Local Resorts Make Condé Nast Traveler’s 2019 List

top resortsThree local resorts have been honored by Condé Nast Traveler readers as part of the magazine’s readers’ choice list of the top 30 resorts in Florida.

The Zota Beach Resort, Ritz-Carlton Sarasota and The Resort at Longboat Key Club all made the magazine’s 2019 list released this week. Condé Nast Traveler readers voted their favorite Florida resorts outside of the Keys and the Orlando area to make the rankings.

The Zota Beach Resort at 4711 Gulf of Mexico Drive in Longboat Key snagged the list’s 15th spot. The hotel, formerly known as the the Longboat Key Hilton Beachfront Resort, underwent renovations and added a new 84-room tower in 2018.

The name “Zota” was unveiled in 2015, and at the time owner Ocean Properties explained the name change like this:

“Zota is believed to be a native word meaning ‘blue waters.’ The word ‘zara’ may be a Spanish reference to Sahara-like sands, and as the name of the area evolved over time, Longboat Key and the surrounding area became known as ‘Zara Zota,’” or “Sahara by the blue waters.”

“It is an honor to receive this recognition from Condé Nast Traveler readers. Our team is proud of this recognition and hope to continue exceeding expectations every day,” Roy Padgett, general manager of Zota Beach Resort, said in an emailed statement. “We are incredibly thankful for our guests and want to ensure a memorable experience happens with every visit.”

Also on the list is the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota at No. 18. The Ritz, a luxury hotel in downtown Sarasota overlooking the bay, has 266 guest rooms, a private beach on Lido Key, a spa, a golf club, about 60,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, a 12,000-square-foot ballroom (the largest in Sarasota) and two restaurants — Jack Dusty and Ridley’s Porch.

The Resort at Longboat Key Club came in at No. 20. The resort, just north of St. Armands Circle at 220 Sands Point Road, has 218 guest rooms and suites, a spa, on-site dining, tennis and golf.

The No. 1 resort on the Condé Nast List is the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa.

Other nearby resorts on the list are:

Gasparilla Inn & Club in Boca Grande (No. 3)

the Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina in Fort Myers (No. 4)

Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach (No. 8)

The Don CeSar in St. Pete Beach (No. 9)

LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort in Naples (No. 14)

The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club (No. 19)

Sarasota Herald-Tribune October 9, 2019

Retirement Options – What’s Your Strategy?

Recently Recognized by TopRetirments.com as one of the best places to retire in the U.S.  Sarasota, FL.
Some consider this thriving city midway down the Gulf Coast to be the cultural capital of Florida, after Miami. Sarasota has a great downtown with many interesting neighborhoods. An impressive array of cultural facilities is available in Sarasota. Barrier islands like Siesta offer great beaches and developments where retirees can put their feet up.

Retirement Strategy
One of the most important aspects of retirement planning is making housing plans. The reality is that you need a place to live in retirement and there are a lot of different options. Furthermore, even if you decide to just keep the status quo and age in place, there are a lot of factors to consider.

The home is often a retiree’s largest asset, with the median wealth in homes for a 65-year-old couple at $192,552, according to the U.S. Census data. This represents about two-thirds of the median retiree’s assets. Furthermore, the home comes with a cost, which is often the largest expense for retirees at nearly $20,000 a year. So let’s look at 10 different retirement housing options, ranging from aging in place all the way through nursing home care at the end of life.

Aging in place
What is it: Roughly 83% of retiree homeowners want to stay in their current home for as long as possible.

Pro: The homeowner gets to keep consistency in their life. They know their house, understand the costs associated with it, have an emotional attachment to it, and know the surrounding area. In many cases this can be the most enjoyable and stress-free way to live in retirement.

Con: Often retirees have outgrown their current homes. Perhaps they raised a few kids and have a lot of extra maintenance, rooms and costs associated with keeping up the house. While it might work early in retirement, it could become a burden as they age. The current home also might not be friendly for aging in place. The home could have too many stairs, not a lot of senior amenities, and be far away from senior services like health care.

Home sharing
What is it: For some homeowners, the desire to age in place is there, but the finances just don’t make sense, especially if the person is single. So one option is to take on a roommate. Home sharing is mostly engaged in by women in retirement, with over 4 million senior women sharing a home with at least two other women. There are home-sharing services that help pair up homeowners with potential roommates, both from a financial and compatibility standpoint.

