Sarasota’s next big deal has broken ground.
A South Florida developer on Thursday kicked off construction of a $300 million luxury hotel and condominium project, weeks before the $315 million Mall at University Town Center is slated to open.
Kolter Group — which is also planning a 41-story condo tower in downtown St. Petersburg — broke ground on Westin Sarasota and VUE Sarasota Bay, which are at the corner of Gulfstream Boulevard and US 41 in downtown Sarasota.
Sarasota has started to shed its image as a seaside retirement village in recent years, rebranding itself as a cultural hub. The region’s tourism marketing arm, Visit Sarasota, has started promoting the area’s arts and culture scene, in addition to the traditional beaches-and-golf spin most of Florida offers.
The Westin will have 255 rooms in 18 stories along with 14,000 square feet of meeting space. It will include a rooftop pool with food service that overlooks the bay as well as standard Westin amenities: A full-service restaurant, a gym and Heavenly Spa. It’s slated to open in July 2016.
VUE, with 141 units, is expected to open shortly after the hotel in fall 2016. Condos are priced between $800,000 and $2 million.
“With commencement of VUE Sarasota Bay’s construction, we have converted our early reservations into formal contracts,” Ed Jahn, Kolter’s vice president of sales, said in a statement. “We formally launched the project in March, with sales to date exceeding all expectations.”