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Constructed in 1926, this historic three-story building was originally called the Broadway Apartments. It was designed by architect Dwight James Baum in Sarasota in the Mediterranean Revival style and had 20 apartments. Baum designed many other buildings in Sarasota including the El Vernona Hotel (which was demolished and replaced by the Sarasota Ritz Carleton hotel) and the Sarasota County Courthouse. Considered one of the finest buildings in the city, Belle Haven was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. It has been partially renovated and is now part of a development called the Quay Sarasota district.

The former Belle Haven apartments has been partially renovated and went up for sale in 2021.

Plant, Building, Property, Sky

The Broadway Apartments was part of a development project called Central Broadway, which was promoted as “If you have faith in Sarasota, you must have faith in Central Broadway.” The company overseeing the project was Adair Realty and Trust Co., which was based in Atlanta. Other buildings in Central Broadway included the aforementioned El Vernona Hotel, the Burns Realty Office, and the Sarasota Times Building. Burns Realty was owned by developer Owen Burns, who hired James Baum to design all three buildings and the Broadway Apartments.

When it opened in March 1926, the Broadway Apartments featured 20 apartments that were furnished by the Gimbel Brothers department store, which was based in New York City. The apartments included kitchenettes with electric ranges, linens, silverware and dumbwaiters. The building also had maid and janitorial services and a roof garden. The Herald-Tribune called it “one of the finest apartments in the south.” Burns bought it soon after it opened and renamed it El Vernona Apartments.

Unfortunately, the Broadway Apartments was erected around the end of the Florida land boom and a few months before the 1926 Miami hurricane, which devastated Miami and many other parts of the state. The real estate crash and the effects of the hurricane foreshadowed the looming global crisis of the Great Depression that began in just a few years. In the late 1920s, local resident Elmer Whittle acquired the building and renamed it Belle Haven to distinguish it from the El Vernona Hotel.

In 1984, the building was converted into an office building. A real estate company bought it in 2006 and had plans to create a large development that included an adjacent property. However, the 2008 recession halted those plans and the property went into foreclosure in 2013. The Belle Haven was closed and boarded up for several years until Jacksonville-based GreenPointe Developers acquired it in 2018. The exterior was rehabilitated and the interior was stripped down but original features including the well light, pecky cypress ceiling beams, and internal stairwells were preserved. The building was put up for sale in 2021 and its status as of 2023 is unclear.

"Belle Haven." Quay Sarasota. Accessed December 6, 2023.

Denton, Ilene. "New Life for the Grand Old Belle Haven." Sarasota Magazine. June 11, 2018.

Doleatto, Kim. "The Historic Belle Haven Building Hits the Market." Sarasota. March 26, 2021.

Kearns, Sarah L. "El Verona Apartments/Broadway Apartments." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. March 22, 1984.

Lahurd, Jeff. "Belle Haven building opened during Roaring ’20s." Herald-Tribune. May 20, 2014.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Quay Sarasota