Pro: Home sharing can be a great way for a homeowner to age in place, add companionship to their life, and improve their finances. The homeowner is able to charge rent and likely split utilities, which can add much-needed cash flow. Additionally, it allows the homeowner to have someone else live with them who is in a similar stage of life.

Con: Not everyone wants to share their home with a stranger or another person. Furthermore, the decision to bring someone into your home carries a bunch of risks. For one, you might not get along. Additionally, there can be a lot of headaches from renting a room if the renter is unable to meet their payments. It can be hard to evict a person, especially a senior.

What is it: When you are working, living close to work is important for many people. However, once you retire, that need is gone. All of a sudden, location desires change. Additionally, the house you were living in might no longer fit your needs, so relocating to a better fit can make sense.

Pro: Relocating can help free up home equity and reduce expenses if the homeowner downsizes. It is also possible to move to an area with a lower cost of living or to a state that has lower taxes. Additionally, a benefit of relocating in retirement can be to move closer to family or to improve one’s quality of life by moving to warmer weather or closer to recreational activities.

Con: Relocating means getting used to a new area and home. Moving always has costs associated with it also, whether it is hiring movers, closing costs or just travel costs. Lastly, if the decision to relocate eventually does not work, it is very hard to undo.

What is it: If you are already renting this would be the status quo. However, for homeowners, one option is to sell the home and rent. In some cases, you can engage in a sale-leaseback agreement and sell your current home and continue to rent it back. In other cases, you can sell and move to a new rental location.

Pro: By selling and renting, you can free up home equity for other needs and possibly reduce your expenses. Renting also provides more flexibility in that you can move more freely than if you owned. Additionally, renting can take some of the home upkeep and maintenance off the table. This can be very valuable to seniors as they age. While it might have been enjoyable to mow the lawn and take care of the property at an earlier age, as one ages it can become difficult and expensive to hire out, so renting can be a way of controlling the costs of living.

Con: One of the biggest downsides of renting is just that most homeowners don’t want to do it. A survey of retirement age homeowners found that only 5% wanted to sell their home and rent. For many Americans owning their home is part of the American dream, so renting just doesn’t fit their vision of a successful retirement, even if it is the best financial outcome for them.

Village concept
What is it: The Beacon Community near Boston is often credited as being the first official “village model,” but communities taking care of seniors together have been around forever. The village model is about allowing seniors to age in place in their homes but with the support they need. In many cases, the village model is set up similar to a homeowners association where dues are paid into the “village” or “community,” which in turns provides services like transportation, events and some basic care.

Pro: The village model can help reduce costs as seniors share services and costs with others needing similar assistance. By allowing seniors to age in place for longer, they can avoid having to move into more expensive senior housing like assisted living facilities before they need to.

Con: While there are a few hundred village models in the country, that is not a lot of options. For many seniors there is no village model option in their area. Additionally, services are limited, so the retiree might still need to move as their needs for services grows. Furthermore, there is a cost associated with the village model, so that could impact cash flow.

Age-restricted (active adult) communities
What is it: Generally in the United States, you cannot discriminate based on age, gender or race when it comes to housing options because of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. However, The Housing For Older Persons Act of 1995 allows for communities to restrict housing options to older individuals as long as certain parameters are followed. Essentially, there are two forms of age-restricted housing options. The first requires that at least 80% of the occupied units have at least one person who is 55 or older living in the home. The other type is a bit more restrictive as it requires all residents to be at least age 62, including both spouses.

Pro: One of the biggest benefits is companionship. Seniors decide to live near and around those going through a similar part of their life and retirement. The communities often provide a variety of services, clubhouses and recreational activities.

Con: There can be additional costs associated with living in such communities, so it is not always the cheapest housing option. Furthermore, with a 62-and-over community, adult children cannot move in if they don’t meet the age requirement. Additionally, for spouses with large age gaps, they can be prohibitive also.

Continuing care retirement communities
What is it: Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) offer a continuum of care throughout retirement, often starting with independent living. Most of these communities require the senior to move in when they are in good health and can live independently. Over time, the senior can stay in the same community but receive different levels of care and senior housing, ranging from assisted living to long-term care to end-of-life care.

