Bubil: Sarasota builder opts for dignity in design


When the Kolter Group of West Palm Beach paid $40 million for 2.6 acres at the corner of Gulf Stream Avenue and U.S. 41 in 2005, the Herald-Tribune’s real estate editor, in his Letter From Home column, advised Kolter to “build a significant, 21st-century piece of architecture, not some overdone piece of schlock.”

That insult was a reference to the Grande Sarasotan, a big Med Rev birthday cake of a building that was proposed for the site.

The editor/columnist stands by that insult.

Thankfully, Kolter, which was forced to shelve its project when the boom market went bust, has, in fact, erased the schlock factor from the project’s blueprints.Kolter is going ahead with construction of Vue Sarasota Bay, a 141-unit, 18-story luxury condo with architecture that safely can be described as contemporary.

The two- and three-bedroom residences are priced from the low $800,000s to more than $2 million, and range in size from 1,645 square feet to more than 2,625 square feet.

Also planned for the site is a 250-room high-end Westin Hotel. Together with the Hyatt Sarasota and the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, it will give downtown a formidable cluster of hotel and meeting space for small and midsized conventions.

But the condo is up first. The critics will judge its architecture, but it at least has pedigree.

Architects Don Wolfe and Igor Reyes of Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates, of Miami, were in town a week ago to show off their concept to guests at Michael Saunders & Co.’s sales gallery at 100 S. Washington Blvd., Sarasota. Saunders is handling sales.

NBWW has done a good number of highrises in the Miami market, where developers spend big dollars on designs that will capture attention in an ever-expanding skyline.

Wolfe and Reyes said they were excited to design a building in Sarasota, considering its heritage of midcentury modernism. Vue Sarasota Bay looks a good bit like the late architectural legend Paul Rudolph’s Milam House, built 55 years ago in Ponte Vedra Beach, near Jacksonville.

“We put on a show” to Kolter, said Wolfe. “I think we shocked them.”

“They let us express the ideas appropriately,” said Reyes. “We took our cues from Paul Rudolph’s architecture.”

“Sarasota is all about light, water and art,” said Wolfe. “We encouraged their appreciation of the value that design has for this particular site.”


Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: May 17, 2014
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