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Business Observer Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015 5 years ago

Ritz-Carlton developer proposes $200 million complex

Developer Kevin Daves says the Cassia Cay project represents a “logical” progression for Sarasota County.

The co-developer of the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota and the upscale, golf-centered Concession community in east Manatee County is proposing a $200 million collection of upscale condominiums, retail and entertainment space and offices on a 31-acre tract near Sarasota Square Mall.

Developer Kevin Daves says the Cassia Cay project represents a “logical” progression for Sarasota County, and that the area is “extremely underserved” in regard to retail space and restaurants.

Daves' Core Development Inc. and Naples-based Apogee Realty Advisors LLC plan to construct 203 residences, along with 178,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space, and 60,000 square feet of offices.

The residences are expected to sell from $500,000 to $4 million, Daves says.

Retail, office and restaurant space is being marketed by CBRE Inc.'s Tampa office.

Daves expects to begin construction late next year with a completion date in 2018, though the proposal is subject to Sarasota County approval. Core Development will acquire the land for Cassia Cay once approvals have been obtained.

A neighborhood meeting on the project is scheduled to occur this evening, Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 6 p.m. at the Church of the Covenant, 7950 S. Tamiami Trail, in Sarasota County.

The project could meet with resistance from neighbors over environmental and traffic issues, but Daves downplays any opposition and says neighborhood concerns have been addressed.
County approvals for a mixed-use development on the site have been in place for roughly a decade, and the property is subject to a 99-year agreement allowing construction there.

Daves says a site plan proffered by a Michigan-based developer who previously owned the Bob's Boathouse restaurants called for as much as 40% more office space and condos near the bayfront. The land had for years been owned by art collector and historian Elling Eide, whose family originally acquired the site in the 1930s.

Cassia Cay will be patterned after the successful Mercato lifestyle center in Naples, Daves says, which sold to Prudential Real Estate Investors earlier this year for $240 million.

Daves anticipates his new project will draw consumers from tony Casey Key, The Oaks community, Siesta Key and Palmer Ranch, all of which are a short drive from the site.

“When we did the Ritz-Carlton, everyone said it was the wrong location,” Daves says. “Because it was nowhere near the beach. Now all the new hotels being developed in Sarasota are downtown. With the Concession, people said it was too far out, too far away from Lakewood Ranch or anything, that it was a terrible idea. Today there are multimillion-dollar homes there and it's nearly full.

“This to me is in exactly the same place as those projects were, in terms of potential,” Daves says of Cassia Cay. “It's 31 acres on the water and U.S. 41, for one thing. If you pull back and look at the demographics in the area, this is a more logical site for development than either of the other places were.”

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