Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Breaks Ground on $42.5 million Phase I of Three-Phase Master Plan with Community Leaders and Supporters

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Welcome Center Rendering. Courtesy of Overland Partners Architects.

SARASOTA, Fla.June 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Community leaders, supporters and staff of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (Selby) gathered at the site of what will be the nation’s first Net Positive Botanical Garden Community as they broke ground on Phase I, Thursday, June 3, at the 15-acre Downtown Sarasota campus on Sarasota Bay.

Now in its 48th year of operation, the Downtown Sarasota campus is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns, and other tropical plants.

Aerial Rendering of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Phase 1 Master Plan at the Downtown Sarasota Campus. Courtesy of Overland Partners Architects

To expand its mission of botany, horticulture, education, historical preservation, and the environment, the Master Plan was developed by international landscape architecture studio OLIN, design architecture firm Overland Partners, civil engineer Kimley-Horn, engineering firm Arup, and  solar energy firm One80Solar, while Willis Smith Construction will oversee construction of the project.

Phase I of the of the three-phase Master Plan includes:

  • The Living Energy Access Facility (LEAF)—a new 27,700 sq. ft. building that will house parking, a gift shop and a garden-level restaurant featuring organic produce and herbs grown onsite– capped with a one-acre solar array that will provide more than 105% of the power needs of the new buildings, with the excess power feeding the existing historic structures on campus and reducing their carbon footprint.
  • The LEAF also includes a stormwater filtration system that will collect and cleanse stormwater onsite to help protect the Sarasota Bay ecosystem.
  • A new Plant Research Center will house an herbarium, laboratory, and spirits collection, as well as a research library that will preserve the collection of irreplaceable rare books and botanical illustrations, some dating from the 1700s.
  • It is the third Emerging Living Community to seek certification by the International Living Future Institute.

“We are taking an established civic and cultural asset and allowing room for our collections, research and educational programs to be protected and sustainable for generations to come,” said Jennifer Rominiecki, president & CEO of Selby Gardens.

“The first phase and entire master plan pays homage to the forward-thinking women who established the gardens, and who understood the importance of preserving and connecting with nature, protecting natural resources and sustaining the future,” said Rominiecki.

The entire complex will be located above the storm surge elevation to protect the priceless collections and new facilities from hurricanes and rising sea levels. In addition, all new construction will be built to the highest code standards to withstand extreme weather.

“Phase I and the entire Master Plan of Selby Botanical Gardens is innovating a greener future, one where architecture blends into the landscape, creates its own energy, and respects and is informed by its ecological context in order to inspire others and serve as a model of truly sustainable, resilient design,” said John Byrd, AIA, LEED AP, LFA, Overland’s Director of Design Performance.

About Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens provides 45 acres of bayfront sanctuaries connecting people with air plants of the world, native nature, and our regional history.  Selby Gardens is composed of the 15-acre Downtown Sarasota campus and the 30-acre Historic Spanish Point campus in the Osprey area of Sarasota County, Florida.  The Downtown Campus on Sarasota Bay is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytic orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns, and other tropical plants. The Historic Spanish Point (HSP) Campus is located less than 10 miles south along Little Sarasota Bay. The HSP Campus, one of the largest preserves showcasing native Florida plants that is interpreted for and open to the public, celebrates an archaeological record that encompasses approximately 5,000 years of Florida history. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a Smithsonian Affiliate and is also accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.  For more information visit

Overland Partners
Overland Partners Architects bring together diverse talents to deliver dynamic, comprehensive design services in architecture, master planning, and urban design throughout the world. With a notable spirit of collaboration, Overland thoughtfully integrates technology, art, and craft to create world-class, innovative, and sustainable solutions for highly complex projects. For more information, visit

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