High-rise development planned for former Gulf Beach Resort motel site may go higher, commissioners say

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A new luxury tower called Rosewood Residences – slated for the site of the historic Gulf Beach Resort Motel and Coquina on the Beach on Lido Key – can now include up to 70 condominium units and have a maximum height of 135 feet, thanks to to a zoning change request was accepted at yesterday’s Sarasota city committee meeting.

Built in 1950, the Gulf Beach Resort Motel, located at 930 Benjamin Franklin Drive, consisted of 43 one-bedroom apartments, each with a full kitchen. It was designated as a historic monument to protect it from demolition, but by 2021 the motel’s humble charm turned into expensive maintenance, and the costs associated with bringing units into compliance with the current code were too high. for its owners. They decided to sell, and in January the motel was bought for $ 23.5 million by Ronto Group, a Naples-based developer. The City of Sarasota Historic Preservation Council voted 5 to 1 to demolish the structure on the nearly 4-acre beachfront property.

According to a presentation by the Ronto group shared with the Lido Key Residents’ Association at a Gulf Beach Motel community workshop on November 6, plans for the proposed luxury condominium include a residents-only bistro, yoga studio, a fitness center and social rooms.

In previous meetings, representatives of Ronto Group have indicated that the project will have 10 floors. But since then, the Ronto Group has since partnered with Wheelock Street Capital, a real estate investment company, as well as Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, to complete the skyscraper. This is Rosewood’s first stand-alone residential project.

The rezoning changes the original designation for Residential 4 Multi-Family to the Waterfront Resort designation, increasing the maximum build height from 95 feet to 135 feet. Although some residents have spoken out against the project, the majority of the municipal commission considered that it would be compatible with its environment.

Rezoning allows for a maximum density of 70 units, with a minimum rental period of one month, no more than three times per year. A restaurant would be limited to residents and guests of the condominium.

The project will include a 5 foot access margin on the north side of the property to allow access to the beach. The motel’s original sign will be incorporated into the new development.

Construction will be completed in 2025 and sales reservations will begin this month. According to a Press release, residences will average approximately 4,200 square feet. Other on-site amenities will include outdoor pools, massage rooms, private suites with housekeeping services, a lounge with library and games room, and a 24-hour concierge. The price has not yet been announced.

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