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Business Observer Friday, Oct. 21, 2016 5 years ago

Piece of the Puzzle

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Michael Saunders & Co.'s recent move into more than 16,000 square feet in the 13-story Ellis Building in downtown Sarasota marked a new chapter in the 40-year history of the region's largest locally based residential real estate brokerage firm.
by: Kevin McQuaid Commercial Real Estate Editor

Michael Saunders & Co.'s recent move into more than 16,000 square feet in the 13-story Ellis Building in downtown Sarasota marked a new chapter in the 40-year history of the region's largest locally based residential real estate brokerage firm.

But moving more than 100 agents and other personnel to the Benderson Development Co.-owned 1605 Main St. property will likely be but the first step in a grander plan.

CEO and co-founder Michael Saunders says shifting IT, marketing, accounting and business development workers and other staff from a company-owned property on Orange Avenue, also in downtown Sarasota, could eventually result in a new office tower on that property.

“The first domino has fallen in repurposing and providing space for an ever-growing company,” says Saunders, whose firm has nearly 800 agents and staff and generated sales of $2.7 billion last year.

Additionally, Saunders plans to raze a small office building that has held the company's rental division adjacent to its former Main Street Sarasota office, to create extra parking.

Ultimately, the 2-acre Orange Avenue site could be used to develop headquarters office space.

“It's superbly located, and it's been our dream to pursue it for the past 10 to 15 years,” Saunders says.

She adds the company is working with a national developer to construct the roughly 40,000 square feet Michael Saunders requires.

If Saunders' plan reaches fruition, the result could be the first dedicated new office building constructed in downtown Sarasota in more than a decade.

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