Developer wants to amend county regulations to permit a 35-foot structure over two levels of parking
A fourth hotel project has been planned for property on Siesta Key, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. This one would be constructed on the approximately 2.15 acres where the former Wells Fargo bank stood at 5810 Midnight Pass Road.
On March 19, Sarasota County Planning and Development Services Department staff received a preliminary application from Weiqi Lin of Port and Coastal Consultants in Sarasota, outlining plans for a 100-room boutique hotel on the parcel that Wells Fargo recently sold to ABC SUB2 LLC, whose principal is Dave Balot, the document shows.
The parcel is approximately 1,200 feet from Siesta Public Beach, “which equates to a 5-minute walk,” the preliminary application points out. It also is about 1.25 miles from Siesta Village, and it is immediately south of the Gulf & Bay condominium complex.
ABC SUB2 filed its articles of incorporation with the state on Jan. 11, Florida Division of Corporations records say.
“The owner is a member of the Siesta Key community, not someone from out of town, who currently owns real estate and has business interests on Siesta Key,” the preliminary application explains. “As a member of the community,” it continues, “he understands the concerns involving the environment, the beaches, the waters, the lack of parking and the impacts of development [on the island].”
Balot is the chief operating officer of Siesta Key Beach Resorts and Suites, according to the Better Business Bureau.
The only other project team member identified in the preliminary application is Mark Sultana of DSDG Architects, which is located on Fruitville Road in Sarasota.
The hotel design also would encompass a 9,350-square-foot restaurant and bar, the preliminary application says. That facility would be open to the public as well as guests, the document adds.
“The existing one-story building [comprising 8,580 square feet] was built in 1971, and has a total of 49,450 [square feet] of asphalt parking,” with total impervious lot coverage of 65.42%, the document says.
Further, the parcel is the only one on the island zoned Commercial General within the Siesta Key Overlay District that is surrounded by residential multi-family properties, the preliminary application points out.
“The uniqueness of its size makes it an ideal parcel for a Boutique Hotel on Siesta Key,” the document adds, “and its location is perfect for a hotel/restaurant bar to serve the many visitors” who come to the island each year.
Although the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office says the parcel encompasses 2.036 acres, the preliminary application notes that the boundary survey provided by Land Surveying LLC found the size actually is 2.152 acres.
Balot also is asking for a change in county zoning and land-use regulations to allow the maximum 35-foot height for commercial construction on Siesta Key to be calculated above the planned two levels of parking for the new hotel. Such a design, the preliminary application says, “is the best solution for the property growth and development of a much-needed new hotel on Siesta Key. The owner is interested in working with the Siesta Key Association,” the Siesta Key Condominium Council, the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, “neighboring communities, and all residents who live on the Key to develop this property,” the document adds.
The parking levels would have a total of 394 spaces, the preliminary application says, including spots designated for motorcycles, golf carts and bicycles. “Parking will include 97 extra beach parking/overflow parking spaces and 7 handicapped spots to meet the current requirements under the [Unified Development Code regulations] for hotel and restaurant/bar parking.”
Further, the document points out, a swimming pool — approximately 32 feet by 115 feet — and one or more hot tubs would be built on the third floor above the parking area.
The Wells Fargo branch closed on Nov. 18, 2020, Jacob Jordan, a spokesman for the bank, told the News Leader in a late March email. “Wells Fargo continuously evaluates our branch network in light of changing customer needs, market factors, and economic trends,” Jordan wrote. “Branches continue to play an important role in the way we serve our customers, and as customer preferences change, so will our branches and the experiences customers have in them.”
Based on the details in the March 4 deed of sale between Wells Fargo and ABC SUB2, the latter paid $4,410,000 for the former bank site. ABC SUB2 then took out a $2.2 million mortgage on the property, working with Hancock Whitney Bank of New Orleans, a Sarasota County Clerk of Court document shows.
First Union National Bank of Florida Bank Real Estate purchased the parcel on Feb. 28, 1992 for $1,302,033, the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office records say.
In 2020, those records note, the market value of the parcel was $4,588,300.
Proposed density changes for the county’s barrier islands
Additionally, like the other three Siesta Key hotel proposals that have been outlined to county staff, this one seeks an amendment to the county’s Comprehensive Plan to increase the residential density allowed for “transient accommodations” — the county term for hotels and motels.
In this latest situation, ABC SUB2 is proposing that lands zoned Commercial General (CG) in the Siesta Key Overlay District (SKOD) zoning regulations “may be redeveloped to a new resort/hotel/motel which has twice the density and intensity of current zoning regulations.”
The requested Comprehensive Plan change would apply to Future Land Use Policy 2.9.1, which regards residential density and intensity on the county’s barrier islands.
County regulations allow up to 13 dwelling units per acre on CG parcels. However, a hotel room without a kitchen counts as half a unit.
The team working on a proposed 170-room hotel on parcels between Calle Miramar and Beach Road — on the edge of Siesta Village — wants to eliminate residential density calculations for hotels altogether on the barrier islands.
The group seeking to construct a 120-room hotel on Old Stickney Point Road is calling for a change that would allow double the residential density for transient accommodations just in the “South Bridge” area of Siesta Key, which is what the owner of the Old Stickney Point Road site — Siesta chiropractor and businessman Gary Kompothecras — calls that part of the island.
Finally, the team working on the redevelopment of the Siesta Key Beach Resort and Suites on Ocean Boulevard in Siesta Village has filed a preliminary application seeking a countywide change to the Unified Development Code that would allow any existing transient accommodations with 40 or more units before March 13, 1989, and still in operation as of the date the amendment would take effect, to be redeveloped without having to comply with the CG residential density restrictions on Siesta Key.