Date: May 31, 2012
by: Kurt Schultheis | City Editor
Years of planning have led to Mannausa’s goal of building what he perceives as the premier condominium tower in downtown Sarasota. Mannausa calls it a “no-brainer” to name his project located at 1301 Main St., “The Jewel.”
The modern, contemporary tower being designed by Hoyt calls for 18 floors.
The corner of Main Street and Gulfstream Avenue has been eating away at longtime Sarasota real-estate developer Tom Mannausa for more than 20 years.
In 1989, Mannausa had a fifth-floor office in the Palm Tower building and remembers looking down at the one-story buildings on the Main Street block between Gulfstream and Palm avenues.
“I would come there every day and look at the view of those properties before Epicure was even built there,” Mannausa said.
“I always thought it would be a terrific residential site … the best residential site in downtown Sarasota.”
A downturn in the economy, followed by a recession, made Mannausa’s goal unattainable.
But in December 2010, Mannausa made his move, purchasing the corner lot at the corner of Gulfstream Avenue and Main Street for $870,000 from the estate of developer Samuel Hamad, whose Marquee on the Bay residential project fell apart during the downturn in the economy.
When Mannausa purchased the Hamad property, the purchase price came with Hamad’s former plans designed by Hoyt Architect President Gary Hoyt.
“The prior presentation only encompassed the corner lot, though, and I knew that was wrong,” Mannausa said. “ My vision has always been the entire block.”
Immediately, Mannausa began negotiating a purchase price for the Living Walls furniture store. Mannausa told the Sarasota Observer he closed on the property last week.
Mannausa has also worked out an agreement to purchase The Sports Page Bar & Grill from owners Kenny Barr and Bob Richards, in July.
“I’ll own the corner free and clear up to Epicure,” Mannausa said.
Coming full circle, Mannausa has also negotiated an agreement with Epicure, which will stay put in exchange for the ability to make design modifications that will allow Mannausa’s new condominium tower to blend in with the Epicure property.
“We will integrate the design of the first three levels of our property with Epicure, so, architecturally, our theme will be carried through the entire block,” Mannausa said. “Everything will be cohesive.”
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