SRQ Magazine | BRANDSTORY: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, October 2019

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Left: Jean Goldstein Welcome Center and Lily Pond Garden. Below right: Koi pond.

As Marie Selby Botanical Gardens engages in a visionary ten-year, three-phase Master Site Plan, sharing the positive cultural, environmental and preservational impacts of the next evolution of this treasured cultural institution has never been more significant. “A TREE IS A SEED THAT NEVER GAVE UP ON ITS DREAM TO FLOURISH.” — Matshona Dhliwayo

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SINCE TAKING THE HELM more than four years ago and moving to Sarasota from previous posts at the New York Botanical Garden and Guggenheim Museum in New York City, it’s been my pleasure to work with the Sarasota community to realize the magnificent potential of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. With your support, we’ve transformed Selby Gardens into a debt-free Living MuseumSM that offers more exhibits and programs for the City’s residents and visitors to enjoy. And now, our transformation is set to continue with a Master Site Plan that will preserve our past, protect the world’s best scientificallydocumented collection of orchids, and sustain our future. The Master Site Plan process began two and a half years ago and it was clear that we needed to move forward urgently when Hurricane Irma threatened our precious collections and land. From the beginning, our team has taken care to involve the community in our planning process. While Selby Gardens is a privately owned nonprofit, we knew that asking for neighborhood input on the plan was of utmost importance. To this end, we’ve held 60 community meetings, and as a result, we’ve incorporated more than $2 million worth of improvements into the plan. Changes include traffic improvements, reductions in the size and scale of buildings, improved public access, and noise mitigation. We also included a list of proffers — promises that become part of the code related to our zoning. These range from transforming the external walls of the Sky Garden parking structure into Green Living Walls to installing plantings at the cityowned pocket park adjacent to our property. I am confident that this plan will provide a tremendous improvement to Selby Gardens’ infrastructure and, in turn, the community. It is my hope that you’ll take some time to learn about the benefits of this plan, and my team and I are happy to answer any questions you have, knowing that your support is critical for our success. JENNIFER O. ROMINIECKI PRESIDENT & CEO, SELBY GARDENS

E XP L O R I NG TH E PLAN SINCE 2017, THE LEADERSHIP AT SELBY GARDENS HAS PARTICIPATED deeply with its surrounding neighbors and other Sarasota citizens, hosting more than 60 meetings and workshops, listening to the input from neighborhoods and developing key components of the plan to be responsive to feedback from community stakeholders. Selby Gardens is commi ed to presenting the facts of the Master Site Plan in a transparent manner, thoughtfully addressing concerns and thoroughly articulating the opportunity to strengthen its mission to build on its preeminent position as the world’s only botanical garden focused on epiphytes. As a direct result of these conversations, Selby Gardens has invested more than $2 million in improvements to the Master Site Plan. In realizing the Master Site Plan, Selby Gardens will expand on the legacy of Marie Selby and her family by increasing accessibility to the gardens, piloting innovative educational, cultural and research programs on the 15-acre campus and protecting and preserving historical and botanical treasures. Selby Gardens is on track to become an international model for the latest green building technology by being one of the first to earn the Certified Living Community PETAL Certification reflecting the summit of energy related aspiration and a ainment. Solar energy, roo op gardens, stormwater management systems that return clean water to Sarasota Bay and resilience standards up to a Category 5 hurricane position Selby Gardens to be the world’s first certified Net Positive Energy botanical garden complex, Net Positive Energy Living Community and Net Positive Energy restaurant. By consolidating the parking into a single sustainable envelope, the Master Site Plan increases the square footage of garden space by 50% to allow for space to build a state-of-the-art botanical library as well as house and properly preserve, expand and digitize the world’s most extensive scientifically documented collection of orchids and bromeliads, advancing educational programming and improving historical structures currently vulnerable to climate change. The Master Plan also enhances public access by improving and maintaining a City-owned pocket park and a multi-use recreational trail, welcoming thousands of visitors who can not currently be accommodated and ensuring the longevity of the living museum’s historic structures for generations to come. Selby Gardens will remain focused on the significant and long-term benefits that will be realized once the Master Site Plan is fully implemented.

CARING FOR THE TREES An International Society of Arboriculture-certified arborist inspected all 315 trees and palms located on the east side of Palm Avenue, where much of the expansion of the Selby Gardens campus will occur. In keeping with the findings of the inspection, Selby Gardens will be relocating some trees and removing others.Trees that were found to have structural defects will be removed as a safety precaution. No historically significant trees or species of trees, such as the beloved Bunya Bunya tree, are intended to be removed. For every tree that is removed, Selby Gardens plans to replant a new mature, large specimen tree.


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For more information about Selby Gardens, visit

INVESTING IN NOISE MITIGATION During the neighborhood engagement process, concerns regarding noise levels emerged as an area of conversation. Selby Gardens has made a commitment to invest in, and implement, technological solutions to reduce noise coming from the events hosted on its campus by the end of 2019. They have already prohibited live bands outdoors after 5pm, with the exception of the annual Orchid Ball and four remaining events already booked with live bands through April 2020. Additionally, fireworks are now prohibited at any Selby Gardens event. The noise mitigation improvements also include permanent sound meters and an integrated sound system that will monitor and limit the overall volume of noise automatically. Additionally, no outdoor amplified music will be permitted east of Palm Avenue (this includes the new Sky Garden restaurant). Full buyouts of the Sky Garden restaurant will be limited to no more than five occasions per year and Selby Gardens will continue to only hold events in their current on-site event locations.

