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Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 the site. In early September, the Lancasters inked a deal to sell their two adjacent lots. That would have given the JEBCO Ventures firm of Atlanta and Sarasota a five-lot footprint (roughly 500 feet by 525 feet) for the proposed hotel. When JEBCO representatives learned it could take as long as a year to win city permission to tear down the old two-story structure, they backed off. "If we get approval from you, perhaps the [sales] contract will be revitalized," said Alex Lancaster. "With the rents we get and the taxes on it, it is not economical to keep tenants there. The taxes are driving us away from keeping it like it is." The Lancasters have a long history of buying dilapidated old buildings and restoring them. Many of the structures were placed on the local historic register. The building on Second Street was the focal point of their Page 66 third attempt at saving an old structure. They rehabilitated it in 1984. "Your plans seem to be contingent on other plans by JEBCO," said board member Robert Dylan. "If we approve it today, and then JEBCO changes their minds?" "If it [the deal] doesn't go, then we wait a year," replied Alex Lancaster. "You can only hold it up a year," he added of the demolition, "and then [the building] comes down. That assumes I don't appeal to the City Commission. [Jim Bridges, CEO of JEBCO] opted out because of the possibility of a one-year delay." Part of the original contract called for the Lancasters to move the two-story building to a complex they own on the north side of Fruitville Road, just west of U.S. 301. But that idea first proved very expensive — with a $200,000 estimate — and then not feasible. An aerial map shows the location of the structure on Second Street, with Fruitville Road to the north and Tamiami Trail on the west. Image from Google Maps

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