Real Estate Gossip - November 2002

By staff November 1, 2002

Never Too Late

Realtor Candy Swick heard her doorbell ring at 1:20 a.m. in dead-of- night darkness on a weekend. Oh, yes. This could only be the courier - some 15 hours late-with necessary papers for a closing. Happily, the deal did go through, and Swick's client bought a beautiful piece of dirt in Coral Cove with impressive southern exposure overlooking Sarasota Bay.

Future plans? The lovely home, with completely updated kitchen and sparkling pool, will soon be bulldozed to make way for a 4,600-square-foot Mediterranean beauty with three-car garage and a

disappearing-edge swimming pool. "The selling price was $1.085 million," says Swick. "So it was worth waking up to answer the door."

St. Armands Story

A gorgeous Mediterranean mansion is currently available on South Washington on St. Armands, with sweeping views across Sarasota Bay and room for a 96-foot yacht. The charming Old World-style home features massive French doors, detailed woodworking, textured paint finishes and a gourmet kitchen. The swimming pool is oversized, set amidst mature tropical landscaping on a double lot; and there is a separate guest house or nanny's quarters with complete kitchen. The home looks like something from a storybook; and in fact, the history of the couple who lived there has a definite fairy tale quality.

"She was stunningly beautiful and working as a waitress at the Colony and he was a wealthy German businessman who fell in love with her at first sight," explains listing agent Barbara Dumbaugh. "They married and divided their time between this home and his baronial estate in Germany, near Munich. They were totally devoted to each other."

Sadly, he passed away; the children wish to reside in Germany, so his widow decided to put the property up for sale. The home is situated on what has been described as the most beautiful street in Sarasota and is offered for $4.9 million. In a market where spec homes fetch $5 and $6 million and more, this one-of-a-kind beauty with a romantic history is certainly worth watching.

A New Landmark

Pete Reynard's restaurant was a local landmark for 50 years on Anna Maria. But old-timers will not recognize the innovative condominiums that will soon stand on the site. The Tidemark Lodge & Marina will offer 30 fully furnished, luxury condominiums with sweeping views of the Skyway Bridge, private boat slips, lavish fitness center and all of the amenities expected from a first-class hotel.

Here, you can dive into sparkling swimming pools and dial up room service for dinner. Covered parking with valet service is a given, along with water taxi service to area restaurants and barrier islands. The property will include meeting rooms and conference facilities, fine dining on-site and retail shops. Select from a variety of floor plans and square footage options, in single-story or townhouse styles. Prices start in the $400s.

Office Max

Kudos to broker/saleperson Gloria Weed and associate Dave Minton of

Coldwell Banker Lakewood Ranch office for their sale of a four-building office complex on University Parkway. Bud Allen purchased the property for $2,600,000 from John Canino of Canino Construction. Allen and his wife Sally operated two outstanding bed-and-breakfast inns in Charleston, S.C., before moving to Lakewood Ranch earlier this year. Previously, Allen was a builder-developer in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. Total office space for this complex is 19,000 feet, with half of the space already leased. Interiors are being built out to tenant specifications with significant improvements to the exterior design to make the property exceptional.

Life With Mother

Prudential Cascade realtor Kim Gilliland purchased a condominium from

sellers in their 70s. The couple was in need of a larger home to

accommodate "Mother," aged 90-something. Elderly and ailing, she simply could not live alone in her beloved trailer any more, they explained. So Gilliland started looking.

"The entire deal was a train wreck from the start," says Gilliland. "The couple wanted to work with an out-of-state lender and he was bad news. They fell in love with a house but lost it because their lender did not act quickly enough. A second contract fell through because the bank dawdled and they missed the closing deadline. It just went on and on."

At last, however, Gilliland settled them into a perfect three-bedroom two-bath home on the golf course in a lovely community. Actually, it was their former first choice which had been snapped up but later reappeared on the market. Everyone was delighted, and Gilliland stopped by several months later just to say hello.

"He greeted me enthusiastically and his wife just could not stop talking about how much they loved their new place," says Gilliland. Then Gilliland inquired about Mother. "It got real quiet," says Gilliland. "She shook her head and he took me outside to explain. Seems the old woman had just about driven both of them crazy. They tried to make it work, but finally things got so bad that they packed Momma up and put her back in her trailer."

Siesta Special

Perhaps Sarasota's most luxurious spec house ever is currently on the market. Situated in an exclusive enclave of luxury homes on Siesta Key's Point Crisp, this dramatic Mediterranean beauty perches on more than 260 feet of frontage on Sarasota Bay. Special features include a media room and wine cellar, fitness room, maid's quarters and four-car garage. The gourmet kitchen is outfitted with Viking appliances trimmed in brass and a 40-foot pool offers waterfront seating with a marble cocktail table and chairs custom built in the shallow end. Enormous glass sliding doors recess completely for a panoramic water view across open balconies and verandas.

Exquisitely furnished and offered for $5.495 million, this home was built by owner/realtor Peter G. Laughlin for the buyer demanding meticulous craftsmanship and breathtaking setting. "Interest has been huge and I do not expect the house to stay on the market for long," says Laughlin. "Private waterfront parcels on Siesta Key are very rare."

Going, Going.

And getting rarer. Jerry Strom of Strom & Strom sold two one-acre Gulf-front lots on Higel Avenue for $2.65 million apiece after just a few weeks on the market. A local doctor purchased one and a businessman from Cincinnati took the other.

"There will come a day very soon when there is no more empty

property left on the Gulf," says Strom. "Right now, there's another lot for sale on Point of Rocks for $1.95 million. That may be one of

the last pieces left."

That Island Feel

Anyone who ever dreamed of living on an island should investigate Gary

Roberts' new project on the Manatee River. Hawk Island is actually a

peninsula offering double water views, with lots measuring 100 x 300 feet for seclusion and an estate-like feel. "Owners will enjoy secluded living with open riverfront on one side and canals on the other side where boats can be docked without intruding on the view," explains Roberts. "There is a natural bridge and an abundance of wildlife."

The neighborhood will be gated and waters are protected in case of storms. Best of all, limiting the development to only 27 homesites will prevent the crowding and sprawl associated with other island communities. Prices range from $600,000 to $795,000.

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