The Real Deal Miami

Sarasota developer apologizes for tower bust

December 21, 2009 10:34AM

Zeb Portanova and a rendering of the planned Proscenium complex in Sarasota

Developer Zeb Portanova has apologized to a group of Sarasota land owners hit by the failure of his 18-story Proscenium office tower. The $1 billion project, which was to include the Waldorf-Astoria Sarasota, required 18 land owners to sell properties around the project site for a total of about $70 million, and as the project teetered, their hopes for bigger profits vanished. Portanova said this was the wrong move and that he strung his supporters along. While he did not explicitly blame Atlanta-based Greencastle Asset Management and Nancy Edwards, a broker who pledged to finance the project, he insinuated they were at fault in his e-mail apology. He said he’d been lied to and stolen from and mistakenly trusted contractual agreements with unnamed parties; Portanova is suing the Atlanta company and Edwards in Georgia courts. [Sarasota Herald Tribune]