Pro: CCRCs allow a senior to age in place in the same community but receive services and long-term care as their needs change. This is also a way to control and, in some cases, prepay your long-term care costs. The communities also often provide food, transportation and recreational activities.

Con: The biggest concern with CCRCs is whether the entity will be able to fulfill its promises over time. CCRCs are typically for-profit businesses that can run out of money and go out of business. Additionally, many require down payments in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. So, if the entity goes bankrupt, seniors could lose these down payments.

Assisted living
What is it: Assisted living offers a combination of housing and care services. Typically when someone moves into an assisted living facility they need help with some activities of daily living and are in the early stages of needing long-term care services. However, the person can still live mostly independently.

Pro: For many, assisted living facilities offer the care required to maintain a standard of living desired by the senior. They could need some help with bathing, dressing, mobility or cooking.

Con: Cost. According to 2018 numbers in Genworth’s Cost of Care Study, the average assisted living cost is roughly $48,000 a year. Furthermore, Genworth predicts that this cost will balloon to roughly $86,000 a year by 2038. Additionally, it can be hard to choose the right facility. Plan ahead to determine how you will pay for assisted living and the type of facility and care that you want.

Nursing home
What is it: Nursing homes provide housing and full-time care for individuals needing significant levels of long-term assistance. Nursing home care is less about making a housing decision and more about receiving the level of care you need.

Pro: Care can be significant and help the person live a better lifestyle than they would if they tried to manage alone at home. Additionally, nursing homes can provide skilled care services that might be difficult for family members to provide or expensive to hire out for at home.

Con: Nursing home quality ranges significantly, and so does cost. Furthermore, most people do not look forward to or choose to move into a nursing home, but instead, it is typically driven out of necessity. According to Genworth, a private room in 2018 cost over $100,000 a year on average. Plans for how to fund your care should start well before retirement.

What is it: Charity housing can mean a few different things. First, there are charities and religious organizations that provide free or reduced-cost housing options for low-income seniors. Another form of charitable housing can come from family members. Many will take in relatives to help them out.

Pro: Charity is going to be in many cases the cheapest form of retiree housing. When it comes to family members taking in a senior, it can also be a great way to spend time with family.

Con: Most people do not want to rely on family members or charities for their housing or other needs. The desire for most people is to live independently. However, living with family and using charitable housing is a viable option for millions.

FloridaRealtors.org  June 12, 2019

Sarasota Bayfront Project Progress

City approves bayfront conservancy agreement

Sarasota BayfrontBay Park Conservancy plans to build out the bayfront project over the next 15 to 20 years.

In a unanimous vote, the City Commission approved an agreement outlining a partnership with a private group that will be responsible for leading a public park project on more than 50 acres of city-owned bayfront land.

City staff drafted the partnership agreement alongside The Bay Park Conservancy, a nonprofit formed specifically to oversee the implementation of the bayfront master plan the city approved in September. The Bay Park Conservancy’s leaders include members of the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization, the group responsible for producing the master plan after holding a series of community workshops.

Monday’s vote came after more than two hours of input from commissioners and the public. Questions at the meeting focused on aspects of the partnership concerning financial obligations, community representation, dispute resolution and transparency.

At the end of its discussion, the commission felt comfortable moving forward alongside The Bay Park Conservancy on the development of the waterfront around the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

“I think it’s a great start to a very fruitful partnership for not only the city, but the community,” Commissioner Hagen Brody said.

City Attorney Robert Fournier worked to revise the partnership agreement to address concerns raised at a March commission meeting. Fournier said his priorities included clearly outlining the city’s oversight authority and funding obligations should the commission adopt the agreement.

Conservancy Agreement

The agreement creates a phased approach for approving different elements of the project. The conservancy is responsible for creating an implementation plan for each phase that includes details on design and funding projections. The City Commission must approve an implementation plan before obtaining other development approvals and beginning construction on each phase.

The conservancy must provide an updated financial plan for the project on an annual basis. The conservancy will be responsible for negotiating leases and creating a naming rights policy for elements of the park project, but the commission must approve those documents before they go into effect.

The agreement includes an initial term of 15 years with two 15-year extensions. Either party would have the opportunity to terminate the agreement by providing written notice ahead of a scheduled extension.

