Sarasota News Leader

02/21/2014

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Partly sunny with a flurry of news was the forecast for the Downtown Improvement District's meeting on Tuesday morning, Feb. 18. No flake of news was worthy of its story, but altogether they added up to a snapshot of Sarasota's downtown in the midst of high season. Discussions ranged from gleaming new hotels to filthy sidewalks, cheap bikers to "mermaid" problems. Norm Gollub stopped by. He is the down- town economic development coordinator, and he briefed the four-member Downtown Improvement District (DID) board on the status of projects and security initiatives. He reported that construction cranes are returning for a flurry of hotel projects. Five are in the planning or building stages, sched- uled to bring an estimated 850 new hotel rooms to the city. Three of the five structures will also have condominiums, contributing to a total of 1,284 condo units planned or being built. Retail vacancies are down to only a couple of storefronts. The former Christian Science Reading Room is returning to its church after decades on Main Street. A women's apparel store will be filling the space. Additionally, the former Floribbean restaurant will be replaced with a sports apparel store, a note- worthy change because retail often becomes Many downtown Sarasota business owners say they dislike any closure of Main Street for special events. An art show drew thousands to the Pineapple Square area over the weekend. Photo by Norman Schimmel NEW BUILDINGS, NEW BUSINESSES, OLD PROBLEMS AND OLDER ONES COME BEFORE THE DOWNTOWN IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT BOARD DOWNTOWN TIDBITS By Stan Zimmerman City Editor

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