Sarasota News Leader

02/14/2014

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at 2051 Main St. is valued at approximately $2 million. The county will pay SHD up to $494,798 to construct the parking spaces. Much of the debate Wednesday centered on what was missing from the agreement drafted after several months of negotiations between the county's real estate staff and the develop- er's representatives. The two board members in the minority on the final decision —Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson and Commissioner Nora Patterson — said they were uncomfortable about the lack of an enforceable provision requiring the developer to carry through with the con- struction. For example, a "reverter clause" would have obligated the developer to return the property to the county if a hotel were not built within a certain amount of time. Under the agreement approved Wednesday, SHD will have to forfeit a $1 million escrow (performance guarantee) payment if it does not construct the hotel, but then it will be able to build whatever it likes on the site, or leave the property vacant, without further penalty. "There is no reverter clause," Robinson said. "If they don't do what we ask for, they get the property and they can do whatever the city lets them do [under zoning regulations]." At one point during the discussion, the proj- ect faced the prospect of three negative votes. Patterson and Robinson were not alone in voicing concerns. Chairman Charles Hines pointed out he also had wanted to see stron- ger language in the agreement, requiring the developer to construct a hotel and not use the site for some other purpose. "What excites me about doing this deal is a hotel will be going there," Hines said. "That was the key to doing this deal. We are being made aware that might not happen." The county-owned parcel at 20 N. Washington Blvd. in downtown Sarasota has served the adjacent courthouses. Photo by Norman Schimmel There is no reverter clause. If they don't do what we ask for, they get the property and they can do whatever the city lets them do [under zoning regulations]. Christine Robinson Vice Chairwoman Sarasota County Commission Sarasota News Leader February 14, 2014 Page 15

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