Players Centre sells downtown Sarasota property to limited liability company

The $9.5 million from sale to be invested in new performing arts complex in Lakewood Ranch

An aerial map shows the former Players Inc. property (outlined in red) in downtown Sarasota. Image from the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office

The Players Centre for Performing Arts has sold its property at the intersection of Ninth Street and North Tamiami Trail in downtown Sarasota for $9.5 million.

“The buyer wishes to remain anonymous at this time,” a Players news release says. However, an Oct. 1 deed recorded with the Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller shows that the buyer is Bayview Sarasota LLC, whose mailing address is 101 Paramount Drive, Suite 160, in Sarasota.

The Florida Division of Corporations says the registered agent for Bayview Sarasota is Cross Street Corporate Services, located at 200 S. Orange Ave. in Sarasota. The owner of the property at 101 Paramount Drive is Sarasota Commerce Center 2 LLC, whose registered agent also is Cross Street Corporate Services.

Bayview filed its articles of organization with the state on July 12. The registered agent listed for Cross Street in those papers is James-Allen McPheeters of Sarasota, the Florida Division of Corporations record shows. McPheeters is an attorney with the Williams Parker firm in Sarasota.

A lease executed on Sept. 28 between The Players and Bayview Sarasota, which took effect on Oct. 1, calls for the performing arts group to continue to use the property until Oct. 1, 2020. Rebecca Hunzecker, manager of Bayview Sarasota, signed the lease on behalf of the company.

The 2018 value of the 77,112-square-foot site located at 838 N. Tamiami Trail is $7,214,300, the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office shows in its records. The land is zoned Downtown Bayfront within the City of Sarasota.

Donna DeFant, chair of The Players’ board of trustees, said in the news release, “The Board of Trustees and I are pleased that we can now get on with planning our new state of the art facility in the Waterside development [in Lakewood Ranch].”

A Sept. 25 corporate resolution of The Players Inc., also recorded with the Clerk of Court’s Office, notes that the Players will use the proceeds “to cover the expenses and costs associated with the purchase and development of its Lakewood Ranch performing arts campus.”

The timeline for work on The Players’ new facilities in Waterside Place “has shifted since the sale of the [downtown] property from an initial buyer fell through this summer,” the release points out. Over the next six to eight months, the release continues, the performing arts group will invest in the completion of the architectural design for the Lakewood Ranch complex, with plans to break ground in 2019.

“With community support, the new Players Centre for Performing Arts will be up and running in 2021,” the release concludes.