The Bay” will be a new Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. According to the Van Wezel Director, the current Hall has numerous failing systems as well as configuration challenges in its seating as well as lobby areas.

According to Sasaki, the cost for the entire redevelopment will range from $340 million to $420 million.


Orchestra plans departure

Last week, the Sarasota Orchestra announced to the Sarasota City Commission that it would not be part of the Bayfront Plan and would find a new home within the city.

The Orchestra, which employs about 300 people, will rely on both public and private financial support to pay for the new building. According to the Sarasota Orchestra, the number of years to develop the Bayfront would preclude other options.

The Orchestra will use the remainder of this year to search for a location and development cost to initiate a fundraising campaign.

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1 Response for “Latest Bayfront developments: Sarasota Orchestra to exit stage as Van Wezel plans new hall”

  1. Senseless says:

    Hello. The main cultural attraction will not participate? Why is this exhorbitant project being pushed on the community?

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