Pocket park/parking space at Oceane still not restored

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By Rachel Brown Hackney
SarasotaNewsLeader.com

In July, county staff assured SNL that, after the construction of Oceane on Ocean Boulevard was completed, a county pocket park/parking space next to the luxury condominium complex would have to be made available once more to the public.

The parking spot was popular with residents who liked to fish or just enjoy the view of Big Pass at the western end of Givens Street. A standard county Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department kiosk stood next to the spot, advising people of regulations for the county’s parks.

The construction crew members working for Gilbane Building Co. of Sarasota used the space for staging.

In late September, residents reported to SNL that, as the crew was finishing up its work on Oceane, trees and plantings were installed in the parking space. It appeared afterward to be just one more landscaping element of the project.

On Sept. 26, county Media Relations Officer Brianne Grant confirmed with county Planning and Development Services (PDS) Department staff that the developer would be “restoring the parking spot in the near future,” as provided for in county documents pertaining to the building of Oceane.

Apparently, however, Siesta residents and the developer — Crossgate Partners LLC, based in Suwanee, Ga. — had very different ideas about the meaning of the phrase “in the near future.”

After hearing again from residents that the restoration had yet to appear, SNL once more turned to county staff.

In a Nov. 12 email, Brianne Grant wrote SNL, “PDS confirmed that the work will have to be completed prior to final site certification which should happen in the next 8 to 10 weeks.”

That site certification is essential before residents can occupy the building, as SNL understands county regulations.

A Construction Checklist provided by Planning and Development Services lists a number of items that must be verified by staff as complete, including the landscape architect’s certification of a project and a sign-off on the county’s Right of Way Use Permit, before the Certificate of Occupancy will be issued.

In the meantime, SNL found during an online spot check in mid-November that two real estate firms — Michael Saunders & Co. and SaraSellsSarasota — were listing two of the six Oceane condos for sale. One condo was priced at $4,425,000; the other, at $3,999,000.

Additionally, as of mid-November — with the Certificate of Occupancy not having been issued by the county — the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office still lists the Oceane property owner as CG Oceane LLC. The company purchased the land for $4,785,000 in January 2017.

CG Oceane has the same address as Crossgate Partners.

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