Bath and Racquet Club Sold to Developer Mark Lucas



The 13-acre Bath and Racquet Club at 2170 Robinhood Street in Sarasota has been sold for $5.5 million to Mark Lukas. Should he secure the support of the city commission, Lucas plans to renovate the fitness facility, built in 1969, and incorporate it as an amenity in a 207-home, mixed-use development. The sale closed May 27.

Lucas initially sought a comprehensive plan amendment from the city to allow for additional height and density to offset the costly club renovation. While the city commission recognized the importance of the Bath & Racquet Club in a 3-2 vote in favor of the plan on Feb. 4th, the amendment required a 4-1 super-majority. Lucas plans to proceed with an alternative development plan that will no longer require a comprehensive plan amendment. The new plan will still support the club with a mixed-use residential and commercial development, which will ultimately be more compatible with the surrounding residential neighborhood.

“We’ve been working on this for four years and spent over $2 million covering club payroll, improvements to the facilities, updating the fitness area and hiring consultants,” said Lucas. “Our vision hasn’t changed. We’re so excited to be able to take responsibility for this historic Sarasota property and move forward with renovations and redevelopment. We had hoped we would secure the support from all city commissioners. That said, we believe that we may have a solution that will better address the remaining city commissioners’ concerns, as well as the surrounding neighborhood. We will be teaming up with the well-awarded architecture firm Halflants + Pichette to help develop the vision for the property.”

The property, located just east of South Tamiami Trail and Glengary Street, currently includes a 40,000-square-foot fitness facility with a junior Olympic swimming pool, 29 tennis courts and a full-service restaurant. The redevelopment will “keep the fabric of the club,” said Lucas, “restoring it as an amenity as well as an asset to the community.”

Former owner Scott Olsen, the stepson of original owner Ken Wagstaff, had overseen the club since 1995 but has been unable to keep up with maintenance in recent years. “This club has been a part of Sarasota since 1969. I didn’t want it destroyed,” said Olsen. “I’m happy that the new owners are going to maintain its integrity and give it new life.”

Lucas has engaged Kevin Robbins and Mitch Helmuth of Harry E. Robbins Associates Inc. as real estate consultants for the development team. Robbins and Helmuth are Sarasota natives. Robbins grew up at the club and has felt this area is ripe for development for years. “The Bath and Racquet is an important part of the Sarasota community,” he said. “This property is strategically located in the heart of Sarasota. The opportunity for a true live, work, play community in this area in Sarasota is exciting. We are honored to be a part of the development team, as the sales and leasing agent, and to be able to work on a historic project.”

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