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White Sand & Sun: Sarasota's Longboat Key Club Plans Major Redo

Sarasota's Longboat Key Club and Resort is planning a major redevelopment if approved by the Longboat Key town commission. The improvements include a LEED-certified, five-star hotel with an additional 196 units, a redesigned golf course and clubhouse, a wellness center and meeting center.

Longboat Key Club spokesperson Katherine Songster says the club's redevelopment is vital to Longboat's longevity. "Forty percent of our visitors are repeat guests. Families who come back generation after generation for vacations, weddings and other major family events. And many of them end up buying property, So many of our residents originally came here for a business conference, brought their families back for vacation and then ended up buying a home. By that second or third visit, they fall in love with Longboat and end up buying property here."

Songster estimates 500 jobs will be created by the redevelopment project, which will cost $400 million to complete. She says the club is the largest employer on the island, and one of the highest in the Sarasota/Manatee area.

The redevelopment has caused some controversy among residents. The club made concessions in its original plan and hopes the new one will be approved at the town commission meeting on June 7, 2010. Fishkind & Associates was hired to analyze the project and its financial effect on the community. "The results were very revealing," says Songster.

According to a project brochure, the redeveloped property will generate $17 million over the next 30 years and increase foot traffic on the island, which will in turn increase tourism-related jobs. Construction is estimated to generate $6 million in revenue.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Katherine Songster, Longboat Key Club and Resort
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