Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar construction underway on Stickney Point Road; Shell Road gate prompts concern; Crystal Classic dates and details announced; SKVA pushing again for trolley service; and the SKVA is on its July break
Ground was broken on July 11 for the new Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar at 1250 Stickney Point Road on south Siesta Key, Troy Syprett, one of the restaurant’s owners, told The Sarasota News Leader that morning.
Sarasota County finally issued permits for the project a little more than a week earlier, he added. The build-out is expected to take seven to eight months, he noted, which means the restaurant should open in mid- to late February.
When the project application was filed with the county in April, Syprett said, the hope was to open the new dining establishment in December. However, back-and-forth discussions with county staff regarding compliance with various stipulations — especially zoning issues, he added — resulted in the delay.
The Tush family — owners of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters — owns the land and will maintain the existing retail store on the property, Syprett pointed out. A 900-square-foot coffee shop with about 20 seats will take the place of the old car wash on the site, he added. The second floor primarily will be used for storage, including coolers and freezers, while the 152-seat restaurant on the 6,000-square-foot third floor will be cantilevered over the first two floors.
“You’ll be able to see the Intracoastal Waterway on one side [from the restaurant],” Syprett explained, and the Gulf of Mexico through buildings on the opposite side. “It’s going to be neat.”
The structure also will be highly visible to traffic coming onto Siesta Key from the Stickney Point Road bridge, Syprett and Siesta architect Mark Smith — who designed the project — told the News Leader.
The coffee shop will be accessible from both the Stickney Point Road and Old Stickney Point Road sides of the building, Smith explained to the News Leader.
“The entry stair will have a large skylight above it and palm trees in the middle of the stairwell to enhance the walk up,” Smith wrote in an email to the News Leader. “The elevator is to the left of the stair as you look at the rendering, in the alcove,” which is the entry into the coffee shop, he added.
“Siesta Key is like two markets,” Syprett explained. “We’re just giving people more options to stay in that area.”
Syprett added that visitors often are reluctant to drive to the Village to dine out because of their concern about parking. If county leaders ever established a regular trolley system that people could rely on, “like every other beach community has … it would be such a benefit to the county and to the Village and the Key,” Syprett pointed out. (See Siesta Seen in this issue.)
However, as it stands, he continued, for visitors and residents on the south end of the island, “there’s nowhere to get coffee in the morning” except the 7-Eleven. The new shop also will serve a light breakfast, similar to what the Lelu Coffee Lounge does in the Village.
The Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar and its coffee shop will be within walking distance for many people on south Siesta, he pointed out.
Furthermore, with Benderson Development Co. planning the mixed-use Siesta Promenade project at the corner of Stickney Point Road and U.S. 41, he expects people will walk to the restaurant from the hotel and residences on that site.
The design was carefully crafted to comply with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regulations regarding buildings in flood zones, Syprett pointed out.
Asked about the genesis of the project, Syprett explained that he was meeting several years ago with Aledia Tush, one of the owners of CB’s, when the idea surfaced. “They wanted to be able to maintain a presence with the store there,” he noted of the family members.
At the end of June 2011, the Tushes finalized the purchase of the former BP service station at 1250 Stickney Point Road, which was separated from their original store by a Bank of America branch. The station had been closed since early spring of that year.
In an interview in late July 2011, Aledia Tush and her son, Mason, talked with this reporter about how they especially valued the structure because it is on higher ground than the property where the original CB’s stands.
“It took us probably a year to get to an agreement,” Syprett explained. And then he took the idea to Smith, who created the building design. He turned to Paul Guillaume of Professional Restaurants Incorporating Design & Equipment (P.R.I.D.E.) to craft the restaurant’s interior look.
Syprett and the Tushes negotiated on the lease as that work ensued, he said. “We met about three to four months ago to get everything finalized,” he added. “Everything basically came to fruition about two to three weeks ago,” he added on July 11.
One of the last pieces of the “puzzle,” as indicated by county permitting records, was an assurance from the project team that the folding doors on the exterior of the restaurant will remain open while people are dining, Smith told the News Leader last week. A July 1 note on the application provided by a county Fire Department consultant says, “A permanent sign will be required on the first section of each of the easy-fold doors on the third floor that reads ‘THIS DOOR TO REMAIN OPEN WHEN THIS FLOOR IS OCCUPIED.’”
The first part of the work will involve creating the parking area and removing the old car wash, Syprett explained.
J E Charlotte Construction Corp. of Venice is handling the project — the same firm that worked with the Daiquiri Deck expansions in Venice and on St. Armands Key in recent years, Syprett noted. However, finding subcontractors “was a bit of a problem,” he added. “There’s so much construction going on [around the county],” and so many firms let employees go as a result of the Great Recession.
