Sarasota planning a performing arts center for completion by 2028
Florida — The city of Sarasota is teaming up with the Van Wezel Foundation to initiate a performing arts center. The city and foundation have selected a task force to recruit and select an architect to design the facility as part of The Bay, a 53-acre bayfront site downtown.
The search for an architect is funded by a $1 million appropriation from the state of Florida. The Foundation works in harmony with the Bay Park Conservancy, the nonprofit group chartered by the city to develop and operate The Bay.
The Sarasota Performing Arts Center will include a 2,100-seat main hall; a 300-seat flexible performing space; and a total of 165,000 square feet of building utilizing inside and outside education, event, and rooftop spaces. The new facility won’t replace the 55-year-old Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall but will be built on the opposite corner of the current parking lot, which will also be converted into green space during the final phase of The Bay redevelopment.
The Architecture Review Committee is tasked with drafting a request for qualifications (RFQ), which will be posted for 30 days. From that list, it will invite 15 to 20 requests for proposal (RFP) approximately 20 days later. The committee will then pare that list to five or six firms.
The first meeting of the committee will be October 31 and the selection process should take about six months. Construction on the facility is set to begin in 2026.