New proposal emerges for Sarasota Orchestra home within city limits

Posted on: January 17, 2020

“There may be, after all, a place in the city for the Sarasota Orchestra, as a group of local landowners thinks it may have just the spot,” writes Timothy Fanning in Tuesday’s (1/14) Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL). “The new proposed location is an area with several properties bordered by Fruitville Road and North School Avenue, just east of U.S. 301. It is blocks from where orchestra leaders had wanted to build a concert hall in Payne Park, an idea that was rejected by the city last year.” Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin urged orchestra leaders “to consider the proposal seriously…. In a letter to the city last week, [orchestra President and CEO Joseph] McKenna said four factors are guiding the orchestra’s search for a new concert hall: ‘timeliness, artistic and educational integrity, philanthropic considerations, and business and economic vitality.’ The orchestra hopes to provide more specific information during the first quarter of 2020…. The parcels are also in an Opportunity Zone… ‘The semi-blighted district could be revitalized by such a potentially magnificent project,’ Barwin said…. Barwin also noted that thousands of potential orchestra patrons, as well as orchestra staff, would be living within walking distance or a short car ride of the potential venue.”