The Jewel fills a gap in downtown Sarasota

High-luxury residences will replace an old Sarasota watering hole. Courtesy image

“Out with the old and in with the new” would be an odd motto for a historic preservation board. But two buildings in Sarasota’s downtown historic district will be coming down by early next year to make way for another bayfront condominium.

The Sarasota City Historic Preservation Board voted unanimously on Tuesday, Sept. 11, to allow demolition of two historic buildings at the foot of Main Street. In their stead, Tom Mannausa plans a 19-unit, mixed-use, 18-story, upscale building called The Jewel.

The high-rise will be situated at the north quarter of the Main Street and Gulfstream Avenue intersection, across U.S. 41 from Marina Jack.

“It will consume the entire site,” said Joel Freedman, who represented Mannusa before the board.

Coming down will be the two-story building at 1311 Main now housing Living Walls and the adjacent one-story Sports Page bar and restaurant.

The two buildings, which lie on the edge of the historic district, have seen hard use over the years. Clifford Smith, the city’s liason for the Historic Preservation Board, said, “I looked to see what historical material is left. Not much of the historic fabric remains,” using “fabric” in the sense of “structure.”

The building at 1311 Main was erected in 1925, with the second story added in the 1950s. The Sports Page building next door, at 1319, was constructed in 1945. “They little resemble what they used to look like,” said Chris Burger, another consultant.

Freedman will work with salvage firms in town to recover what – if any – historically significant features may be found as the demolition proceeds. He said the developer hopes to apply for a building permit by the end of the year and expects construction to be under way by next summer.

The site fills one of only two “holes” in Sarasota’s arc of downtown condominiums from South Palm at Mound Street north and west to the glassy One Sarasota Tower at U.S. 41 and the Ringling Causeway. The only other low-rise building along the arc is the Church of the Redeemer, at Palm Avenue and Ringling Boulevard.