The partnership agreement includes some provisions pertaining to the city’s financial commitments for the project. City responsibilities include providing “all basic infrastructure” and “municipal services and routine maintenance to the site.” The agreement lists examples of those responsibilities, including streets, sidewalks, utility service, waste collection and landscape maintenance. The city would also be responsible for constructing a parking garage on the site if one is incorporated into the project.

Project Cost Provision

Fournier said the agreement was structured so the city would only have to allocate additional money toward those causes as each phase of the project is approved. Still, he said he did not want to minimize the scale of the city’s commitment as it proceeds with a project expected to cost up to $200 million.

“We shouldn’t kid ourselves; this is a massive undertaking,” Fournier said. “… I don’t mean that in a pejorative way. It’s just factual.”

Commissioner Shelli Freeland Eddie asked about the financial information the conservancy planned on providing as it sought approval for each phase. Conservancy representatives said the implementation plans would include a breakdown of intended private and public funding sources.

After some members of the public suggested the city should not approve construction until the conservancy had collected the money necessary to proceed with a given phase, conservancy board member Jennifer Compton said the group would be careful about putting together its budgets.

“We’re not anticipating using funding that we’re not pretty confident is coming in,” Compton said.

Conservancy Board

Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch said she was concerned about the city’s inability to appoint voting members to the conservancy’s board. The agreement states the conservancy will include between 7 and 15 members, including three non-voting members. The city would appoint two non-voting members, and Sarasota County would appoint the third.

Although conservancy representatives said there would be other avenues for input, Ahearn-Koch advocated for the active, explicit inclusion of a broad cross-section of the community on the board.

“I think it’s essential the citizen’s voice is represented on the board, and a voting voice,” Ahearn-Koch said.


Despite those questions, all five commissioners voted to approve the partnership agreement, which will include some revisions Fournier drafted today ahead of the meeting. Throughout the discussion, conservancy officials attempted to assure the commission — and the community — the group would be acting in the public’s interest as it leads the development of a landmark civic destination.

“Going forward, this is only going to succeed if this is a true partnership,” Compton said.

Observer Sarasota April 14, 2019

Bayside Club Expands Sarasota’s Resort-Style Urban Living

Bayside ClubRosemary District’s Bayside Club has started preconstruction sales

The desire for the luxury lifestyle in an urban setting shows no signs of subsiding.

The fences are up, some construction materials lay on the ground and a pint-sized excavator sits nearby, but condominium sales are underway at The Bayside Club, the Rosemary District’s next big thing.

Across May Lane inside CitySide, the Bayside sales studio hums with inquiries and appointments. Following the success of their upscale CitySide apartment complex — the 228 residences are fully leased — Bayside’s developers aim to again produce an urban resort-style lifestyle.

Surprising Affordability
With The Mark and BLVD still under construction; selling well — but mostly more expensive, Bayside intends to carve out a niche with a boatload of amenities for owners of the 242 one- to three-bedroom residences. Bayside condos top out at around $900,000; The Mark prices start in the $800,000 range and BLVD’s units begin at $1.9 million.

During a Thursday interview inside the sales studio — a CitySide apartment that has been equipped with Bayfront’s upscale finishes — Josh Weiner, principal of the Longboat Group, Bayside’s developer, explained:

“We’ve built a program with the goal basically to let people spend more time doing the things they love and enjoy in this great Sarasota lifestyle and not have to worry about all the things that are not so fun to deal with.”  The concept is ultimately carefree living, he said. Signature Club Services fill most of the 32-page Baysider Handbook, the complex’s bible, Weiner said.

“What we really heard from folks is they really want that resort-style living but they don’t want to be out in the suburbs, they want to be downtown,” he said. “And we’re really fortunate that we’ve got this large piece of property right downtown where we can program and build in all these amenities.”

Bayside’s amenities cover more than 50,000 square feet. The rooftop terrace sports an enclosed kitchen and lounge. The pool and cabana courtyard offers lap lanes, volleyball area and grilling stations. The zen lanai and pavilion features an Asian garden-style courtyard. Fitness and yoga studios with a state-of-the-art gym host all manner of classes and wellness programs. The pet activity park offers play and water stations.

The club will be anchored by the May Lane Plaza, where streetside restaurants, a marketplace and shops will serve residents and visitors alike as well as a members-only club lounge and bar.

Shuttle transportation for residents is available — to the beach, golf course, airport, downtown, anywhere. “Folks don’t have to worry about driving and parking,” Weiner said.

