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could portray his project as "transit-oriented design," a modern planning term for housing tied to multiple transportation options, none of which is automotive. The property also is located within walking distance of east Main Street in Sarasota. Johnson said the Ringling Village units will not be expansive; some studio apartments will have less than 1,000 square feet. "We're talking about much smaller units," said Johnson. "We're right next to transportation, so we propose less parking." Both men are talking about a five-story complex. "It will rejuvenate the whole neighborhood," noted Vengroff. "We can have about 200 units for less than $600 per month." He estimated the overall cost of Ringling Village would be about $57 million, or an average price of $71,250 per unit. However, the number of units is critical to the overall viability of the plan. Fewer units will necessitate higher rents, and at some point, affordability will fly out the window. Using an old rental real estate benchmark of 1 percent for rent to unit price, it is likely Vengroff's project would be profitable. This contrasts with most large condominium proj- ects, in which developers typically want to recover their investments by selling units and moving on. Vengroff says he can pay for the construction and thus avoid interest and other borrowing fees. This will further add to the bottom line, because the old 1 percent rule includes not only taxes and insurance, but also principal and interest. Eliminating interest payments will boost profitability. The regulatory hurdles he faces are sig- nificant. He needs a comprehensive plan change to "upgrade" from Downtown Edge to Downtown Core. But even then, the 50 units per acre allowance would get him only half- way to the 100 units per acre scale he needs. Meanwhile, the city is working on a triple-den- sity multiplier for the Rosemary District in response to another developer's plan for workforce housing. The Rosemary area is also zoned Downtown Edge; the "Rosemary Residential Overlay District," or R-ROD, would allow 75 units per acre. The city's Development Review Committee in early March approved the R-ROD, and sent it forward to the Planning Board and City Commission for public hearings as part of a comprehensive plan change. If it passes those hurdles, it will go to Tallahassee for approval. The Rosemary plan could come back in October, if all necessary parties sign off on it. The City Commission has put a priority on redevelopment of the Rosemary District, which is in downtown Sarasota north of Fruitville Road. And it has approved a "fast track" for the R-ROD. Whether Vengroff's idea gets a similar reception at City Hall remains to be seen. Vengroff has been in town since 1990, relo- cating his family and debt-collection business to Sarasota to pursue his passion for sail- ing. In 2011, he sold part of his business to CapGemini of France and reorganized the remainder into Vengroff Williams Inc. % Sarasota News Leader May 9, 2014 Page 12

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