Sarasota News Leader

05/23/2014

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Maybe it was too much of a good thing: a proven local architect and a veteran local developer offering to create a mixed-use project in a blighted area two blocks from downtown, using private financing. A year ago, the city asked for proposals regard- ing the former community garden site on Sixth Street (aka Boulevard of the Arts). The city wanted a "catalyst project" that would jump-start interest in the Rosemary District north of Fruitville Road and downtown. T h e c i t y r e c e i v e d exactly one response. During the Monday, May 19, afternoon session of the City Commission meeting, board members picked apart the deal they were being asked to approve. "This is risky adventure," said developer Dr. Mark Kauffman. "We are looking to be the seminal project for the district." He c a l l s h i s p r o p o s a l Rosemary Square, in part, because a pub- lic square lined with shops and cafés is a feature of the design. Commissioners, how- ever, were concerned (From left) Dr. Mark Kauffman, Jonathan Parks, Selina Wilson (with Parks' office) and Joel Freedman, a planning consultant, speak to the City Commission about the Rosemary Square project. Photo by Stan Zimmerman CATALYST OR CUDGEL? ROSEMARY SQUARE TEAM GOES TO THE MAT AND WINS I think this is very exciting. I don't think we should get too mired in the details right now. Suzanne Atwell Commissioner City of Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor

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