Downtown Sarasota real estate investor Jesse Biter has moved ahead with plans for a $15 million, mixed-use project at Fruitville Road and Second Street adjacent to his four-story HuB Building.
Biter filed plans with the city late last month to develop 96 apartments, 6,270 square feet of office space and about 250 parking spaces, which would supplant an existing two-level garage adjacent to the HuB.
Biter says he hopes to deliver the 1697 2nd St. project in 2018.
The plans come as more than 1,400 new rental units are under construction or have recently come online downtown.
Several projects, including a 180-unit apartment building being developed by Atlanta-based Carter Properties on Second Street, and at least two others in the city's Rosemary District north of Fruitville Road, are expected to charge monthly rental rates significantly higher than those obtained previously downtown.
New projects often charge more in rents to offset construction costs and increases in labor and materials, and because they contain modern amenities renters seek.
By contrast, Biter says he hopes to offer units at less expensive rates, though he added he has not yet formulated exact amounts.
“I think there's still a housing situation downtown, even with all the new units coming on,” he says. “And we'll have some of the least expensive rates on the market. That's our goal.”
Biter adds that he would able to charge less because he purchased the garage where the apartments would be built at a relatively lower basis several years ago.
Biter Idea Vault LLC acquired the garage in September 2012 for $410,000, Sarasota County property records show.
The new plans are similar to ones Biter filed with city officials earlier this year, which also called for just under 100 apartments, office space and parking.
“People want to be downtown,” Biter says. “And we're going to do a beautiful project.”