November 15, 2022

The Sarasota Journal

Your community-based independent news source.

Mote to get short-term lease for aquarium site

SARASOTA –– With no discussion, Sarasota County commissioners approved on Tuesday a series of resolutions for Mote Marine’s plans to construct an aquarium at Nathan Benderson Park.

Chief among those resolutions was giving County Administrator Jonathan Lewis authority to execute a two-year short-term least with Mote by the end of the month for the 11-acre site along I-75.


Once that lease is executed, Mote will have 90 days to apply for the “…appropriate land use and zoning approvals necessary for Mote to own and develop the aquarium on the Property,” according to a county memo.

With the current COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic disrupting many activities, that schedule may be extended.

Mote plans to build a $130 million aquarium new site after years at City Island in the city of Sarasota. Mote has started a fund-raising effort to accumulate the funds needed for the project.

The county has already committed $20 million in tourist development tax funds toward the effort.

Mote hopes to begin construction later this year.

According to an omnibus agreement approved in January 2019, Mote will pay the county $100 per year under the short-term lease, with an ultimate sale price of $100 for the land.

Warren Richardson
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