Good-bye, G.WIZ. Hello, What?
The City of Sarasota’s eviction of the long-shuttered children’s science museum G.WIZ leaves an important bayfront property empty. What should happen there next?
“It’s a fabulous city asset that should be bringing in great revenue. I propose the city do a call for ideas. Knowing this community, there would be a thousand.” —Former Mayor Mollie Cardamone
“Lots of developers would love that site. The city owns so much bayfront property, and while this piece is near the Van Wezel, it’s not contiguous to it. [If they sell] they need to make sure the timing is right and they’re achieving the highest dollar.” —Commercial real estate broker John Harshman
“It would be great if we could reopen a children’s exploration museum, because people did like having that and it was so easy to get to. Anything we have for families is always a positive.” —Visit Sarasota County President Virginia Haley
“It was done by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, one of the most famous firms in America. It’s a world-scale building. It needs to be protected and preserved and whoever is using the building needs to realize its full potential.” —Architect Carl Abbott
“People are going to tell you to tear it down and build an 18-story building. We tear down too many things in Sarasota. We’re tearing down our heart. Mote Marine should move their aquarium there.” —Downtown Sarasota Alliance chairman Tony Souza
The old Sarasota High building, which first welcomed students in 1927, was designed in the popular Collegiate-Gothic style by architect M. Leo Elliott and praised upon opening as “one of the most modern and up-to-date schools in the entire South” by the Sarasota Herald. Vacated in the late 1990s, it will soon find new life as home of the Sarasota Museum of Art.
“Just say thank you, and go away.”
—Florida Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, responding to a request from CEO Kathryn Shea of Sarasota’s Florida Center for Early Childhood to have this year’s $380,000 grant become a recurring item for future years.
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