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Sarasota luxury hotel plans starting to gel

Hotel Laurent would add 140 upscale rooms on site of a county-owned surface parking lot

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  • | 6:00 a.m. September 7, 2018
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COURTESY RENDERING -- Plans for the five-star Hotel Laurent in Sarasota have begun to come into focus.
COURTESY RENDERING -- Plans for the five-star Hotel Laurent in Sarasota have begun to come into focus.
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Even before it closes on the nearly one-acre property at 20 N. Washington Blvd., a New York-based firm’s plans for a new five-star hotel in Sarasota are gelling.

Versaille St. Germain LLC, an entity controlled by former New York investment firm executive L. Ronald Gray, has honed plans for its Hotel Laurent lodging property across from Sarasota’s Lynn Silvertooth Judicial Center.

The property, which Sarasota County has owned since 1978, is currently a surface parking lot for 86 vehicles.

Gray says he plans to develop a 10-story hotel on the site, and that his project will have 140 rooms, “world-class dining options, a spa and a gym, a private concierge floor, club and rooftop pool.”

He adds he plans to “set a unique tone in the market that will challenge the current status quo.”

Gray’s team has also solidified in recent weeks, too. Gilbane Building Co., Sarasota’s Hoyt Architects and designer Cooper Carry have all signed on to work on the hotel.

Gray hopes to begin work on the hotel next year and complete Hotel Laurent sometime in late 2020. His plans come, however, as more than 1,300 new hotel rooms are either being delivered or planned in Sarasota. Gray’s project would be the only new luxury offering, however.

Versaille St. Germain submitted a lone $3.3 million bid in June to the county for the property, which was being marketed by Sarasota commercial real estate brokerage Harshman & Co. Inc.

Gray indicated at the time that he eventually hopes to expand the brand to cities like Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

Gray and representatives from Ian Black Real Estate, another Sarasota commercial real estate brokerage, are currently negotiating the final terms of the sale of 20 N. Washington.

He promises the hotel will revitalize the eastern end of Sarasota Main Street and result in a new definition of luxury accommodations for the city.

“We’re presenting a new take on luxury as well as the execution of elegant service — five-star with a smaller footprint,” he says in a statement.




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