Linear park and roundabout at Benderson Development Co. property on Fruitville Road to be completed by end of August 2019

County Commission approves final agreements necessary for work to begin on land where company also plans light industrial project

A graphic shows details of the site where the linear park will be built. Image courtesy Sarasota County

More than three years after the Sarasota County Commission closed on the sale of a 41.34-acre Fruitville Road parcel to an affiliate of Benderson Development Co., a linear park that has been a facet of plans for that site finally is nearing construction.

In a unanimous July 10 vote on its Consent Agenda of routine business items, the commission approved an agreement with Coburn Road LLC for the 50-foot-wide public park. The facility will straddle county property in the Celery Fields and a portion of the land the firm bought from the county in March 2015, according to a July 10 county staff memo.

The park’s multi-purpose trail will include “native trees and Florida Friendly landscaping,” the agreement says. Coburn Road LLC will pay for the design, construction and maintenance of the linear park, the agreement adds.

The park is to be completed no later than Aug. 30, 2019, the agreement points out. Any deviation from the plans for the facility — which have received a sign-off from county staff, the agreement indicated — “will require the express written approval of the County Engineer,” the agreement says.

On Aug. 27, 2014, the County Commission approved a contract with Coburn Road LLC for the sale of the Fruitville Road site, “provided that Coburn Road would dedicate the south 28 feet of the Property … and that the County would designate the north 22 feet of the Celery Fields … as a public park,” the county staff memo explains.

In related action on July 10, the board also unanimously approved an agreement with Coburn Road LLC that entails construction of a roundabout on Coburn Road just south of the intersection with Fruitville Road. Part of that project also will be on county land, the July 10 memo notes.

An exhibit attached to the warranty deed for the roundabout right of way provides these details. Image courtesy Sarasota County

The roundabout must be completed by Aug. 30, 2019, as well, according to the agreement regarding that project.

The roundabout, which will be at the entrance to the property Coburn Road LLC purchased from the county, will be conveyed to the county after its completion, the document points out. Work is to begin on the project within 90 days of the board action on July 10, the agreement adds.

The document was signed by David H. Baldauf, manager of Coburn Road LLC. Baldauf, an attorney, is associated with a number of Benderson Development affiliates, based on a Sarasota News Leadersearch of Florida Division of Corporations records. Among them, for example, he is vice president of Benderson Property Development Inc.

The roundabout construction “will necessitate an enlargement of existing County stormwater facilities to attenuate runoff from the new roadway,” the county staff memo adds.

Along with building the roundabout, Coburn Road LLC plans to realign and reconstruct portions of Coburn Road, the memo points out.

“As Coburn Road is … a County road used by the travelling public,” the memo notes, “plans for the temporary routing of traffic and the phasing of construction have also been presented to the County.”

An aerial map shows the location of the Coburn Road LLC property (in red). Image courtesy Sarasota County

Additionally, a warranty deed was included with the roundabout agreement, the memo says, because “certain portions of Coburn’s land … will become the new County right-of-way for the realigned portions of Coburn Road and the roundabout.” An exhibit with the deed notes that the right of way will comprise 1.584 acres.

The deed calls for the county to pay $10 to Coburn Road LLC. That document, too, was signed by Baldauf; it was dated June 19.

Further, the agreement points out that nothing in the document “shall limit or modify Coburn’s right to apply for mobility fee credits pursuant to [the county’s Code of Ordinances].”

A series of contract amendments

On April 10, the County Commission agreed to a third amendment with Coburn Road LLC involving the company’s plans for the property the county sold it, which is part of the area designated for the Fruitville Initiative. That amendment also set out a timeline for Coburn Road LLC to begin work on a 200,000-square-foot, light industrial project on the property. Work on that project, too, is to commence no later than 90 days from July 10, according to that amendment.

The third amendment also deleted language in the original contract that said, “Benderson shall use its best commercially reasonable efforts to market and lease the Property to Class A Building tenants.”

A graphic shows the layout of the seven blocks for the Benderson/Coburn Road LLC project just south of Fruitville Road. Image courtesy Sarasota County

According to the Building Owners and Managers Association International, Class A space refers to the “[m]ost prestigious buildings competing for premier office space users with rents above average for the area. Buildings have high quality standard finishes, state of the art systems, exceptional accessibility and a definite market presence.”

It characterizes Class B structures as follows: “Buildings competing for a wide range of users with rents in the average range for the area. … Building finishes are fair to good for the area and systems are adequate, but the building does not compete with Class A at the same price.”

Class C buildings, the organization adds, are those that compete for tenants that require “functional space at rents below the average for the area.”

The language about Class A tenants remained in the first and second amendments to the contract with Coburn Road LLC.