A Saturday buffet breakfast is served, and the coffee bar offers espresso, lattes, fresh fruit and snacks. Fitness classes, social activities, card games, water volleyball, wine tasting, nature outings, dance classes, educational lectures, pickleball clinics, trivia contests — these are some of the things that fill a jam-packed monthly calendar.

The Bayside Club is designed to free residents from the worries and work of traditional home ownership. Got a leaky faucet? Call the front desk and the on-site maintenance team will make the repairs, Weiner said. “That’s very different from what you typically get in the condo work,” he said.

The “worry free maintenance” benefit includes special assessment assurance. Unlike regular condo homeowners associations able to levy special charges to repair and replace roofing, plumbing and electrical systems, not here. “We want to take the liability away from the residents for stuff that comes up and isn’t expected,” Weiner said.

There’s also a lifestyle concierge to help arrange pet care, housekeeping, dry-cleaning and more; universal internet and smart home capabilities. Each residence is wired to be a sophisticated “smart home” with residents able to control the thermostat, security system and even lighting from their phones. There is also a “Rent and Relax” program where condo owners can lease their units for minimum of four months, and Bayside will take care of advertising, background screening and collecting.

Build-out is anticipated in the spring 2021. Phased move-in for buyers starting in the fall of 2020 with the completion of phase one.

The developer is also providing a “Stay Close at CitySide” option. Buyers can reside at CitySide as units become available while their home is being constructed; complimentary access to “Adventure Vehicle” for kayak and paddleboard excursions; and access to all special events and activities to get to know future neighbors.

Herald-Tribune Jan 31, 2019

Acros Luxury Apartments Downtown Sarasota

Luxury ApartmentsThe five-story Arcos luxury apartments may still be something of a work in progress, but 40 percent of its 228 units have been leased and 30 percent are occupied, Phillip Smith said during a tour of the property.

“The big idea here is to create an urban oasis right in the middle of downtown where people can escape, feel at home but also feel separated from the city,” said the president of the Tampa-based developer, Framework Group LLC.

The entrance to the West Indies-styled community is at 320 Central Ave.

High demand for luxury

The apartment buildings and six-story parking garage on the 3-acre site surround a large, park-like setting with a resort-style pool, a fenced pet play area (with a fire hydrant), and a social pavilion with a fireplace and statue. That creates an oasis of privacy and peacefulness. “The outdoor space is something we spent a lot of time and energy on,” Smith said.

“Being in downtown Sarasota has been on our radar for a long, long time. I love the city, I love what’s happened here,” he said. “Residents have responded, they love this location.”

Arcos offers studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, each outfitted with extra-large windows, city and courtyard views, designer finishes and flooring, upgraded kitchens and baths, and lofty ceilings. Currently, units range from $1,375 to $3,000 per month, or about $2 per square foot, Smith said. The floor plans start with a compact 678-square-foot studio and end with a spacious 1,710-square-foot unit with three bedrooms.

The most popular choice to date is the one bedroom on an upper floor. The higher up, the higher the rent.

“This is definitely A-plus luxury rental living,” Smith said. “Most apartment developers have spent a lot of time and effort to really up the game when it comes to finishes and amenities and just the overall apartment living experience. It just isn’t what it used to be.”

National figures reflect that. Yardi Matrix, which compiles statistics and studies in support of the commercial apartment industry, found that in 2017 the development of luxury rental properties had risen to 79 percent of all apartment construction in the nation — up from 75 percent in 2015 and 50 percent in 2012.

The trend is continuing as 2018 is shaping up to be another banner year for high-end apartment construction. Nationally, about 87 percent of all large-scale apartment complexes completed in the first half of this year are high-end.

Yardi Matrix reports that the average occupancy rate in high-end rental properties was 95.8 percent as of the end of 2015.

Downtown Sarasota and the Rosemary District don’t lack for upscale apartments, including Elan Rosemary, One Palm, The DeSota, Bold Lofts and CitySide, to name a few.

Luxury ApartmentsArcos amenities, art

The complex’s central indoor gathering spot has a game room with billiards and a poker/card table, a conversational seating area in the middle, and a television and fireplace on the other side. Down a hallway, there’s shared workspace: a conference room with a television for presentations, couches for laptop work, high-top tables for groups and several private cell phone rooms for privacy.

