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Ringling College of Art, Design buys Visionworks building

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  • | 10:00 a.m. September 5, 2014
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  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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BUYER: Ringling College of Art and Design Inc., Sarasota
SELLER: William and Chong Kelsey as trustees of the William and Chong Kelsey Family Trust
PROPERTY: 891 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
PRICE: $1.6 million
PREVIOUS PRICE: $205,000, September 1986.
LAW FIRM ON DEED: Bowman George Scheb Kimbrough & Koach PA, Sarasota

The Ringling College of Art and Design Inc. purchased a 7,100-square-foot retail building on U.S. 41 for $1.6 million.

The price equated to $225 per square foot. That figure is higher than the two-year average price per square foot for retail space ($138) in the Tampa Bay area, according to the CoStar Group.

The building is leased to glasses and contacts retailer Visionworks for at least the next year.

Christine Meeker Lange, Ringling spokeswoman, says the college saw the building as an obvious opportunity given its location adjacent to the former Sarasota High School.

The college has raised $22.5 million to convert the 57,000-square-foot school building into a modern and contemporary art museum called the Sarasota Museum of Art. The redeveloped building will feature a 110-seat auditorium, sculpture court, indoor/outdoor cafe, classroom, studios and meeting spaces. Construction of the project is expected to take until 2016 at the earliest.

The college is still evaluating its long-term plans for the Visionworks building.


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