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How to stand out among the millionaire riff-raff in Sarasota

Written by on Saturday, December 16, 2023

Get your ‘well-earned’ ’52 Porsche upstairs so everybody can see it.

By Ramon Lopez

Original Air Date: Dec. 15, 2023

Host: How can you stand out from the crowd in a county with an estimated 20,000 millionaires? If that’s your challenge, WSLR News reporter Ramon Lopez found the perfect object of your desire.

Ramon Lopez: Rich Sarasota car buffs with exotic and classic cars are getting a private club and playground where the fat cats can brag amongst themselves about their expensive four-wheel treasures.

Meanwhile, more regular rich people are now able to dine on high-end, French food while getting an oil change, all in the same place. Fine dining now available inside an unusual location.

Last week, City of Sarasota Development Review Committee panelists were briefed on the Lux Car Club that will go up at 1374 Fifth Way in the trendy Rosemary District of Sarasota.

The DRC officials, by all accounts, seemed receptive to the idea, expressing favorable comments when briefed on the proposal.

One Fifth Way LLC is the owner of the 2.4-acre property at the corner of Florida Avenue and Fifth Street. The spot is currently zoned “Downtown Edge”.

The bid calls for development of a private club in a five-story commercial building. The exclusive car club will be limited to members with premium cars. They must abide by an established set of bylaws and club rules.

The multi-story building will include a variety of spots for luxury vehicle viewing. There will be nearly 3,000 square feet of clubroom, and 2,500 square feet of ground-floor tenant space.

Scott Gross and Joel Freedman provided additional details on the exclusive club.

Scott Gross: We have a 50,000-square foot building that we’re proposing here, pretty much taking advantage of the Downtown Edge height of 85 feet, five stories, and we are providing our two stories of habitable space on Florida [Avenue], with a fifth-floor lounge.

Joel Freedman: This is a very unique thing. They’re happening in a lot of places now. It’s a club that people that are car enthusiasts can bring and put their car in this facility, and then it is a private club with a wine locker as well. So your premium wines can also be stored there. There’ll be a club room up here on the fifth floor where, if I want to have a party, I can have a party and bring my guests there. There’s not going to be any sale of any alcohol or anything like that at the facility. It may be catered by a Michael’s on East or something like that type of thing, but no sale of alcohol at all.

Lux Car Club: In the heart of the Rosemary District.

SG: We want to be able to have events periodically, because it allows to enjoy the area. Absolutely. I think it brings this kind of thing to it, a rooftop area, possibly allowing them to display their treasures. And so that’s what we’re looking towards. Also, the interior looks to be able to look from the common spaces onto their vehicles. I think it’s something that some people in Sarasota specifically, you know, we’ve been looking for, and it would be a members-only club.

RL: Timothy Ng, head of NG Development, LLC, which is located in Sarasota, says the Lux Car Club will provide Sarasota residents “an iconic venue to gather and share their common passions”.

The unique site will offer “a club-type atmosphere with well-appointed common areas where those from the hobbyist to enthusiast will gather and share their well-earned treasures, exotic cars, fine wines, cigars, and stories of the journey that bring them to the present”.

He said the club’s car enthusiasts will gather to ‘kick the tires’ and talk about their classic cars, informally or in planned events. They will be able to view the Sarasota skyline from the building’s rooftop.

Timothy Ng says the Lux Car Club represents a unique opportunity for Sarasota.

“Where others have attempted to place residential usage at this location, we believe our project offers a niche space that has value to our unique demographic in Sarasota,” he said.

Le Mans Kitchen, run by “French-born” chef José Martinez.

Meanwhile, Sarasota Ford on US 301 is now offering a fine-dining experience off the dealership’s show room. The “Le Mans Kitchen” is a first of its kind, 38-seat private eatery for Ford owners. It replaces the dealership’s former café.

The kitchen is manned by a Michelin star recipient chef. Offerings include a specialty coffee or curated mocktail from the bar, a soufflé pancake for breakfast, or a grilled cheese Provençal for lunch.

Bon apétit.

This is Ramon Lopez for WSLR News.


WSLR News aims to keep the local community informed with our 1/2 hour local news show, quarterly newspaper and social media feeds. The local news broadcast airs on Wednesdays and Fridays at 6pm.