THE BUNYA BUNYA TREE STANDS THE TALLEST In programming the Sky Garden structure at the corner of Orange Ave. and Mound St., the Master Site Plan gives thoughtful consideration to several goals: to accommodate a growing visitor base, to transform under-utilized land currently relegated to surface parking into more meaningful purposes and to cultivate earned revenue through a new restaurant fueled by an edible rooftop garden—all significant to Selby Gardens’ capacity for long-term sustainability. The Sky Garden parking structure and restaurant will be five stories tall with the majority (approximately 76% of the total footprint) at 53 feet tall and a portion of the restaurant roof (approximately 19% of the total footprint) at 69 feet and 6 inches high. The 20,000-square-foot solar panel array, which will provide more than the expected power needed for the entirety of Phase One, will be at 65 feet, 6 inches and will cover 82% of the parking and restaurant. The top of the elevator shaft is 83 feet, 6 inches, representing only 0.3% of the total height of the Sky Garden. The entire structure is shorter than the State Champion Bunya Bunya tree nearby. Above: The Steinwachs Family Plant Research Center Houses the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Herbarium and Laboratory and Nathalie McCulloch Research Library. Le : The Childrens’ Rainforest and an orchid specimen.


EXPANDING PUBLIC ACCESS TO THE PROPERTY The plan proposes nearly 50,000 square feet of Selby Gardens’ private property be made accessible to the public —a significant increase over what is available today. Of this, 13,354 feet will be walkable area, including an Oak Oval Parklet and the arrival court, 8,928 square feet will be a public sidewalk easement along Orange Avenue, and the remaining 3,502 square feet will be part of an improved Multi-Use Recreational Trail (MURT). The MURT will be located within a 20 foot dedicated pedestrian access easement and will be continuous along the property frontage on Orange Ave. and Mound St. (US 41) and will tie into the existing Bayfront MURT at the north end of the property where Selby Gardens plans to work with the city to improve the area by providing amenities such as bicycle racks and plantings. Meanwhile. the extent of the MURT along its property will be enhanced with landscaping consistent with Selby Gardens’ world class botanical gardens. Access to the gardens and venues located on the west side of Palm Avenue will continue to require admission.

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There will continue to be two entry and exit points for visitors to Selby Gardens, with entry and exit from southbound US 41 directly into the Sky Garden, housing the parking facility, and ingress and egress from Orange Avenue. Based on the City of Sarasota’s traffic studies, Selby Gardens is estimated to account for approximately 3% of the traffic on Orange Avenue. The expanded visitor amenities are expected to increase that figure to 3.8%. Although this 0.8% change in traffic volume isn’t expected to be noticeable, the plan includes numerous improvements funded by Selby Gardens to improve traffic flow for everyone on Orange Avenue. Dedicated turn lanes will be placed on Selby Gardens’ property and traffic engineers will improve signal timing to lower wait times at the intersection—increasing the number of cars that can go through the intersection by 20%. Additionally, exiting visitors will be prohibited from turning southbound on Orange Avenue to significantly reduce potential cutthrough traffic for communities to the south.

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Le : Palm Promenade Preserves Existing Historic Augusta Block. Right: Interior of the Jean Goldstein Welcome Center.

B E N E F I T S TO O U R C O M M U NI TY Currently, Phase One of the Master Site Plan involves environmental and economical benefits including growing the walkable garden space by 50 percent within the footprint, codifying and designating its privately- owned 15-acre property as a botanical garden in perpetuity—protecting it from future high-density development all the while safeguarding and showcasing the world’s best scientifically documented collection of orchids and bromeliads in a new state-of-the-art plant research center. Selby Gardens will serve as an international model for green building technology worldwide and return clean water to Sarasota Bay through a major storm water management system and a 20,000 square foot solar array atop the Sky Garden powering the entirety of Phase One of the project. Phases Two and Three include new greenhouses, a new education pavilion and the restoration of Payne Mansion. Preservation efforts will ensure the historic imprints of these buildings are more resilient to hazardous wind and

weather conditions. Selby Gardens will also preserve the historic Selby House and Augusta Block along Palm Avenue. Beyond the sustainable implementations, recreationally and fundamentally, the Plan calls for the significant addition of free public access through the creation of the 12-foot wide Multi Use Recreational Trail (MURT) and waterfront park space around the perimeter of its property, while also offering more diverse opportunities for paid visitors to engage with the interior grounds. Traffic conditions to its site, and for surrounding public areas, will be improved to accommodate Selby Gardens’ growing visitor base. Between the Sky Garden restaurant, visitor parking structure and safegaurding world-class collections, the Plan will also diversify revenue streams for the abiding survival of the institution, and generate more than $78 million of economic impact for our region—supporting nearly 3,000 jobs, with hiring priority given to city residents.

MA ST E R P L A N F U ND I NG The great news for tax-payers is that Selby Gardens plans to fund the Master Site Plan improvements and enhancements to benefit our city primarily with underwriting from the private sector. The first phase of the project is estimated to cost $42.5 million— $35 million of which has already been raised from supporters of Selby Gardens who want to invest in this cultural institution’s far-reaching contributions to the community. Selby Gardens has also received a $500,000 appropriation from the State of Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity.

If you would like to engage in conversation regarding our plans for the future, we invite you to contact Selby Gardens at 900 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota, Florida | 941-366-5731 | | @selbygardens


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