The tentative timeline for submitting the project application to Sarasota County is this winter, the Dutchman Hospitality Group general manager says
The general manager of Sarasota’s Der Dutchman Restaurant and retail complex told The Sarasota New Leader this week he still hopes a new hotel on the site will open in the summer of 2017, though he is not sure when the project application will be submitted to Sarasota County.
“We’re hoping yet this winter, Jeff Miller said during a Dec. 21 telephone interview with the News Leader, referring to the timeline for turning in the documentation.
Pre-application materials Dutchman Hospitality Group Inc. of Walnut Creek, Ohio, submitted to the county on Nov. 20 offered some details about the plans for a 100-room, four-story hotel in Pinecraft, the Amish and Mennonite community in the vicinity of Beneva Road and Bahia Vista Street. “We have hotels around our other locations,” Miller pointed out of Dutchman Hospitality. The goal is to create a Sarasota facility with ambience that would be welcoming to Amish and Mennonite guests, he continued: “a homier feel,” potentially with quilts and furniture created by Amish craftsmen.
“A little more of a feel of our culture,” he added.
Dutchman Hospitality purchased the 200,140-square-foot restaurant at 3713 Bahia Vista St. and other nearby properties — including an adjacent 45,400-square-foot retail center — from Troyer Corp. of Ohio in April 2012, according to the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office. Dutchman paid Troyer $5,194,500, property records show.
The site has approximately 8.77 commercial acres and 1.16 residential acres, according to the pre-application material provided to Sarasota County.
Already, Jeff Miller said, he has hosted a mandatory neighborhood workshop at the Der Dutchman restaurant to inform neighbors about the hotel plans. Held on Dec. 17, that session drew about 30 people, Miller added.
Under county regulations, property owners within a 750-foot radius of the site of a proposed development must be alerted to the plans and invited to such a workshop, Miller explained.
Most of the concerns raised focused on stormwater and traffic, he told the News Leader. County regulations will not allow the stormwater utilities for the hotel to be placed on-site, Miller noted. As for the traffic: A study is being undertaken to determine how best to manage it on the property, he said.
“We’d like to start construction this coming summer” — June or July, he noted. The tentative timeline calls for the project to take about 12 to 13 months, he added.
No final cost estimate is available yet, Miller said.
The parcel where the hotel will be built will have to be rezoned, the pre-application material shows. The existing zoning is Commercial General (CG) and Residential, Combination. A summary of county staff comments provided during a Dec. 3 Development Review Committee (DRC) meeting to Joel Freedman, the Sarasota consultant working on the project with Dutchman Hospitality, says, “The property is designated Village I Commercial Center and Moderate Density … Please be aware that the maximum commercial square footage allowed in a Village I Commercial Center is 300,000 square feet,” the Dec. 17 summary adds. “It appears that the hotel added to existing square footage … may not exceed [that] maximum …”
Dutchman Hospitality will ask the county to change the zoning to CG with a special exception for a hotel with a height above 35 feet, along with off-site stormwater utilities on property zoned Residential Single-Family, the pre-application material says. “The existing retail buildings and restaurant will remain,” the document continues, noting, “The entire site is under one ownership and will be under unified control.”
The DRC meeting summary also points out that the project will not be able to proceed unless Dutchman Hospitality obtains a permit from the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD). “This site is located within the Phillippi Creek Drainage Basin (Sarasota Bay Watershed),” the summary notes, and a portion of the site is within the 100-year floodplain.
Regarding the stormwater situation, the DRC summary says no capacity is available in the 16-inch force main on Bahia Vista Street, so the application will have to provide details about where the sewer flow will go.
Under the “Environmental Protection” section, staff notes that the site will need to be reviewed “for the presence of grand trees.” The summary adds, “All grand trees will need to be shown on concept plan as protected.”
“We’re really excited about partnering with the community,” Miller told the News Leader. “I just really think this area has a real need [for such a hotel],” he added, “especially during a week like this.”
“We’re doing something that will fit in really well” with the nature of Pinecraft, he said.