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Sarasota FL Office Space Guide

[Updated Jan 2020] A guide to executive suites and office space for rent in Sarasota as well as general information that may be useful if you are considering renting office space in Sarasota.

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History & Geography

Located on the southwestern coast of Florida, Sarasota is one of the state’s most popular tourist destinations. The city lies on the famous Florida Keys and includes Otter Key, Coon Key, St Armands Key, Lido Key and Bird Key. At one point the nearby Longboat Key was considered part of the city, however, this is not the case today. The area around Sarasota was first explored by Europeans in the 16th century. In 1513 a Spanish expedition landed at the nearby Charlotte Harbour. Soon the Sarasota Bay had attracted multiple fishing camps called ranchos. American and Cuban fishermen traded turtles and turtle eggs with Havana. The sheltered bay made a perfect base for this trade. During this time Florida was under the sway of the English, French and Spanish at different times. During the Spanish rule the Seminole Indians moved to the area, however, they were forced out in the 19th century. In 1819 the US acquired Florida permanently and built Fort Armistead on the Sarasota Bay. In the 1840s a large number of European settlers arrived in the area, attracted by the benign climate and the sea life in the bay. Among the prominent settler families in the area were the Whitakers, Webbs and Wyatts, who extensively settled the land around Sarasota. In the late 19th century more settlers flocked to the area, which was now being touted as a vacation destination and tropical paradise, though it was still badly underdeveloped. During the early part of the 20th century Sarasota underwent a development boom which saw local landowners extensively develop the area with resorts, golf courses and hotels. Among the developers were the famous Ringling brothers, known for their circuses. Sarasota experienced another development boom in the 1950s and continued to grow into the late 20th century. In 2008 however, the city experienced a damaging real estate crash which it is still struggling to emerge from.

Economy

In 2008 Sarasota’s economy crashed as a result of years of poorly financed mortgages and real estate speculation. Eventually, the crash would engulf the entire country, but Sarasota was one of the centres of the crash. After the crash properties were no longer worth the mortgages that were taken out on them, with disastrous results. Sarasota had a huge rate of foreclosures, which continues to this day. Unemployment in the city is 13 percent and many homes have devalued by as much as 60 percent. Currently, the per capita income for residents of the city is USD 23,197. The median income for a household in Sarasota stands at USD 34,077. Approximately 16 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Much of the economy in Sarasota is based on tourism. Many ‘snowbirds’ flock to the city during the winter months from colder places in the US and Canada. Many of these vacationers own property in the city which they only use for several months in the year. Cost of living is high Sarasota and many of those that move to the city are already independently wealthy.

Tourism & Culture

Sarasota, like many towns and city’s in Florida, has a thriving tourism industry. The city is particularly well known for its pristine golf courses. In particular, the Sara Bay course designed by the well-known golf architect Donald Ross. Another attraction of Sarasota is its plentiful sport fishing opportunities. In particular, Tarpon and Gar are always large draws for keen fishermen. Sarasota has a myriad of cultural attractions as well, including the Sarasota Ballet, opera, and theatre company. Every year Sarasota hosts the annual Sarasota Film Festival which is one of the largest in the state and shows independent films from around the world. The Sarasota Chalk Festival is also held every year and is one of the only street art festivals in the region. Also popular with tourists is the Mote Marine Laboratory and the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. The city also has a number of registered houses built in the 1920s lining the beach that has been well preserved and can be visited by the public. These luxurious mansions, built by developers in the boom of the 20s, delight visitors with their opulence from a bygone era. Sarasota has a thriving nightlife with a host of bars, restaurants and clubs, mostly in the downtown area of the city.

Transportation

Sarasota is served by the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport which is used by five airlines and serves over one million passengers every year. An hour north of Sarasota is the Tampa International Airport. Currently, there are extensive plans in place to build a transportation network in Sarasota consisting of light rail, commuter rail and a long distance bus service. Currently, the city has a bus service but is limited in other forms of public transport, lacking an Amtrak station.

Office space for rent in Sarasota FL

For the first time in two years, the office vacancy rate in Sarasota has fallen below 20 percent, a sign that the market is slowly recovering from the disastrous financial crisis which began in 2008. The rate is still nearly double what it was before the crash. In 2012 so far more than 140,000 square feet of office space has been filled, which is a notable improvement on the previous year. There are still no new development projects in the pipeline for obvious reasons, but analysts have predicted the vacancy rate to continue dropping, albeit at a slower rate than had been previously predicted.

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