The new owner calls to build a "mouse place" on social media and says that work requires people to leave.
Long-time residents of the Hotel Ranola in central Sarasota were told to leave, as the new owner of the boutique hotel intends to renovate the property that was purchased in January.
EB Ranola Hotel LLC, registered with Baird Inc. of Sarasota, purchased three parcels in January, including the Ranola Hotel, for about $ 2.8 million, a Sarasota County record show. The purchase included the hotel, the condominium next to the 1727 Ringling Blvd. and the parking area just north of the Bamboo Lane hotel in 1734.
The hotel, built in 1926 as a hotel residence, has residential units on the third floor and hotel rooms on the first and second floors. Joy Briandi, a 10-year-old resident of the building, received a notice on March 27 that informed her that she had been evicted from her old home.
"For various reasons, we have decided not to renew the lease on the aforementioned unit which you now occupy," reads the letter. He also says that tenants must allow management to show their units to potential tenants "at all reasonable times".
This was the first interaction that tenants had from the new owner since the building was purchased in January, Briandi said.
The building has had its problems, Briandi said. It is old, no central air conditioning and its kitchen has been leaking for five years. But for Briandi, the bottom line is that living there is much less expensive than it would be almost anywhere else in downtown Sarasota. He said all his neighbors, but one is single women, so for them, keeping housing costs down is a priority. He currently pays $ 895 a month for rent.
Briandi, who is around 40, said most people plan to rent for a few years to save a house or apartment. But since the rent in Sarasota is so expensive, she hasn't been able to set aside the money to do the same.
"How do you save for a down payment? My credit score is 800. I have zero debts, I should be able to pay a condominium in Sarasota, Florida," he said. "You can't find affordable housing downtown, I'm going to increase my rent by another $ 450 a month so I can stay in the area. It's crazy."
Eric Baird, founder and CEO of Baird Inc., did not return messages to his company. However, he wrote on a post on Briandi's Facebook page that tenants on the third floor must be evicted to be able to carry out the renovations. He said they are on monthly leases.
"We have to do this to replace the roof and repair the damage caused by the water in each of these rooms, we will completely refurbish those rooms at the same time, obviously no one can live in those rooms while this is going on," he said. . Baird has written on Facebook that the units have problems like roof leaks, mold and rats.
Baird wrote that the third floor of the Hotel Ranola "should also be a hotel room". The next building has 10 units for long term rentals, he said. Briandi said that tenants saw large increases in their rent.
"You might feel good paying $ 800 a month for a place that loses, moldy, mice, but I'm not interested in owning and managing one, I wish you luck finding you elsewhere you'll be happy," Baird wrote on Facebook.
Baird is also one of the owners of the downtown Sarasota shopping mall, with Jesse Biter and David Chessler. Plans for the redevelopment of the square were exposed at the conference of the International Council of Shopping Centers in Orlando in August.
Sarasota is currently facing a shortage of affordable housing options, caused by rising housing costs and the efforts of state legislators to discourage the affordable housing program. These factors have forced many to move further and further away from where they work.
The municipal and provincial commissions have proposed solutions to try to solve this problem, including the approval of 750-square-foot or less multi-family housing that, according to some, will be less expensive to build at the county level and cities and county will both advance with recommendations from affordable accommodation tips on how to deal with the problem. But many challenges continue to hinder.
William Russell, president and CEO of the Sarasota Housing Authority, told Chris Wille of the Herald-Tribune in an interview that it can be difficult to build affordable housing because construction costs are the same as they would be if they built another type of housing development.
"Even if you have some money and you have to go out and buy land, this makes the whole development of affordable housing really difficult, with the same building costs," Russell said. "If you have to pay the market rate for the land, and of course you have to pay the market rate for the building at this time, which is very high. Permits, tax charges, add all those things and it's not convenient if there are no subsidies the business: it is impossible to pay all those costs and then charge a cheap rent on the back end ".
To help solve this problem, Russell said his group recommended that profits from the sale of some surplus land in Sarasota should be allocated to an affordable housing fund and that a certain percentage of surplus land should not be sold to be reserved specifically for the development of affordable housing.
According to the Apartment List, which records rental costs in the United States, the average rent for a studio apartment in March in the city of Sarasota was $ 1.004. The average cost for a bedroom was $ 1,080, and for two-bedroom apartments, the average rent was $ 1,387 in March. These figures are more or less stable compared to the previous year, but they are above state averages in all three categories. The average studio rent in March in Florida was $ 831, the average of a bedroom in the state was $ 965 and its two-bedroom average was $ 1.203.
In March 2018, a studio apartment in Sarasota cost on average $ 1.004, a cost of a bedroom $ 1.079 and a cost of two bedrooms $ 1.387 a month.
In Bradenton, the average rent for a studio apartment in March was $ 871, one-bedroom rent was $ 937 and the two-bedroom rental was $ 1,203. The previous year these figures were $ 853, $ 918 and $ 1,179 respectively.
Andrea Capek, who lived in the Hotel Ranola for four years, said he was one of the new residents. Capek, who like Briandi is also a single woman, said he doesn't want to leave. He said he pays around $ 850 a month for his 400-square-foot studio.
"Even with the guests of the hotel entering and leaving, it is quiet, it was safe, I was more than comfortable here. No one leaves," he said.
– Herald-Tribune commercial agent Chris Wille contributed to this report.