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FLORIDA SKYRISE ORDER

Sarasota, Florida.......Construction Explosion

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Downtown Sarasota

The Jewel of Florida's suncoast, Sarasota offers a vibrant lifestyle rich in music and the arts. Once the home of John Ringling, visitors won't want to miss the magnificent Ca d' Zan, white sandy beaches of Siesta Key or the shops, galleries and boutiques along Palm Avenue and St. Armands Circle. Other attractions include the Asolo Theater of Performing Arts, Classic Antique Cars Museum and Sarasota Jungle Gardens. Just minutes from the Gulf of Mexico beaches and beautiful golf courses and country clubs.

This is how a realty company describs Sarasota to visitors of its website. But Sarasota is much, much more. More importantly, for a town of 60,000, with a metro of close to 680,000, Sarasota has an impressive, aggressive skyline of low to midrise buildings (150 to just shy of 300 feet). And there's much more construction going on in which I will try and cover. The downtown is vibrant, cosmopolitan, and has a wealthy overseas flair akin to a city in Italy or Spain. I am giving you some aerial looks of Sarasota's downtown and its skyline. If you have a feel for "Sara," and know of any projects that need commenting on, join the crowd!

FLORIDA SKYRISE

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Sarasota, like Fort Myers, is another lesser known boomtown with a downtown skyline popping up over night. I wish the city would consider dropping its height restrictions in certain areas.

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I lived in Naples, FL last summer, and I felt that Sarasota had much more in common with Naples/Ft. Myers than it did with Tampa. Many residents of Sarasota claimed Southwest FL, not the Tampa area. But, to answer your question, I don't see Sarasota's proximity to Tampa being a bad thing.

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Sarasota's height restriction may seems strange, but it's because the city council wants to keep Sarasota more like a European city, slowly expanding its culture as well as its skyline. The problems of Tampa come from rapid, unchecked expansion and lackluster planning. The main reason, however, is because Sarasota's roads are nowhere near large enought to accomodate the amount of traffic larger buildings would produce. Downtown really only has two major North-South roads, US 41 and US 301, and those merge just south of downtown. All other roads are small, winding alleys and canopied roadways. The only East-West routes are Fruitville, Ringling, and 10th street, all of which encounter backups when they intersect 41 and 301. Bradenton, however, is much better planned than Sarasota in that they have many large, one-way streets and a very well-flowing downtown center that is easily bypassed. To get anywhere in Sarasota during season, however causes a sea of headaches and tourist cursing. So please, if you want larger buildings in Sarasota, mention the fact that we need larger roads. Oh, and Tampa definitely benefits Sarasota in that it provides a cheap venue for airflight (I've lived directly west of 41 from the airport my entire life and have seen airprices fall dramatically, but still not in competition with TIA) and many more shopping and tourist venues not available in Sarasota, although Sarasota and Bradenton combined could, if planned properly, eventually overshadow the significance of Tampa.

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Sarasota, like Fort Myers, is another lesser known boomtown with a downtown skyline popping up over night. I wish the city would consider dropping its height restrictions in certain areas.

The view of Sarasota's downtown when crossing over from St Armand's ey amongst a flotilla of boats is one of the most beautiful scenes in Florida, comparable to that of the MacArthur Causeway in Miami.

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