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Architectural firms chosen to submit proposals for new Sarasota performing arts center

The project in Sarasota, part of The Bay park, received 43 applications.

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  • | 5:00 a.m. December 17, 2022
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Courtesy rendering.
  • Manatee-Sarasota
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Out of the 43 architectural firms that submitted applications to design a new Sarasota performing arts center, 18 have been chosen to submit proposals. 

Part of what was expected to be a six-month process, the SPAC Architect Selection Task Force sent out a request for qualification in November for the project with an anticipated budget of $275 million.  

The project specifications were to include a 2,100-seat main hall, a 300-seat flexible performance space and a total of 165,000 square feet of building utilizing inside and outside education, event and rooftop spaces, as first reported on by Business Observer sister paper the Sarasota Observer

The new center is part of The Bay park project and will ultimately replace the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The Bay project is a city-owned, 53-acre site along Tamiami Trail being led by the Bay Park Conservancy in partnership with the Van Wezel Foundation 

The task force is scheduled to make its final selection and prepare its recommendation to the city commission by April 2023. The applications came in from all over the world, a press release states. 

“As a once-in-a-generation project, these applicants represent the best of the best firms from around the world, having designed some of the most world-renowned institutions across the globe,'' city of Sarasota Manager Marlon Brown says in the release. “This remarkable response shows how highly regarded the world views Sarasota’s arts and culture as we look to continue to build upon our future as a cherished destination.”

The next step is narrowing the list down to four to six finalists once the request for proposal submissions have been reviewed. 

“With the submission of qualifications from these accomplished firms, we now continue the robust review process that moves us closer to the vision of Sarasota as an international destination for the arts,” Cheryl Mendelson, CEO of the Van Wezel Foundation, says. “This isn’t just a building. Together, we are building a place for ideas, a place for the arts, a place for you.”


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