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Prolific investor acquires landmark Sarasota property The Boatyard

Chris Brown and Above the Bar Hospitality Group own multiple other brands and entities in the Sarasota area.

  • By Mark Gordon
  • | 6:45 p.m. February 1, 2024
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
The new owners of The Boatyard plan multiple upgrades.
The new owners of The Boatyard plan multiple upgrades.
Courtesy image
  • Manatee-Sarasota
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The Boatyard, a landmark mixed-use waterfront property on Siesta Key, has been sold.

Chris Brown, a Sarasota-area entrepreneur, real estate investor and co-founder of the Above the Bar Hospitality Group, acquired the property, according to a statement. The price of the sale wasn’t disclosed, and Sarasota County property records hadn’t been updated as of Feb. 1. 

The Boatyard Waterfront Bar and Grill and Siesta Key Watersports are among the existing tenants inside the 2.03-acre property, which is situated on the mainland adjacent to the South Bridge to Siesta Key. The property contains deeded canal-front access to Sarasota Bay, Little Sarasota Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway, according to the statement from Harry E. Robbins Associates Inc., a Sarasota commercial real estate firm that facilitated the transaction on behalf of the buyer and seller. Kevin Robbins and Troy Robbins were the brokers on the deal.

Brown and his team are finalizing plans to upgrade the complex and promote a more customer-friendly environment to benefit new and existing tenants, including the waterfront restaurant, boat rental, water sports facilitators and shopping boutiques, the release states. Full plans for renovation and tenant mix will be released soon.

“As a highly visible waterfront parcel so close to Siesta Key, this is obviously a very, very sought-after location. We fielded hundreds of requests for information on this listing, and we received multiple offers within a single week,” Troy Robbins says in the release. “We only had three weeks to field offers, and we hosted multiple site visits with the buyers and the seller. Ultimately, we were able to put together a package offer that was acceptable for all parties — and all within that three-week window.”

The Boatyard has deeded canal-front access to Sarasota Bay, Little Sarasota Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway.
Image courtesy of Harry E. Robbins Associates

The property also contains existing parking as well as boat access for visitors. It’s located within walking distance of Siesta Key Public Beach.

“The Boatyard is an iconic property,” says Kevin Robbins in the release. “This is a generational asset for someone to own and develop. There are not many opportunities to secure this kind of commercial property with frontage on the water, let alone a deeded canal access.

Above the Bar’s portfolio includes Mad Moe’s Sports Pub & Grill in Osprey and Joe’s (formerly Smokin’ Joe’s) on Main Street in Sarasota, in addition to the Summer House, The Cottage, The Hub Baja Grill and The Beach Club on Siesta Key.



Mark Gordon

Mark Gordon is the managing editor of the Business Observer. He has worked for the Business Observer since 2005. He previously worked for newspapers and magazines in upstate New York, suburban Philadelphia and Jacksonville.

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