Preserving the past… Embracing the future
Original development on Anna Maria was sparked by construction of what’s now known as the City Pier, which was built at the foot of Pine Avenue in 1911. In its promotional material the Anna Maria Beach Development Company encouraged the multitudes to come to Anna Maria Beach, “the most attractive of all of Florida’s island resorts,” and beckoned folks to “visit the beach… destined to become …the greatest year-round resort city in Florida.” (The Early Days 1893-1940, Anna Maria Island Historical Society, 2000, p. 25.)
Almost 100 years later, Anna Maria stands out as a unique island destination, unmatched in its dedication to preserving the beauty and charm that define its special character. The City of Anna Maria has approximately 1800 year-round residents; added to that are visitors from all over the globe, who are fortunate to call it home for part of each year.
Anna Maria Island’s unspoiled crystal white sand beaches, its relaxed lifestyle, friendly residents, great restaurants and one-of-a-kind shops and other businesses continue to attract and enchant those who visit it.
Pine Avenue Restoration is an idea born out of a desire to preserve the original vision for a Pine Avenue promenade and to protect the critical and extremely limited “historic boutique business district,” which runs the length of the street and, practically speaking, is the only remaining area on the entire island (and perhaps the entire gulf coast) where such a project is possible.
Central to this vision is the strong conviction, gathered from private citizens, as well as appointed and elected city officials, that two-story, historic cottages best reflect the culture, heritage and nature of our town. Pine Avenue is our last, best hope to capture and preserve this legacy. Our plans call for developing the Pine Avenue properties with historically compatible structures housing first floor boutique retail shops and one residential floor on top. The new structures will be complemented by inviting front porches and balconies, and topped off with such architecturally rich details as pitched roofs and dormer windows. The look will draw its inspiration from the historic cottages that are currently interspersed on the street and existing historic structures will be renovated whenever possible. We envision quality, value-added retail shops that will encourage and cater to local foot and bicycle traffic, as well as the many visitors and island residents who arrive by island trolley or car.
Just as in 1911, when the Anna Maria Beach Development Company encouraged visitors to ride the steamer to the City Pier and promenade down Pine Avenue to the Bath House, where the Sandbar Restaurant sits today, our vision is to re-create that Pine Avenue promenade and preserve a little bit of Old Florida for future generations to enjoy.