Historic Charles Ringling Building in Sarasota sells for $2.1 million

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SARASOTA, Fla. – The Historic Charles Ringling Building – a nearly 100-year-old commercial property in the heart of downtown Sarasota that once included Charles Ringling’s offices – has sold for $2.1 million. The new acting owner, Civil Creative Agency, will restore the building to serve as an upscale music venue called SRQUS (pronounced “circus”).

Jag Grewal, CCIM, SIOR, and Amy MacDougall, CCIM, represented the seller, 1927 Ringling Blvd, LLC, in the transaction. Joe C. Hembree of Hembree & Associates represented the buyer.

The 11,720-square-foot property was built in 1926 and is located at 1927 Ringling Boulevard. Early tenants on the ground floor were Triangle Drug Store and the Clarence Saunders Grocery, while the second floor was used for Ringling’s and others’ offices and meeting rooms. Since the 1950s, the building has been occupied by restaurants and nightclubs. It has been vacant since January 2021, when Sarasota Sky Bar & Club closed.

“This building has amazing historic significance for the city of Sarasota,” said Grewal, partner at Ian Black Real Estate. “The new owners recognized how special this property is, and their team has the vision and talent to both restore it and seize an opportunity in Sarasota’s entertainment landscape.”

Civil Creative Agency, previously based in Atlanta but recently relocated to Sarasota, will work in partnership with Sarasota-based Bay Area Creative to restore, relaunch and manage the property as SRQUS, an upscale music venue and social club.

“This space will be a beautiful, world-class yet intimate music venue showcasing notable talent, with a focused mission on doing tangible good in the Sarasota community,” said Sam Tesh, CEO of Civil Creative Agency. “We intend on establishing this building as a prominent Sarasota icon once again.”

Tesh expects renovations to begin in May. Plans for the restored property include seating and standing capacity for between 300 and 500 people, depending on the configuration of the event; a new mezzanine level for VIP ticket holders; a speakeasy-type social club on the top floor; and restoring the cupola as an elevated design element.

“This venue will be a place of belonging, appreciation of the arts, and a hub of authentic community,” said Ryan Brinson, CEO of Bay Area Creative.

The spelling of the name SRQUS is a nod both to Sarasota and the community spirit of “US” that the owners plan to embrace.

“We intend on creating a community of people who love music and love to do good,” said Tesh, whose background in the music industry includes being signed as an artist by Columbia Records. “We fell in love with the Sarasota entertainment and arts district and feel we’re bringing a unique concept to this community.”

Architect Plunkett Raysich Architects, LLP and general contractor Willis Smith Construction have been engaged for the project.

SRQUS is expected to open in early 2023.

About Ian Black Real Estate
Ian Black Real Estate (IBRE) is a boutique commercial real estate brokerage firm located in Sarasota, Fla. The firm is one of the largest commercial brokerage firms in Southwest Florida and boasts a deep knowledge of the commercial real estate market in Sarasota and Manatee counties and the surrounding area. For more information, visit ian-black.com.

About SIOR
SIOR is the leading global professional office and industrial real estate organization that certifies commercial real estate service providers with the exclusive SIOR designation, based on achievement, knowledge, accountability and ethical standards. Only the industry’s top professionals qualify for SIOR. Today, there are more than 3,200 members in 685 cities and 36 countries. For more information, visit www.sior.com