Selby Gardens celebrates the grand opening of phase one of its master-planned campus (PHOTOS)

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, in downtown Sarasota, opened the first completed part of its master-planned campus, which adds 188,030 square feet of new facilities and amenities to its botanical gardens complex and restaurant.

The new facilities include the Morganroth Family Living Energy Access Facility, which houses a garden-to-plate restaurant, gift shop, vertical gardens, parking and a nearly 50,000-square-foot solar panel array. The new restaurant, The Green Orchid, is the first net-positive energy restaurant in the world, utilizing solar power throughout the facility.

Opening within the next few weeks, the eatery is operated by Michael’s On East and features a rooftop edible garden providing produce for a seasonal menu. The garden was planned, planted and maintained by Operation EcoVets, a nonprofit organization that provides personal, educational and professional growth opportunities for military veterans.

New additions also include the Steinwachs Family Plant Research Center and an open-air Jean Goldstein Welcome Center, which houses a ticketing pavilion, a welcome gallery and a welcome theater.

The master plan has been guided by the international landscape architecture studio OLIN, building architecture firm Overland Partners and civil engineer Kimley-Horn. Willis Smith Construction serves as the construction manager.

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