“That’s also driven up costs, too,” Syprett said, though he declined to say what the overall expense will be for the new Daiquiri Deck.
The Tushes are paying for the building itself, Syprett explained, while he and his partners — Russell Matthes and Matt Grover — are covering the build-out of the restaurant.
Shell Road gate question
The News Leader learned late last week that a new gate on Shell Road alarmed at least one Siesta resident. Knowing that the county several years ago improved parking and access to the water at the end of that road, the News Leader turned to county staff for help.
On July 12, Mark Loveridge, the county’s land development manager, reported that county staff had checked the scene and found only a gate that owners had put up at the driveway of a house under construction on North Shell Road, “which they’re allowed to do.”
The southern portion of Shell Road is private, he pointed out, and it long has been accessible only to the property owners in that vicinity. They have a gate that opens with a key card, he added.
Anger over the state of affairs on the southern portion of Shell Road — dating to the 1970s — has flared again since the County Commission voted on May 11 to abandon a 360-foot segment of North Beach Road to private property owners.
Dates announced for the Crystal Classic
During the July 5 meeting of the Siesta Key Village Association (SKVA), Ann Frescura, executive director of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, pointed out that, with the July Fourth festivities having ended, she and her staff have turned their focus to the next Crystal Classic.
Just this week, the organizers announced that the 2016 event will be held Nov. 11-15, with 24 “of the world’s preeminent master sand sculptors … competing.”
This will be the seventh year for the Crystal Classic, which has drawn more than 200,000 people to Siesta Public Beach.
“In only 24 sculpting hours, (spanning the five day event), the master sculptors will create sand masterpieces, some over ten feet tall, and transform the always beautiful Siesta Beach into an outdoor art gallery. These renowned artists will produce spectacular, ephemeral works of art from just sand and water,” the news release points out.
The festival also will feature live music through that November weekend, a large shopping village and a variety of food and drink vendors. Among other activities will be the popular three-day “Quick Sand” speed sculpting competition, sand sculpting lessons, an amateur competition and — new this year — The Learning Curve — “an educational and fun activity area for kids,” the release adds.
Parking will be easy for guests who choose the off-site shuttle service offered through Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) Routes 10 and 11, the release notes. And a Mobi-Mat will be placed on the sand for easier walking on Tuesday, Nov. 15, the release says.
Information regarding the 2016 event schedule, ticket options and parking passes may be found on the website: www.siestakeycrystalclassic.com.
The production of this year’s festival is a partnership between the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce and Mote Marine Laboratory, the release adds.
Founded in 2010, the Crystal Classic evolved from discussions between master sand sculptor and Siesta Key resident Brian Wiglesworth and representatives of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Sarasota County Parks and Recreation, Mote Marine Laboratory and Visit Sarasota County, the release explains.
For information about Siesta Key Crystal Classic partnership or vendor opportunities, contact Ann Frescura at the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce: 941-349-3800; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or www.SiestaKeyCrystalClassic.com.
Speaking of trolley service …
With representatives of the Siesta Key Village Association renewing a push for a genuine type of trolley service on the Key, Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT)’s marketing, outreach and customer service manager, Kendra Keiderling, told the News Leader on July 8 that SCAT is hoping to gain grant funding to enable it to lease trolleys.
The staff probably will not hear anything until around September, she added, when she will be able to provide a more thorough update.
Two SKVA representatives met with SCAT staff on July 7, following up on an informal discussion the SKVA hosted last month for its members.
SKVA’s preference is for two 25- to 35-passenger, open-air trolleys. One would start service at Southgate Mall on Siesta Drive and then stop in the North Village and at Siesta Public Beach before heading back to the North Village and Southgate. The second would start in the Sarasota Pavilion/Gulf Gate vicinity and then stop at the South Village on the Key and at the beach before returning to the South Village and Gulf Gate. A third trolley, with 20 to 30 passengers, would travel between the North and South villages, stopping at the public beach and all the lighted crosswalks on Midnight Pass Road.
An additional route on the south end of the Key, encompassing stops at Turtle Beach, might be considered in a “Phase II” of the plan.
As for tickets: Rates should be offered on a daily, multi-day and weekly basis, the SKVA proposal notes, with an unlimited daily pass for $5 and weekly passes for $25, though reduced fees could be offered to those who bought passes online, as an incentive.
SKVA representatives have suggested county staff research the operations of trolleys in other beach communities — including Anna Maria Island, St. Augustine, Clearwater Beach and Fort Myers Beach — to see how those systems function.
No SKA meeting in July
For the past few years, the Siesta Key Association (SKA) has taken a July break, with a number of its board members as well as numerous residents heading off the Key for vacations or family visits.
The next SKA meeting will be held on Thursday, Aug. 4, at 4:30 p.m. at St. Boniface Episcopal Church on Midnight Pass Road.