by Andrew Warfield - Original article
The controversial proposed One Park condominium development in The Quay has been dealt a second defeat in as many weeks as 12th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Hunter Carroll on Monday ruled that Quay Venture LLC cannot convey the air rights above Quay Commons to Property Markets Group, operating in The Quay as Quay Blocks 1 and 9.
At its Oct. 12 meeting, the Sarasota Planning Board voted 3-1 to recommend the denial of PMG’s proposal to combine blocks 1 and 9 to build One Park on both blocks connected via a breezeway over Quay Commons.
In his 30-page ruling, Carroll wrote that air rights over Quay Commons, the primary street serving the 15-acre master development must, per the general development agreement between the city of Sarasota and Quay Venture, be conveyed to the master association.
“The Court’s rejection of Quay 1/9’s construction of the Master Declaration is based on a review of all provisions within that contract,” Carroll wrote. “There were no factual findings necessary for the Court to conclude that no provision within the master declaration suggests that Quay Venture at the time it recorded the master declaration had the intent not to commit the air rights more than 14 feet above the roadways to being common areas. The Court concludes that the master declaration plainly and unambiguously included the air rights above Quay Commons within the common areas.”
Anticipating Carroll might rule against One Park as proposed, PMG has been working on an alternate plan for separate buildings on the two blocks.
“Understanding the ruling from Judge Hunter Carroll could go in either direction, our development team has been working on designs for two buildings on blocks 1 and 9 at The Quay for months,” said PMG Founder and Managing partner Kevin Maloney. “When revealed, these iconic communities will underscore our commitment to redefining luxury living on the West Coast of Florida.”
PMG closed on blocks 1 and 9 on Sept. 29, acquiring the property from Quay Venture for $37 million.
In his five-point ruling, Carroll wrote:
- On Nov. 6, 2018, the Master Developer — Quay Venture, LLC — committed all property within The Quay to the provisions of the master declaration. In doing so, Quay Venture defined the common areas to include, among other things, the roadways. This commitment included all air rights above Quay Commons, not just the air rights to a limit of 14 feet above the road’s surface.
- The original Driveway A and Driveway B, now known as Quay Commons, was developed within the meaning of the master declaration by April 30, 2021. This vested in Block 6 Condominium Association Inc. and its unit owners various rights in the use of both Quay Commons and all its air rights.
- When Quay Venture and Quay 1 and 9 signed their original agreement on Sept. 13, 2021, for the purchase of Blocks 1 and 9 as well as the air rights above 14 feet over Quay Commons between Blocks 1 and 9, Quay Venture was already under a contractual obligation, as expressed in the master declaration, to convey Quay Commons, including all air rights — not just the air rights to a limit of 14 feet above the road’s surface — to the master association.
- Quay 1 and 9’s One Park development application improperly and impermissibly contemplates building units between Blocks 1 and 9 above Quay Commons. This cannot occur, as Quay Venture is obligated to convey both the road and all air rights above Quay Commons to the master association.
- Quay Venture’s efforts to redefine or withdraw the air rights exceeding 14 feet above Quay Common’s road surface is invalid and of no force and effect.
"I could not be happier with the findings of the Court," said attorney Morgan Bentley, who represented owners of Ritz-Carlton residences in oppositon to One Park. "The judge obviously gave a great deal of time and thought to his conclusions. I would also like to commend the owners at the Ritz-Carlton. They had to put up with a lot of pressure from this developer to get to this point and should rightfully enjoy the win."
Collectively known as Block 6, Ritz-Carlton residents challenged the efficacy of the plan, primarily over the air rights issue above 14 feet.
At 123 luxury condominiums, approximately 80 of which were pre-sold, One Park had been designed to plan over Quay Commons at a height above 20 feet over an activated breezeway. Now it’s back to the beginning for a two-building plan on blocks 1 and 9. With all other blocks in The Quay planned, the remaining entitlements PMG may build by right on its two blocks are 150 units.
The city will learn what PMG has in mind by the end of the year.
“Updated building plans will be released in 2023 and our team is looking forward to presenting the project to the city of Sarasota for administrative approval early in 2024,” said Maloney. “We will offer current One Park buyers the first opportunity to be part of our two new, iconic communities before sales open to the public.”