Of interest was the tally for what Simon is now telling the city he will require in order to move forward with Pineapple Square.
He wants the city to give him:
- The State Street parking lot, recently valued at $8,000,000
- Approximately $9,000,000 for municipal parking
- The vacated block of State St between Pineapple and Palm that has a value of $2,250,000 (using the same sq ft value as the State St lot).
Thus the Pineapple Square project will require the city to give them public property and cash worth $19, 250,000. The city will receive 350 parking spots in return. These parking spots will be conveniently located in the middle of Pineapple Square.
Each of these parking spots will cost city residents $55,000.
We can remember back in the good old days (a year ago) when parking places in downtown condo developments (aka public/private partnerships) cost about $15,000 each and people questioned why the cost was so high.
We cannot fathom how such a deal as this can be justified. Residents were recently astonished when commissioners voted to purchase the Orange Dolphin property. This deal is five times that price and gives a huge parking advantage to Pineapple Square - at the expense of every other retail shopping area in the city. Do we need to give away almost $20M so we can have upscale shopping downtown? What will the Irish American Partnership ask the city to do for them at the Quay?
Meanwhile, what about the real city needs such as affordable housing (both the Palm Ave lot and the State St lot could be significant contributors to affordable housing downtown)? What about the Newtown redevelopment project? What about public housing in Sarasota? All of these needs are priorities. Downtown Sarasota seems to be developing at a rapid pace with little help from the residents - in fact most residents think the pace is too fast.
Why would we consider giving Pineapple Square land and dollars when the needs elsewhere are so great?