Property along 301 just south of Ringling.
County Commission Green Lights Parcel Purchase
A purchase of 1.2 acres of land by Payne Park in hopes of attracting Boston Red Sox spring training garnered a 4-0 vote of support from Sarasota County commissioners Tuesday, but not before questions arose about property value.
The property, at Washington Boulevard and Laurel Street, was purchased for $4,788,080. John Herrli, county land acquisition manager, said an appraiser placed fair market value at $4,470,000.
The price was high because seven parcels were being assembled.
The purchase is expected to close in September, when the Sarasota City Commission per a deal approved Aug. 18 must reimburse costs.
A contract won support before a written appraisal report was completed. Herrli said the deal had to move forward to meet demands of current landowners.“A lot of times when we do property, we do due diligence afterward,” Herrli said.
Sarasota City Commissioner Kelly Kirschner said the property, along with Ed Smith Stadium, is being presented to the Red Sox as a spring training venue. The fact that the land purchase will be reimbursed assuaged concerns of county commissioners, but they said proper and transparent dealings must happen as efforts to attract baseball go ahead.
“This is just one hurdle we’ve crossed,” said County Commissioner Paul Mercier. “I do not know what’s going on and that’s not helping with decisions that have to be made down the road.”