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The Sarasota Times, March 22, 1923

Articles: Sarasota History

Author: Rose Wilson
Source: Sarasota County Historical Resources
Credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources

Sarasota History - The Sarasota Times, March 22, 1923 photo

On Tuesday, the twenty-fourth day of April, 1923, the freeholders of the City of Sarasota will vote, by proclamation of the mayor and vote of the city council, upon an election calling for the issuance of bonds to the amount of $30,000 to raise money to be devoted to putting Sarasota “over the top” as a winter resort. This sum is to be presented as a bonus to Andrew McAnsh, for providing a modern three-story hotel on the water front – an asset that the city has long needed and one that will undoubtedly increase property values all over the city very considerably.

This project was submitted to the city council of the Chamber of Commerce and business men after it had been ascertained that Sarasota would not have any hotel for next season unless Andrew McAnsh provided it. The city council promptly decided that unless a sufficient number of freeholders subscribed their names to a petition calling for this election, no action could be taken. So the Board of Governors of the Commerce body had the meeting adjourned for 24 hours during which time they drew up petitions and obtained the signatures of eighty-three bonafide freeholders of Sarasota, pledging their support to this proposed bond issue and its primary object. Accordingly the city council voted unanimously to call the election for this purpose and the mayor issued his proclamation, according to law.

It Will Probably Carry
The bond issue will undoubtedly be carried by a safe majority as soon as the people understand its primary object, for this movement will do more for the future growth and prosperity of Sarasota than any other one thing. The councilmen designated a committee of three reputable citizens, Messers. Thompson, Tyler and Burch to act in an advisory capacity and cooperate with the city council in the disposition of this main objective.

This committee immediately started to function and yesterday held a long conference with Andrew McAnsh, asking that the latter stipulate how much his proposed investment here, in accordance with his plans already submitted, would amount to, and asking him further to submit to a checking of all materials, by a city inspector and cost bills as well.

Plans on Exhibition
This Mr. Mc Ansh very promptly declined to do, informing the gentlemen that his architect’s plans from the offices of Architect William G. Kreig of Chicago, a noted authority and expert, were before them, calling for a hotel of about 120 rooms, three stories in height of concrete and other material, with dining room, Spanish mission style of exterior and Mission towers with chimes and the addition of a Casino or Palace Royal on Williams Street that will provide amusement and recreation for winter guests, with an eighty-foot swimming pool and other features.

The architect’s plans and drawings are now on exhibition in the window of The Sarasota Times and present a magnificent monument of vision and foresight as to the future needs of this growing city. It is possible that the total investment will amount to nearer $400,000 than $300,000, but Mr. McAnsh very naturally objects to any body of men questioning his integrity or checking his expenditures.

Mr. McAnsh Talks
When interviewed this morning by the Editor of The Times, he had the following to say: “I am not especially anxious to build a hotel in Sarasota. It is not imperative with me. If the progressive citizens of Sarasota want this big project well enough to present this free-will offering of thirty thousand dollars they can have something that will do more for their city and resort than anything else ever has, but I want to make this point clear from the very start, that there must be no strings to this bonus and no misunderstandings. I don’t propose to have anybody question my integrity. That the committee or the citizens did not and have not done and I do not propose to have such a contingency arise. The committee asked me to give the total cost of my contemplated investment here. That I give no one. I never have in all my years of activity and never will on any of my buildings. The architectural plans are before you. They speak for themselves. Assuredly they would have to pass inspection of the Underwriters and the state requirements.

His Own Investments
“Every building that I have constructed in the various states and cities I have gone into has been in keeping with the building ordinances of both by the inspectors of city and state and the sanitary inspector as well. And passed by the Board of Underwriters. By so doing it gets me the lowest rate of insurance possible to obtain.
“It affords both safety for the occupants and for the adjoining property as well. Now understand me please, when I say that all of the buildings I have ever built or had constructed have been of my own, for myself and not for secondary parties or syndicates, hence the door is always open for me to go back and repeat – to build others of the same class and worthiness. Manifestly, I could neither cheat myself or the public in this respect.

The Main Objective
“If I had been or were building these structures for other parties there might be an inducement to save at different places on material, workmanship and otherwise. But where it is for myself as an investment, it would be to my own interest to build every one of these buildings I have been engaged in as substantially as possible, with the best material, the best workmanship, for by so doing I save a large item of repair expense annually, through future years, and prolong the life of the building as well as the permanency of the investment.

His Chicago Buildings
“For illustration: I have buildings that were constructed twelve to fifteen years ago in the city of Chicago. Today they are just as good, to all appearances, as the day they were first built. And they are occupied by as fine a people as you will find in the entire city of Chicago. And the income of those buildings are far greater today than when they were originally constructed.

“You ask me why, with the extensive operations and investments in larger cities I am here in this small city – with such limited opportunities? Well that is readily answered. I liked this town from the first moment I came here. It grows upon me. It is a beautiful city with a bay that is equal of anything in America and I am sanguine that Sarasota has a great destiny. And every person that has stopped at the Mira Mar apartments admits being more pleased with the apartment and the surroundings of our beautiful bay as well as our matchless Sarasota Beach (today’s Siesta Key Beach). And to my great pleasure and enjoyment we will have them with us next winter. Even now I am receiving telegrams and letters asking for reservations for next season from people who have heard of this beautiful apartment.

Brought Prominent People
“It is encouraging, to say the least, that prominent men in the business and mercantile world who have stopped at the Mira Mar this winter with their families believe the same as I do, relative to the future of this resort and the growing popularity of our beach and wonderful bay. They consider it one of the finest resort cities ever they have visited and the only thing it lacks is the accommodations to take care of the people who would like to come here.

“I can better illustrate this by saying that a prominent banker of the Middle East and a busy man had visited here three to four times since last October and is now here with his wife and son at the Mira Mar to spend the balance of the winter, three to four weeks. This man is in no way interested in this proposition, but has taken a strong fancy to Sarasota and loves to come here for its invigorating air and the tonic of its sunshine.

Loves Sarasota Best
“You ask me why I did not go to St. Petersburg, Miami, Palm Beach or some other place in Florida. All beautiful spots, but I like Sarasota above all else. And I have seen them all. I want a place where I can be active in the winter months, because I must keep busy. It is not a question of more money with me. Money is only a matter of convenience. I have all the money I need. But to know Sarasota and its people is to love both. No more cordial people could be found anywhere. That is honestly how I feel about it. One would have to love this place to spend the time here that I do, for hardly a day passes that I do not receive business letters from influential people demanding my time and energies in their respective communities to help them make their cities beautiful and help them build their towns.”

Kansas Banker Talks
A few weeks ago a reporter of The Times met banker Charles L. Davidson, of Wichita Falls, Kansas, chairman of the board of directors of the Fourth National Bank of that city, one of the largest banks in western Kansas. Banker Davidson said voluntarily in speaking of Mr. McAnsh that the buildings Mr. McAnsh constructed in Wichita were better in every way than they looked for and are bringing in more revenue today than when built seven years ago. The bond issue that was made against them has been all paid off and a larger loan given to the parties that purchase his original investments – a large New York insurance company, who exact the closest scrutiny and investigation before purchasing any investments.

Mr. Davidson said to the Times reporter: “And we want McAnsh back there and we’ll give him anything he wants. That’s the kind of a man he is.”

Believing in his integrity and their faith that he will do all that he says he will do, the Wichita Falls people are anxious for more of his investment in dividend-paying apartment houses.

If the bond election carries and satisfactory arrangements are made with Mr. McAnsh he promises that construction will start by the first of June and that the hotel will be ready for occupancy by next November.