“We trying to offer as many different work areas as we can,” Smith said.

The other end of the main floor holds more amenities: a fully equipped fitness center outfitted with the latest workout trend — thick “battle ropes” anchored to a wall — and manicure, pedicure and massage rooms as well as a “quiet” room for meditation.

Framework Group, which carries a diverse portfolio of large-scale multi-family projects, and its co-developer, Forge Capital Partners, a commercial real estate investment and management company also based in Tampa, will hold a private grand-opening celebration of Arcos on Nov. 8.

That event will include the unveiling of a sculpture by Daniel Arsham, who has created works for Calvin Klein and Louis Vuitton and was described by Smith as “a phenomenally successful, world famous artist.”

“The work is like a piece of fabric rolling over the form of the figure, but the figure has been removed,” said Arsham, describing the sculpture. “Almost as if it were a trace of a moment.”

His piece — and an on-site art gallery called GAZE Modern — pay homage to the Rosemary District’s art-centric background. The gallery will be curated by Tim Jaeger, a graduate of Ringling College of Art & Design and now a painting instructor and the campus and community engagement manager for the school. GAZE will promote emerging artists from Sarasota and Florida.

The gallery’s opening reception, “Color + Contrast,” features the ceramic sculptures of Taylor Robenalt and Polly Johnson and will be held from 5-8 p.m Saturday.

“We wanted to be authentic and thorough in the brand’s connection to the arts,” Smith said. “Arcos’ location in the Rosemary District’s active art community allows us to embrace modern art while offering living spaces unlike anything Sarasota has ever seen.”

Herald Tribune November 2, 2018

20th Anniversary of The Sarasota Film Festival 2018 Lineup

Hollywood comes to town with the 2018 Sarasota Film Festival.

The Sarasota Film Festival has unveiled its 2018 lineup, which will include Eric Stoltz’s coming-of-age comedy “Class Rank” as the opening-night film. In addition, Oscar-nominated documentarian Rory Kennedy’s “Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow” will serve as the closing night film.

The festival, celebrating its 20th anniversary, also will honor Steve Guttenberg and Virginia Madsen with career achievement awards during the closing weekend.

“We are very excited to bookend the festival with two unique and groundbreaking films from two brilliant and creative directors,” said Mark Famiglio, chairman and president of the Sarasota Film Festival. “It is also an honor to recognize the contributions of Steve Guttenberg and Virginia Madsen to the film industry and celebrate their work from over the years.”

“Class Rank” will screen on April 13 at the Sarasota Opera House. The film revolves around two teenagers (Olivia Holt, Skyler Gisondo) who prepare for life after high school, teaming up to achieve their goals and make their dreams a reality. Kristin Chenoweth and Bruce Dern co-star. Director Stoltz, whose credits include “Mask,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Madam Secretary”, will be in attendance along with producer Sandy Stern.

Kennedy, whose “Last Days in Vietnam” was nominated for best feature documentary at the 2015 Academy Awards, also will be on hand for her film’s premiere on April 21 at the Sarasota Opera House. The film chronicles NASA’s accomplishments and its vital role in America’s future as the space agency celebrates its 60th anniversary.

Guttenberg will be honored for starring in more than 60 films across an array of genres, including “Diner,” “Cocoon,” the “Police Academy” movies and “Three Men and a Baby.” Guttenberg co-stars in “Chasing the Blues” — a comedy-drama about the search for a rare but cursed blues record — which will screen at the festival.

For her part, Madsen will receive a career achievement award for her Oscar-nominated role in Alexander Payne’s Sideways as well as her work in such films as “The Rainmaker,” “Ghosts of Mississippi,” “Joy” and TV’s “Designated Survivor.” The actress co-stars in the drama “1985″ — about a young man’s fears of coming out to his family in the early days of the AIDS crisis — which also will screen at the festival.

Centerpiece films include the Sundance coming-of-age tale “Eighth Grade,” directed by comedian Bo Burnham, who will attend the screening.

The Mister Rogers and Elvis Presley documentaries “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and “The King” will have spotlight screenings, as will film festival darlings such as “The Rider,” “Lean on Pete” and “Hearts Beat Loud.”

