Following a $7 million acquisition, Atlanta-based Carter aims to start construction next week on a downtown Sarasota project originally conceived by local entrepreneur Jesse Biter.

An Atlanta-based development firm, Carter, plans to begin construction next week on 180 apartments in downtown Sarasota, in a project that dates back at least three years.

Its 10-story rental building, with ground-floor retail space and two floors of parking, is slated for completion sometime in 2017.

“We consider it an interesting site, and the adjacency to the existing Whole Foods Market was a big driver for us,” said Jerome Hagley, a Carter executive vice president. “And Sarasota has barriers to entry and that property, in particular, has some unique zoning.”

Hagley added that despite more than 1,200 new apartments planned in the nearby Rosemary District just north of downtown, Carter considers the rental market in Sarasota to be “underserved.”

“We saw substantial demand and virtually no new supply at present,” he said. “And we like a lot of what we see going on in Sarasota. There’s a tremendous amount of culture and the area has tremendous wealth.”

Local software entrepreneur Jesse Biter initially conceived the idea for this project, designed by Sarasota-based Hoyt Architects, in 2012. But Biter decided to bow out of the project, which was approved by Sarasota’s City Commission last November, to allow Carter to proceed. Biter couldn’t be reached for comment.

Hagley declined to comment on rental rates for the new building, but initial plans called for the apartments to rent for around $1,000 to $2,000 per month.

Carter is among the largest real estate developers in the Southeast, with nearly $1 billion in assets built over the past decade, according to its website.

In addition to downtown Sarasota, the company also is planning a 23-story residential tower with ground-floor retail space in downtown Tampa. That project, at 915 N. Franklin Ave., is expected to contain a total of 362 apartments. The property for years had been the site of a W.T. Grant “five-and-dime” store.

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