Seaward Development, a Sarasota-based boutique property development firm, is currently under contract to purchase the Mira Mar building on Palm Avenue from the longtime property owner.
As current tenants in the building, Seaward Development is in the due diligence period of the purchase agreement. During due diligence, engineering inspections were ordered by the current property owner revealing that the building had gone through a number of substantial remodels, causing its rejection from the state of Florida for historical designation.
According to engineers, the 100-year-old wood frame building has drastically undersized foundations, badly corroded structural wood wall studs, extensive insect damage and wood rot, and other extensive damage. The Sarasota County Property Appraiser has assessed the building’s value at approximately $2 million and repairs needed exceed more than $22 million.
“We love the building just like the community does, but due to its declining state, renovation is not feasible, which is why we are asking for a demolition permit,” said DiPinto. “However, our goal is to bring the Miramar back to life so that the community can enjoy it for the next 100 years as a true legacy project.”
Future plans for the property include keeping its current zoning for a ten-story building with two floors of retail fronting Palm Avenue, and the addition of a residential component set back behind the commercial component as homage to the original look and design of the property when the Mira Mar Hotel stood tall in the early 1900s.
“Our plan is to work with historical preservation specialists and a local salvage firm to keep what we can and preserve the building’s unique legacy and charm, but also build a new and safe property for tenants, visitors and future residents,” said Matthew Leake, president of Seaward Development.
In 1983, The National Register of Historic Places rejected the property’s application for historical designation due to extensive renovations that destroyed many historic elements.
“Unfortunately, Mira Mar has now passed its useful life and a confluence of situations have led to the professional realization that repairs and restoration are not a fiscal option for the permanent sustained future,” said Dr. Mark Kauffman, current owner of the building. “If demolition is not allowed, we will allow leases to run out over next two years then close the building and fence it off, and allow it to decay, as we cannot afford the repairs anymore…it would be fiscally prudent and more sustaining to demo the building, and replace the 40-year-old replica, with a new replica. We respect history. We love history. As do the new buyers. The perfect storm has led to this situation and with public patience and understanding we will have the permanent beautiful solution.”