Mote SEA vision - Courtesy image

$700 Million in Development Projects Expand Cultural Landscape in Sarasota

Posted on February 8, 2024

Downtown Sarasota’s enviable waterfront lifestyle is about to get even better with impressive expansion and new additions to the region’s arts, culture and entertainment venues.  Thank you for the exciting round up published by the Business Observer. Here’s a recap of what’s to come.

As featured in Business Observer, Written by Andrew Warfield
Read Full Article Here

Construction of the $132 million Mote SEA is on schedule for opening by the end of 2024.
From a $17 million community theater to an upwards of $275 million performing arts center, members of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce recently shared the details on nearly $700 million in cultural and scientific research development projects to the region.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

A $51 million expansion included a new parking structure called the Living Energy Access Facility, a new restaurant and gift shop, welcome center, research and office facilities and the conversion of the terminus of Palm Avenue from a street into a pedestrian walkway. The LEAF nearly doubled parking from 270 spaces to 450, and currently under installation is a solar array atop the structure that will make it the first net-positive energy botanical gardens in the world, gardens officials say.

people standing near Jean Goldstein Welcome Center

The Jean Goldstein Welcome Center and the Morganroth Family Living Energy Access Facility | Photo by Ian Swaby

The Bay

With the first of multiple phases of The Bay open for just over a year drawing 337,000 visitors, Phase 2 is underway including the south side the 10th Street boat launch, redevelopment and enhancements along Tamiami Trail including a rehab of Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, building a resilient shoreline along the bayfront and construction of the Sunset Pier.

Sarasota Performing Arts Foundation

Located within The Bay near Tamiami Trail at 10th Street, the Sarasota Performing Arts Foundation is located on the opposite corner of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The architecture firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop of Genoa, Italy, has been selected to design the new building. And like The Bay, construction of the SPAC is proposed to be equally funded by an equal public-private partnership.

The Sarasota Players

Formerly known as The Players Centre for Performing Arts, the city’s first cultural organization and community theater was founded in 1929. It is currently in negotiations with the city on its plans to renovate and expand Payne Park Auditorium for its new permanent home, a $17 million project intended to also accommodate several community performing arts organizations that need smaller venues.

Expanding the building to 24,000 square feet will allow for a main theater space with flexible seating for multiple configurations. It can also serve as event space. The Players has entered into a 10-year, renewable lease with the city, and The Players and The Stage at Payne Park are responsible for all improvement and expansion costs.

A conceptual plan for Payne Park Auditorium

A conceptual plan for Payne Park Auditorium shows expansions to the building in dark gray and 96 spaces of paved parking. | Courtesy image

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

With the new $132 million MOTE Science Education Aquarium taking ship shape next to Nathan Benderson Park, project is set to expand its science and research operations at its current location on City Island. At 110,000 square feet, the Mote SEA double its the size of the current aquarium. Its highly visible, more convenient location along Interstate 75, combined with its unique ark-shaped architecture, is expected to capture more visitors and better serve schools throughout the region. The Mote SEA remains on schedule, Crosby says, to open in winter 2024.

Situated amidst the picturesque waterfront downtown and mere moments from these exciting new additions to the entertainment scene, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sarasota Bay will offer 78 grand estate condominium residences. The Kolter Group’s visionary development team, led by CEO Bobby Julien, and the world’s finest hospitality team are coming together to create a truly exceptional Florida address. Kolter Urban and a global hospitality leader, The Ritz-Carlton, are creating a new pinnacle of luxury living. This exclusive harborside enclave promises not just residences but a bespoke lifestyle, where the legendary Ritz-Carlton service meets the allure of Sarasota’s vibrant cultural landscape. The collection of grand residences range from 3,500 to just under 6,000 sq. ft. of living area and are priced from $3.7 to over $12 million.

To preview the floorplans and learn more about the innovative amenities of this refined community, please visit or contact the sales team at 941.499.8704 to schedule a private appointment. The Sales Gallery is located in the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota hotel lobby.