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The big story in Sarasota real estate at the moment is all the new homes being built in old neighborhoods. Particularly in the West of Trail area, infill houses are replacing those 60 and 70 year cottages and bungalows that time has rendered obsolete—unless you do a major renovation and double their size.

Most of the new homes are placed randomly among the older ones. But there are a few mini-developments, and the most notable is Granada Park. It’s tucked away on a four acre plus piece of land near the corner of Bay Street and Osprey Avenue. It’s a great location—you can ride your bike to both Siesta Key and Southside Village, and the surrounding neighborhood—Granada—is famously charming, with mid-sized older homes in all styles.

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Living room.

The concept Granada Park uses is called “cluster housing” and it’s very popular in hip places like Portland and Seattle. The homes are built on very small lots and are close to each other—the minimum space separating them is as little as eight feet. This takes some careful planning but the developers of Granada Park (MGB Builders) have risen to the occasion and the place has a great vibe that reminds me a little of Seaside, the famous beach town near Destin that has become the gold standard for such communities.

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Kitchen.

In fact, the architecture of the homes has the same “craftsman/coastal” look as Seaside. They are all two stories and feature such design elements as tapered columns and lots and lots of porches. In fact, many of them have the option for complete outdoor living rooms on the second floor. The one I looked at had a summer kitchen and fireplace and was absolutely charming. You got the feeling that you were looking at something new that will become a staple in Florida homes in the future.

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Master bedroom.

The homes all hover around $1 million and range from 2,400 square feet up to around 3,000. They all have open concept plans and are beautifully and expensively detailed. Most impressive are all the “green” and “smart” elements that are built in—I really didn’t understand them all but I’m assuming they’ll give you an orientation class, like when you buy a Mercedes.

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Outdoor living space

There’s a community pool and the maintenance fee (very low, around $400, and that includes water and sewer) takes care of the landscaping. They’re being marketed as an alternative to the new downtown condos—more room for the same or lower price, and a real Old/New Florida feeling. If you’re worried, as I was, about climbing stairs—they’re all two stories—don’t be. Each model has an elevator option, thank God.

For more information, visit the model home at 1756 Stapleton Drive from 12-4 p.m. daily (941-552-9936), or call Stephen Ellis at (941) 928-7991.

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