Like deer roaming the backyards of sprawling, master-planned communities, just about anything that’s one story up in downtown Sarasota, while charming, looks vulnerable and almost out of place these days.
For example, check out the strip of small shops running from 1260 to 1274 N. Palm Ave. Located directly east of Bay Plaza and across from the Palm Avenue parking garage. It could soon be demolished and replaced with an 18-story luxury condominium tower that includes 640 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, according to an administrative application for site plan approval filed by the developer last October.
The existing 1954 series of seven commercial spaces, which include a hair salon and restaurant, occupies 8,209 square feet. The site is around 12,377 square meters in total.
The architectural plans for 1260 North Palm Ave. indicate that there will be seven ground-level parking spaces, with an additional 30 parking spaces in four upper parking levels. Single access and entrance are on Palm Avenue. The 18-story tower would house just 14 condos, starting on the fifth floor — that’s just one unit per floor.
Local office Hoyt Architects lead the design and are familiar with such vertical projects. The company is also leading the design for the 16-story Sota Hotel & Residences on Main Street and has managed several other major projects in downtown Sarasota, such as The Jewel, One Park on the Bayfront, and The Collection and Sansara – the latter two becoming led by the same developer as what might be headed to North Palm Avenue.
Originally from Chicago, now local developer Matt Kihnke of MK Equity submitted the application on behalf of Palm Properties, LLC, which acquired the property in January 2022 for $3.79 million from Palm Avenue Properties LLC., owned by dr Mark Kauffman. Kauffman also co-owns Mira Mar Plaza, just down the street, and last year tried to sell the historic building to another local developer.
Kihnke’s portfolio includes the recently completed The Collection at 1335 Second Street, across from the Selby Public Library. He is also responsible for Sansara, which is also located on Palm Avenue. Before that he converted apartment complexes in Sarasota and Bradenton into condominiums such as the Sanctuary of Bradenton and City Walk in Sarasota.
At the North Palm Avenue Residences, which has yet to be given a real name, drawings show that the third floor will have a library, wine cellar, wine room and formal dining room.
The fourth-floor amenities level will feature a bocce ball court, an alfresco bar, a 1,026-square-foot club room, a 1,082-square-foot gym, a garden, and a water feature with a lounging area and fire pit.
Residences on levels five through eight each have three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms in 4,344 square feet, and levels nine through 17 have four bedrooms and five-and-a-half bathrooms in 5,763 square feet. Large outdoor patios hug the west side of the units.
The 5,788-square-foot, 18th-floor penthouse features four bedrooms and five-and-a-half bathrooms, with wine rooms, an office, and patios on the east and west sides. Penthouse residents have exclusive access to a 26 x 12 plunge pool and lounge and dining area located on the roof terrace above. Also on the rooftop, the rest of the residents would have access to a 34 x 18 foot pool, a spa and an expansive dining and lounging area.
Residents of the Bay Plaza next door, a mammoth collection of 102 luxury condominiums with office and retail space just off Gulfstream Avenue –Sarasota Magazine Headquarters is also there – overlooking parked yachts and water views to the west and busy Palm Avenue to the east. The building has long cast a shadow over the location of the proposed project. Built in 1982 by the late, celebrated Sarasota School architect Tim Seibert, residents to the east have never had to share the sky with neighbors. Now they may have to.
As the North Palm Avenue Residences developer is still processing applications for approval from the City of Sarasota Development Review Board, some details of the project are subject to change and price ranges have yet to be determined. But starting today, you can snag a 1,822-square-foot, second-floor, two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit next door at Bay Plaza for $1 million — which we can probably assume is a steal amidst the newly built downtown condo is madness that just won’t let up.