Tuesday, November 14, 2006

DeMarcay - Round One

The battle of the development lawyers began last night as the DeMarcay proposal was attacked by lawyers for the yet to be finished 1350 Main project and defended by lawyers from the DeMarcay side.

The 1350 Main construction "techniques" have caused severe disruption on Palm, with both parking and access. The thought of continuing this disruption for another couple years has the Palm merchants very unhappy as they contemplate losing their businesses. The Sarasota Herald Tribune reported:
The city commissioners delayed any decision Monday about giving increased density for the project. The merchants will have to wait until a meeting next week to sound off, and some of them plan to.

"It's a bad neighbor," said Brian J. O'Connell, owner of Hodgell Gallery on Palm Avenue, after the meeting. "It's greed."

O'Connell said that merchants on Palm have lost 40 percent of their business in the past year because of construction on the street.
There is disagreement among the development lawyers concerning compatibility of the project. According to the SHT article on the meeting consultants and lawyers for 1350 Main contend that the DeMarcay is incompatible with the rest of Palm Avenue. They say that it will cause traffic problems and be dangerous to pedestrians.
"It is too much building on too small a lot," said attorney Robert Lincoln, who represents the developers of 1350 Main. Lincoln defended the 1350 Main project to commissioners.

Developers of The DeMarcay were seeking a density increase to make the project work. The project, built on the site of the former DeMarcay Hotel, will be a "sensitive contributor to the renaissance of Palm Avenue," said attorney Ronald Shapo.
This project has been in the spotlight for a while now. Issues of construction methods, disruption of merchant activity on Palm, the parking system for the DeMarcay and its wffect on Palm traffic flow and the effect of the DeMarcay towering over the adjacent 1350 Main building are all under consideration.

The debate will continue next Tuesday at 6 PM in City Hall.

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