The documentary competition roster features “Generation Wealth,” a reflection on modern society and wealth by “The Queen of Versailles” filmmaker Lauren Greenfield. Documentaries screening out of competition include “RBG,” about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and “Bisbee ’17″ by Robert Greene, who previously directed the film “Kate Plays Christine” about Sarasota television reporter Christine Chubbuck.

Narrative films screening out of competition include Paul Schrader’sFirst Reformed,” Claire Denis’Let the Sunshine In” and Lucrecia Martel’sZama,” all of which earned great acclaim touring the film festival circuit, and Sundance entries such as “American Animals” and “Come Sunday.”

Many of these films fall under five Sarasota Film Festival “focuses”: Sports in Cinema, Women’s Comedic Voices, Redefining Manhood, Musings on Musicians, and Environment, Science and Sustainability.

“In honor of our 20th anniversary, we have programmed a lineup that celebrates the past, present, and future of the Sarasota Film Festival that is sure to delight our dedicated and passionate audiences,” the festival’s chairman and president Mark Famiglio said in a statement. “The selection includes a diverse group of narratives and voices that will create engaging conversations about today’s most important topics.”

Hollywood Reporter – March 16, 2018, Sarasota Herald Tribune – March 21, 2018

Warhol Exhibit at Selby Gardens

Warhol Exhibit Selby Gardens

Conservatory Selby Gardens

Warhol Exhibit at Selby Gardens

Warhol: Flowers in the Factory show, opens Feb. 11 and runs through June 30, 2018.

The exhibit, which highlights Warhol’s connection to nature (perhaps unexpected for many fans of the Pop art icon, who know him from soup cans and celebrities), carries on the theme of living art that has also been a focus of previous shows at the gardens, including one devoted to Marc Chagall. This one (curated by Carol Ockman) first takes viewers into the Conservatory, where the horticultural team has assembled a huge wall/grid of bromeliads echoing Warhol’s frequent repetition of imagery. You can actually take time to sit and enjoy that and other plant exhibits on a white couch in a sunken living room replica nearby.

On the grounds of the gardens, the Selby staff has also assembled a collection of epiphytic plants adorning a white frame backed by colored squares, while another frame, surrounded by large-scale hibiscus flowers created to complement Warhol’s own hibiscus images, bears the Warhol quote, “Land really is the best art.”

And inside the Museum of Botany and the Arts reside not only four colorful Warhol silkscreens of flowers, dating from the late 1960s and early 1970s (courtesy of Williams College Museum of Art), but poinsettia images and little-seen photographs of Warhol outdoors (albeit in a jacket and tie), on skis and even rowing a boat.

In addition, throughout the run of the show the “Food Factory,” in front of the Payne Mansion on the property, will serve items such as “Andy’s Pastrami on Rye” and a “Warhol Grilled Cheese,” along with salads, grain bowls and more.  For more information visit selby.org

Sarasota Magazine February 8, 2018

The Grande – Now Slated to be First Quay Development

The Grande, will be the first to rise out of the long-vacant Quay Sarasota development in the heart of Sarasota’s bayfront.

Quay Sarasota - Downtown Sarasota Real EstateThe 73-unit, 18-story, property will be placed on the southwest corner of the site and will include a 9,500-square-foot restaurant overlooking what will eventually become a central plaza for the mixed-use project.

The tower will sit just across from the Ritz-Carlton, and the two will be connected by an elevated pedestrian bridge, according to plans filed with the city in September.

This piece of the Quay Sarasota project will be led by The Kolter Group, the West Palm Beach developers behind the recently completed Westin hotel and still-under-construction Vue condominium next door to the Quay site.

But it will be just a fraction of the estimated $1 billion project plan created by developer GreenPointe Communities. That plan received final approval from the City Commission late last year after years of working with city planners to craft a formal development agreement.

The total Quay Sarasota agreement allows for up to 695 condominiums, 175 hotel rooms, 189,050 square feet of retail space and nearly 39,000 square feet of office space in buildings up to 18 stories high.

Almost every aspect of the overall project is timed and outlined through the development agreement in a series of steps and nine so-called “blocks” where individual pieces of the long-term project will be reviewed and considered at public hearings as each is individually designed.

The Grande will be the first, located on “Block 6” in the southwest corner of the site, and as such is required to be built concurrently with a series of improvements there, according to the plans.

