Sarasota’s bayfront will be an iconic, public destination that welcomes the diversity of Sarasota, enhances our status as a cultural capital and serves as a venue for multi-generational, inter-neighborhood, broad-based enjoyment of our bayfront
Bayfront Vision & Guiding Principles
The bayfront’s identity as a cultural, arts and educational destination will be strengthened, anchored by some of the region’s most important institutions and rooted in Sarasota’s diverse cultural legacy.
Welcoming, attractive, publicly accessible, safe, fun and family-friendly open space celebrating the bayfront’s natural heritage will be developed along the bayfront for future generations. Views of the Bay will be enhanced.
Outdoor cultural programming, aquatic and onshore recreational programming, educational programming, urban amenities, plentiful shade, adequate lighting and alternatives to surface parking will support the active and passive usage of the bayfront throughout the day and evening and in all seasons.
Greatly improved connectivity among the bayfront, adjacent neighborhoods and the wider region is necessary to achieve our aspirations. Improved connectivity will be accomplished via safe, convenient pedestrian, bicycle, and water transit connections to the north, south, east and across the Bay. Convenient automobile access to the site should be accommodated with the smallest practicable footprint.
Ecological, economic and financial sustainability are fundamental to the long-term success of Sarasota’s bayfront and critical to the realization of our aspirations. Achieving a sustainable future for the bayfront will require continuous cooperation among the public, private and nonprofit sectors.
What sparked the Sarasota Bayfront redevelopment process?
In 2013, The City of Sarasota was beginning to reexamine the 2007 Cultural District Master Plan that encompasses the 42-acres which make up the Bayfront property. It includes the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, The Sarasota Lawn Bowling Club, Sarasota Orchestra, Garden Club, and many other stakeholder organizations. As that conversation progressed, leaders in the community realized that the chances of success for a project like this were slim without deep community support. This is when Bayfront 20:20 was formed and when efforts began in earnest to try and coalesce community support around a plan to redevelop the Sarasota Bayfront.
What is Bayfront 20:20?
The questions you should really be asking is: “Who is Bayfront 20:20?”
In 2014 Bayfront 20:20 was established as a long-term initiative to envision a world class destination along the Sarasota Bayfront. Since then they have been working with more than 55 stakeholder organizations to outline a set of guiding principles for how the property should be developed, and what should go into the site itself.
The group is a public/private, community-based initiative whose purpose is to promote and benefit all of Sarasota County’s diverse communities, creating a legacy along the Bayfront in the heart of Sarasota that promotes a sustainable region for the next 50-100 years.
What is the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization (SBPO)?
The Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization, Inc. was formed as a nine-person board comprised of trusted and experienced citizen volunteers with a diverse set of competencies. The board was developed to establish a vibrant and sustainable master plan for the City of Sarasota-owned 42-acre site and to propose an ongoing improvement plan for the site. The SBPO is organized as a 501(c)(3) organization and operates in accordance with Florida’s Open Meeting & Open Records laws.
Who is HR&A?
HR&A Advisors is an industry-leading consulting firm providing services in economic development, real estate and public policy. The firm has guided hundreds of clients in transforming infrastructure, economic development and real estate concepts into actionable plans that guide the creation of community-strengthening assets.
What is a master plan?
A master plan, also called a comprehensive plan, provides a long-range vision for the environment of a community. It guides the appropriate use of lands within a municipality in order to protect the public health and safety and to promote general welfare.
What is the purpose of the proposed Master Plan?
The master plan will set forth a detailed strategy to realize the sustainable redevelopment of the Bayfront in accordance with the vision and implementation principles established by the community and ratified by the City Commission in 2015.
Who will oversee the project during and after the planning process?
The city owns the 42-acre underlying land where the project is based. Currently, the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization, Inc. (SBPO) has been created to oversee the RFQ process. Once a comprehensive master plan has been developed, with governance and financial plans in place, the project will transition to a group to specifically manage the project through construction and operation.
Who is Sasaki?
Sasaki is the planning and development firm chosen to shape the comprehensive and phased master plan for the Sarasota Bayfront. Sasaki brings together the best of landscape architecture, planning, urban design, architecture, interior design, civil engineering, graphic design, place branding, and data science to shape the places in which we live.
What is the difference between Bayfront 20:20 and SBPO?
Since 2013, Bayfront 20:20 has spearheaded a broad community discussion regarding the future of the Bayfront, organizing 220 meetings ranging from six major community forums to informal discussions throughout the community. Bayfront 20:20 and its 55 member organizations continue to play an active role in building support for Bayfront redevelopment.
In October 2016, the City endorsed the establishment of the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization (SBPO) for the specific purpose of guiding the creation of a professional, comprehensive master plan that reflects the desires of the Sarasota community for a family friendly green space that also provides an exceptional home to Sarasota’s arts and cultural organizations.
The SBPO builds on the foundation work completed by Bayfront 20:20 in establishing the vision and guiding principles desired by the Sarasota community for the development of the Bayfront site. Once the Bayfront master plan has been completed and approved by the City, the SBPO’s mandate will be complete and the organization will sunset.
How do I join the board of SBPO?
All board positions have been filled. Members will serve through 2018.
How do I join the board of Bayfront 20:20?
Bayfront 20:20 is not a designated non-profit. As such, there is no board of directors, only a governance committee.
What can I do as a member of the community?
You can get more involved and stay up to date with the project by filling out the form on this page and joining our online community. You can also check out more engagement opportunities here.
What can I do as a local community organization?
We encourage Sarasota’s community organizations to partner with the SBPO and Bayfront 20:20 to promote awareness of the project in the community and build support for the Bayfront redevelopment. You can also check out more engagement opportunities here.
Why redevelop the Sarasota Bayfront?
The purpose is to create a destination site that not only is attractive and inviting to the county but serves as a legacy along the Sarasota Bayfront. We plan to do that by enhancing and protecting the 42-acres while creating a world-renowned, integrated destination. The space will also provide the community with year round cultural and educational heritage, outdoor programming, connectivity and sustainability.
Three years of productive conversations with Sarasota’s diverse citizens have led to unprecedented consensus regarding the future of the Bayfront, as articulated in the six implementation principles established by the community and ratified by the City Commision. Transitions in the status of adjacent parcels, combined with a stronger economy, also make this a particularly opportune moment to work toward a coherent and transformative vision for the broader Bayfront.
Can I get involved as a contractor?
The needs of the project and, subsequently, the need for local contractors have yet to be defined. As the master plan takes shape, clearly defined needs will be requested through news organizations and local media.
How long will it take?
The Sarasota Bayfront Redevelopment process will happen over a period of years as part of a phased development. A finalized time-line is not determined at this time, however, we are looking for ways to activate the property in a number of ways before the entire process has taken place.
Am I being taxed for this?
No. There are zero costs to taxpayers through this planning phase of the project. Part of the role of the selected master planning firm will be to identify ways that the ultimate project can be funded.
How much is a project of this scale estimated to cost?
The master planning process will produce detailed cost estimates for all recommended site improvements.
When can I expect to enjoy The Bay?
The Sarasota Bayfront is open to all during the planning process, and will be activated in a number of ways through the entire phased development. After the master plan is outlined we will have a better idea of a construction timeline for the entire property.
Other Bayfront Resources
Please note that the Sarasota Underground has no official affiliation with Sasaki, the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization, Bayfront 20:20, or the City of Sarasota. We are a simply a community driven media startup who’s excited about the redevelopment process which is happening in our backyard.
We’ll use video storytelling and our proprietary social publishing tools to connect you intimately with the entire redevelopment process over the course of its life cycle.