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Charlotte-Lee-Collier
Business Observer Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 1 year ago

Sasaki tapped for Sarasota bayfront design work

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Sasaki Associates Inc. has been picked to lead design and planning work for a 42-acre, municipally owned cultural tract just outside downtown Sarasota.
by: Kevin McQuaid Commercial Real Estate Editor

Sasaki Associates Inc. has been picked to lead design and planning work for a 42-acre, municipally owned cultural tract just outside downtown Sarasota.

The property, now home to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and other civic venues, has been identified as underutilized. Much of the property that will become “The Bay” is currently used as surface parking.

Boston-based Sasaki topped three other firms, following a months-long process by a citizens committee led by former Procter & Gamble CEO AG Lafley.

Sasaki, whose officials did not return telephone calls and emails for comment, is no stranger to urban redevelopment. The firm has previously has worked on Chicago's Riverwalk, a University of Washington campus master plan, the Houston Energy Corridor District and other plans.

Sarasota becomes the latest Gulf Coast city to work on revamping a large, underserved area in or near its downtown. Both Fort Myers and St. Petersburg have also engaged planning firms to come up with designs aimed at reinvigorating urban areas. In St. Petersburg, the city is working on a future for an 85-acre site that now houses Tropicana Field, as well as the Municipal Pier area.

Tampa, too, is undergoing a bit of a renaissance, thanks to the planned $3 billion redevelopment of an area known as Water Street Tampa by Strategic Property Partners, a joint venture between Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates' Cascade Investments LLC.

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