A vacant lot in South Manatee County may be transformed into what developers are calling an “upscale waterfront community” with condominiums, a private yacht club and marina.
On 12.4 acres on U.S. 41 to the south of Anna Maria Oyster Bar, the proposed development, which would be called Blu Harbor, calls for four condominium buildings with up to seven stories and 212 units as well as a private yacht club and marina with up to 132 boat slips.
“The anticipated vision for Blu Harbor is of a gated waterfront community with lush landscaping and island-inspired architecture, as well as an array of amenities including a private yacht club with pool and fitness center, a boardwalk, fire pit and walking trails,” a news release states. “The most unique aspect of the neighborhood will be its dual freshwater and saltwater marinas that offer quick boating access to Sarasota Bay.”
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Blu Harbor, which is being proposed by Sarasota Bay Harbor LLC, could be the first “ground-up development” submitted under Manatee County’s recently adopted Land Development Code amendments for six urban corridors, according to the county’s planning staff. But as of Thursday afternoon, Nicole Knapp, planning section manager, said they have yet to receive the application as “it has to go through a completeness review first if they submitted it today.”
Richard Saba of Sarasota is listed as the registered agent with Sarasota Bay Harbor LLC, according to Florida Department of State documents.
The county has said the urban corridor amendments for U.S. 41, 15th Street East, 53rd Avenue/State Road 70, Cortez Road, Manatee Avenue and First Street would encourage redevelopment along the tired, urban areas.
“It’s been an exciting process and being part of the new urban corridor plan has certainly been a good opportunity for us to start that process and revitalize the surrounding area,” said Linda Gross, spokeswoman for Sarasota Bay Harbor LLC.
Sarasota Bay Harbor LLC has been working on Blu Harbor for about a year, Gross said, adding that what is being presented fits with the urban corridor plan.
“We just filed our plan today,” she said Thursday. “We hope that this will be our final process and we will be able to move on to the next steps.”
For the vacant land, which fronts Bowlees Creek and is adjacent to Hawks Harbor, there is already an existing county-approved development plan, but the development team is “looking to modify that plan with a design that will be more attractive to the buyer and a reduction in number of units,” the news release states.
Blu Harbor could spur the revitalization of the U.S. 41 corridor in that area, Gross said.
“Typically what happens in a redevelopment area the first project or two to start, it just creates excitement for renewing and refurbishing and making things nicer,” she said. “That’s just the psychology of people and business owners.”