March Boulevard Buzz

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By Rachel Brown Hackney

The 7-Eleven store stands vacant on Ocean Boulevard while new owners Jim Syprett and Jay Lancer search for the right tenant. Sarasota News Leader photo
The 7-Eleven store stands vacant on Ocean Boulevard while new owners Jim Syprett and Jay Lancer search for the right tenant. Sarasota News Leader photo
New owners of the 7-Eleven property looking for the right new tenant; discussions continuing on the future of the 162 Beach Road parcel; more details available about the grand opening of the renovated Siesta Beach Park; Easter Egg Hunt volunteers needed; the County Commission chair lets his sense of humor shine; and the Condo Council will meet again next week

Longtime Siesta Village property owners Jim Syprett and Jay Lancer of Sarasota have added a new parcel to their holdings: the 10,293-square-foot site where the 7-Eleven stood for about 15 years at 5232 Ocean Blvd.

The two paid $1.6 million for the property, closing on Jan. 19, according to records of the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office. The Southland Corp. in Dallas, Texas — the corporate home of 7-Eleven Food Stores — bought the parcel in November 1990, the tax records show. In a Feb. 3 telephone interview, Syprett told me he and Lancer have not reached a decision yet on what will take the place of the convenience store. “Basically, we are talking with a number of potential tenants,” Syprett added. “It’ll be something that is consistent with our other properties that we own.”Among those other properties are the Daiquiri Deck, the Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar, Siesta Key Oyster Bar and Gidget’s Coastal Provisions.

Gidget’s Coastal Provisions 5242 Ocean Blvd.
Gidget’s Coastal Provisions 5242 Ocean Blvd.

Gidget’s, which opened on March 24, 2014, stands on the former site of Napoli’s Italian Restaurant, which moved up the street to the Key Corners plaza.“It’s just a matter of finding the right tenant,” Syprett pointed out. Asked if they would consider opening another restaurant in the Village, he replied, “It would have to be so different than the Daiquiri Deck and the Siesta Key Oyster Bar.” Finally, he said, “It will be retail of some sort; it’s very difficult to predict.” Syprett also pointed out, “We’ve been there so long, [the Village is] like home to us, and you take care of your home.”Syprett and Lancer have been investing in Siesta Key properties since the early 1990s, Syprett told me.

He gives all the credit to Lancer — whom he says is very patient — for making this latest deal possible. “It was well over a year,” Syprett noted, between the start of the negotiations and the conclusion. While Syprett and Lancer are looking into possibilities for the site, its parking lot is proving quite useful.

Lisa Cece, the special district coordinator in the county’s Transportation and Real Estate departments who oversees Village maintenance for the county, noted after the Feb. 2 Siesta Key Village Association (SKVA) meeting that four vehicles were in front of the empty 7-Eleven store when she passed by it that morning. “We’ll take whatever [parking spaces] we can get,” she said with a laugh.

Help wanted

The Siesta Key Village Association held a meeting on Feb. 10, to begin planning for the 15th annual Easter Egg Hunt & Games, which it will host on Saturday, March 26, at Beach Access 5. As SKVA Treasurer Roz Hyman has pointed out, the event is so popular families already have begun registering their children for it. 
Each participating youngster — ages 1 to 6 — receives a stuffed animal and a goody bag “stuffed with prizes,” the SKVA website notes, offering a link to the sign-up sheet. 
“[We need to] get the ball rolling; get our eggs ordered,” SKVA President Wendall Jacobsen of Beach Bazaar told the members present for the organization’s Feb. 2 meeting. “Please join us; it’s fun,” Jacobsen said, adding that volunteers are certainly welcome. 
Volunteers will fill the eggs and goody bags for the event on Saturday March 26 at Beach Access 5. Anyone interested in helping with this event contact Roz at 941-284-4381.

And a little more on the light side

When Sarasota County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Mruczek offered his report during the February Siesta Key Village Association meeting, he said the cold weather last month “kind of slowed things down,” so officers were not as busy as usual for that time of year on the Key. No real crime trend had been observed, he continued. However, Mruczek explained that deputies recently investigated two reports about stolen vehicles. In one case, it turned out the female complainant had forgotten the color of her rental car. An officer found it four spots down from where she thought she had left it, Mruczek added, “with dust all over it.” A second incident apparently involved a trick one person was playing on another, he said.

Siesta Fiesta will continue

The Siesta Fiesta will continue in 2016 with a few changes.  Ocean Blvd. will not be closed to car traffic as was done in past years. The setup for vendors will mirror February’s Craft Fair, with booths lining the sidewalks.  This change is a result of complaints received from area businesses objecting to signs posted stating Ocean Blvd. was closed. The dates set for this year are April 9 & 10. 

Monthly Meetings

SKVA meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month at the Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar. Meetings begin at 8:30 a.m. anyone interested in learning more about Siesta Key Village is encouraged to attend. For more information visit their website:

Siesta Sand
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