In addition to the condos and restaurant, the city has required the restoration of the historic Belle Haven Hotel at the center of the property be among the first things completed. That requires a separate building application that has yet to be submitted but is being coordinated with Clifford Smith, a city planner and historic preservation expert, according to the memos accompanying the plans submitted by Stantec Consulting Services.

The agreement also requires the initial construction include a portion of the city’s bayfront multi-use trail, which will connect the legs of the bike and pedestrian trail that run north and south along the water on neighboring properties.

The largest requirement is that the construction of the planned roundabout at Fruitville Road and U.S. 41 accompany the construction of The Grande.

The roundabout will replace the traffic signal at that intersection and will serve as a primary entrance for the new condos and Quay Sarasota project.

Design and permitting with the Florida Department of Transportation is underway and its construction will occur simultaneously with the new building’s, according to the application to the city.

Kolter originally announced The Grande last year as an 86-unit condo on the Ritz-Carlton property itself, as opposed to its new location on the Quay Property just across the canal between the two.

Attempts to reach top GreenPointe officials about the move were unsuccessful last week.

Prices under the previous plan included three- and four-bedroom units, including penthouses that would range from $2 million to more than $5 million.

Hurricane Irma Recovery & Information

In the wake of disasters like Hurricane Irma, there are always unscrupulous people looking to defraud victims, donors and volunteers. There are also many legitimate charitable organizations and volunteer opportunities. It is important to choose wisely. I will be happy to provide you with a carefully researched list of those you can trust.

  • 185 MPH Lifetime Max Winds – 2nd Strongest Max Winds of All Time in an Atlantic Hurricane.
  • Strongest Storm on Record in the Atlantic Outside of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
  • Category 5 Hurricane for 3 Consecutive Days – The Most Consecutive Days in the Satellite Era.
  • 8 ½ Days as a Major Hurricane – The 2nd Most in the Satellite Era.
  • First Category 5 Hurricane to Make Landfall in the United States since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
I hope that your family, friends and neighbors made it through Irma safely, and that your home and possessions were not significantly damaged. Please see below for additional information to assist as you recover from this terrible storm. I am happy to provide any assistance you may need. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Hurricane Irma

Island Life – Sarasota’s Barrier Islands

“Live the life you have imagined.” — Henry David Thoreau

Island LifeSwaying palms, swaying hammocks, miles of white sand, calm azure waters and the warm Gulf breezes of Island Life. The escape you’re yearning for in our “tech-focused” plugged-in and over-scheduled culture and you never have to leave the country.

Florida’s Southwest Gulf Coast is the perfect location to lose yourself in an exotic paradise. Just off the mainland, Sarasota’s heralded barrier islands deliver relaxation and rejuvenation, along with some pretty great recreation when you’re ready.

Allow abundant Gulf coastline to chart your course. Whether you’re exploring via car or boat, stunning sunsets and abundant natural beauty await.

From Anna Maria, just north of Sarasota, this timeless tropical escape offers Florida “the way we remember it.” Unspoiled and artsy, where the preferred method of transportation is bicycle, you can stroll, fish, dine and relax in blissful serenity.

Travel southward from Anna Maria to the manicured island of Longboat Key. A renowned location for its golf and Gulf, this 11-mile barrier island is a premier resort destination for visitors and residents. Year-round recreation and an upscale tropical community provide exceptional tennis, boating, golf and delectable dining options. Home to the Longboat Key Club’s superior amenities and service, along with pristine Gulf beaches, Longboat Key is the place to escape to luxury.

Just south of Longboat Key, Lido Key offers a quiet respite, minutes from the entertainment of St. Armands circle and downtown Sarasota.  The cluster of Lido, Bird Key and St. Armands provide everything you could desire in relaxation, dining, entertainment, rich history and natural beauty.

The ultimate in Beach Chic awaits on Siesta Key. Home to the #1 Siesta Key Beach, this original artist colony’s casual Island appeal still attracts artists and those seeking a great coastal retreat. Known for its 99% quartz sand, there’s an intrinsic attraction among Sarasota’s holistic community; citing the qualities of the beach sand to improve physical and emotional well-being.

Further south, coveted privacy awaits on Casey Key.  Offering the allure of private island living and Old Florida charm, here you’ll find no high rises or street lights. A quiet respite, this is the place to seriously unplug from everything; watch the dolphin and manatee, take a stroll and embrace the sunset.