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Roundabout, Quay to transform Downtown Sarasota corridor

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

Sarasota’s field of green — the expansive vacant property that extends from the Fruitville Road and U.S. 41 intersection, all the way to the Bayfront — will steadily be developed into Ritz Carlton Residences, a hotel as well as commercial and office space.

The site was once home to The Quay, a hulking Bayfront building that was demolished. In 2016, GreenPointe Communities won approval from the Sarasota City Commission to proceed with the multifaceted redevelopment plan.

Part of the contention, especially for Longboat Key residents, is the specter of a roundabout that is not only planned, but already funded.

In fact, the City of Sarasota Commission, and the Sarasota County Commission has been bullish on a U.S. 41/Fruitville Road roundabout and the City made it one of the conditions of approval for a future Quay development.

Fueling the roundabout construction is the unanimous approval last month by the County Commission to enter into a funding agreement with the city for the roundabout.

The County Commission appropriated $4.879 million at the meeting for the project, which is due to be built and completed by Oct. 1, 2021. A County memorandum says the construction may take two years to complete.

The County in its appropriation of funds was essentially transferring impact fees and the money reflects transportation dollars collected by the County within the City to pay for City transportation needs.

From the County’s Capital Improvement point of view, the roundabout has been labeled as the best possible method for moving traffic through that intersection. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has estimated it will cost $5.5 million to build the roundabout and the City will pay that amount.

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