Plans Proceeding for new Siesta Key Resort

An update on the proposed Siesta Key Resort

Siesta Sand spoke with Dr. Gary Kompothecras about his planned Siesta Key Resort on Old Stickney Point Road. He discussed the hotel’s contemporary exterior design and provided Siesta Sand with an exclusive preview of the structure’s exterior rendering. He noted that onsite parking will be out of view, under the main building. Additional garage parking, across the street from the hotel, where the Bank of America building was once located will reflect a coastal appearance.

Can you provide us with a progress report on your proposed new hotel?

We are still in the entitlement phase of the project. To move forward, some zoning related action will need to be taken before the Sarasota County Commission.

Are you still working toward an opening date of 2022?

Yes, we are still planning on a 2022 opening if all goes well with the zoning activity required.

Can you discuss the architectural design of the structure and how you decided on that style?

Sarasota has a history with modern design. In fact, the Sarasota School of Architecture defines a regional modern style that combines organic modern and European contemporary elements using lots of glass to bring the outside in and reinforced concrete as a visible architectural element. I have been a Sarasota County resident for decades and always appreciated the style. I also own a small lodging facility nearby that was built many years ago and reflects these design principles. We recently upgraded that property while retaining its local modern character.

Have you had any interaction with the Sarasota architectural groups in finalizing the “look” of the new hotel?

No, we have not. Our team is very familiar with this style and the coastal architecture being used for the garage.

What features of the new hotel will distinguish it from other Sarasota Hotels and specifically from other hotel accommodations on Siesta Key?

Probably the most interesting experience will be that check-in will occur on the top floor, with a panoramic view from Bay to Gulf. A patron will enter the hotel form a ramped “porte cochere,” be greeted and take an elevator to the top floor. The hotel will have a 6,000 square foot multi-function area, a roof-top pool, a small lobby bar for patron service, and it is planned that there will be a light self-serve breakfast. There will be no in-house restaurant.

Will the hotel be designed as a mixed use property?

No. The parking garage across the street will include about 6,000 square feet of commercial space and 200 parking spaces.

Do you plan to incorporate shops as well as parking?

Yes, in the parking garage. The parking garage will accommodate what will likely be two commercial uses, as yet undetermined.

Will guests be able to walk to the beaches and into town?

Yes, there is a beach access less than a quarter of a mile east of the hotel, directly across Midnight Pass Road.

You told the Siesta Sand that European visitors are a part of your focus. Can you tell us how the exterior and interior design will appeal to this audience?

The real advantage is that tour bookers have long expressed a concern that the lack of a “flagged hotel” on Siesta Key has been a limiting factor in organizing charter bookings into Sarasota Bradenton International Airport.

Where do you stand with the zoning department, and when do you anticipate breaking ground?

Again, we would hope to break ground in 2022. With these plans in hand, we are finalizing the site plans necessary for the special exception request. A pre-application appearance before the County Development Review Committee (coordinated initial staff comment) would be the next step following completion of the site plan. That could happen by the end of April, but we are not firm on that schedule as yet. Once that occurs an application is made, a community meeting is required, and then the review of the application by the Planning Commission. Ultimately, the County Commission will proceed. This process alone is at least 6 months.

What will be the greatest benefit for Siesta Key when the new hotel is completed?

This will be one of only two hotels on the Key, and the only one sporting a major “flag.” The investment in the hotel and parking garage is likely to approach $40 million, if not more, into a commercial area that has stagnated. The closing of the old Stickney Point Bridge in the 60’s essentially stranded this commercial district to the point of blight. Aside from cleaning up the area and enhancing the tax base, the improvements associated with this development will in effect create a new “driveway” entry for the condos and residential areas to the east and south.

When the hotel is completed, how many seasonal and year-round new jobs do you anticipate creating?

Our current plan is an opening in mid to late 2022. The hotel will employ approximately 110.

Do you feel that you are beginning to win the support your fellow Siesta Key residents for your project?

We have tried hard to be transparent with everything that we do. That is why we have agreed to stories like this, and have offered our planning renderings. From these we get feedback, which we have accommodated wherever it makes sense. As we travel through the zoning process we will get a better handle on community support and concern as we will be required to hold a public meeting before the Planning Commission hears any zoning requests.

How are the latest renderings different from the previous version?

The previous renderings were more about how the interior of the hotel might function. We had not paid much attention to the exterior, so the previous rendering had a fairly commercial, “highway hotel” type of look. That was just a “place holder,” as exteriors can be made any way you want, once the functional design is complete. During the ensuing months we worked with the architect to solidify the owner’s intent that the exterior reflects the modern character that has been the goal along. By the way, this is where we appreciated feedback. We got several comments on the previous renderings, and although we knew they were a place holder, the commenters did not. Their comments expressed a wish that we would produce something more unique and less commercial, which was our plan all along.