Marie Selby Botanical Garden Logo

About Our Master Site Plan

More than 40 years ago, Marie Selby left her property in our care to preserve an oasis of green space in the midst of downtown Sarasota. Her executors created the world’s only botanical research garden specializing in epiphytes, or air plants such as orchids and bromeliads. Since then, Selby Gardens has become a leading botanical garden in the United States and internationally. Through our research and education, we are committed to plant conservation and ensuring everyone we reach understands that plants are essential to all life on earth.

While our work has progressed, our 15-acre bayfront property found itself still in need of the infrastructure a botanical garden requires, especially considering future sea level rise to protect our collections. As Selby Gardens moves into the future we envision an improved master site plan that shares with our more than 200,000 visitors each year the important work conducted here. These improvements move our scientific and living collections out of flood zones and into secure structures using the latest green building technology. We are proud that this plan upholds our past and also ensures Selby Gardens’ future, which has significant scientific importance. It also allows us to expand on Marie’s original gift to the community, but envisioned at the highest level.

Phase One of the plan includes the Jean Goldstein Welcome Center & Nathalie McCulloch Library, as well as a Sky Terrace and Preserved Plant Complex.


While still in early phases, we have a new site plan that

  • Increases our green space by 50 percent
  • Improves water access for eco-tours
  • Improves parking capacity and organizes visitor experience
  • Includes a demonstration site for green building technology, such as a large solar energy plant, stormwater collection and reuse, nature based water purification, green walls and roofs and urban food gardening


The timeline of the project is estimated to take 10 years and is dependent on fundraising. Construction of Phase One could begin in the next three to five years. The entire project is estimated to cost $67 million.


Phase One:

  • Jean Goldstein Welcome Center & Nathalie McCulloch Library
  • Preserved Plant Complex
  • Sky Terrace and Parking Garden

Phase Two

  • Greenhouse complex
  • Learning Pavilion

Phase Three

  • Continued restoration of historic buildings
  • Upgrades to walking paths and other Garden access Points



Selby Gardens will remain open throughout implementation of the master site plan.

Parking Spaces

  • Current Parking at Selby Gardens: 250 and 2 bus parking spots (another 25 cars park alongside Palm Avenue at peak times)
  • Parking spaces estimated in new structure: 450

Property vs. Parking

  • Percentage of the property currently dedicated to parking: 14.4%, or 92,210 square feet
  • Percentage of the property estimated for new structure: 7.8% or 50,000 square feet

Garden Space

  • Percentage of the property currently dedicated to garden use: 50%, or 320,750 square feet
  • Percentage of the property proposed for garden use: 80%, or 513,200 square feet, not including green roofs and vertical gardens.




Overland Partners