Software entrepreneur Jesse Biter has acquired the final remaining parcel needed to bring his vision of downtown apartments to reality.

A company owned by Biter bought the property at 1401 Second St. for $850,000 from CRA Holding LLC, a Sarasota company managed by Thomas A. Wood. Biter used a $450,000 mortgage from seller to help finance the deal, court records show.

The 5,484-square-foot building and its 0.24-acre lot become Biter’s second acquisition at the downtown corner, where he plans to build as many 200 apartments that offer units from $1,000 to $2,000 per month.

Biter bought the first property, the 13,881-square-foot United Way building, for $2.8 million last summer.

He said environmental concerns on the second site stalled the deal, after old technology from the nearby dry-cleaner leaked chemicals into the soil.

“We didn’t want to close until those issues we’re resolved and insurance took care of it,” Biter said Wednesday. “That was the holdup.”

Biter has not filed any formal plans with the city.

But the auto software developer announced his intention last year to develop a new apartment complex on the site that would target young professionals who want to live downtown.

Biter’s plan dovetails with Sarasota’s Downtown Master Plan of 2001, which advocated increased residences and entertainment to create a more pedestrian-friendly and urban experience.

As long as he breaks ground by 2015, Biter can still take advantage of increased residential density that was granted in April 2007 to developer Leonard Garner, who previously attempted to build a 10-story apartment complex with the same number of units on the site.

Biter said he is just waiting on financing approvals for $32 million, with plans to go vertical later this year. The overall cost of the project is estimated at $46 million.

“It’s frustrating for me being one who likes to act on things quickly,” Biter said of the financing process. “I’m a car guy, so I’m used to loans being immediate. I asked around with other developers, and they all said this is normal right now.”

Leave a Comment