Real Estate Gossip - January 2003

By staff January 1, 2003

Successful Merger

The welcome mat is finally in front of their Ritz-Carlton doorway as Pasqualina and Robert Peterson move into their new home. The philanthropic Petersons were among the original lottery winners when residences at the Ritz came on the market and they bought one...and then one more.

Enter Anne Folsom Smith and a team of engineers, whose two years of research and painstaking design successfully met the mechanical demands of combining two apartments. "We were meticulous in deciding how and where to penetrate walls and merge the space," explains Smith. "The resulting 5,400-square-foot home is magnificent and has upgraded Pasqualina and Robert to penthouse status."

Oak floors inlaid with rosewood were crafted by a master artisan from Massachusetts in vibrant red tones from oxblood to cherry. Art on walls and tables is a testimony to the Petersons' charitable support of Sarasota and love of family.

And then there is the kitchen. Six Sub-Zero refrigerators, two cooktops, ample seating for company and the finishes of a beautiful library create a kitchen that rivals any Smith has seen. "The space looks like live theater and Pasqualina is on center stage," says Smith. "This is her place, to perform, to cook, sing selections from favorite operas, entertain 100 guests at a time, be herself." And the cook can see the sun come up through one set of windows and sink into Sarasota Bay when she faces the other. "The view overlooks Marina Jack and the entire bay and Ringling Museum along with downtown," says Smith. Now that's something to sing about.

It Costs How Much?

Kudos to Tom Stone of Michael Saunders & Company for closing nearly $26 million last year and deftly handling the highest listing, sold for $8 million on Casey Key. Stone has recently listed another fabulous residence on North Casey Key, featuring 9,000 square feet of living space on 300 feet of gorgeous beachfront. The family compound offers two completely separate residences done in Art Deco style, a pool with waterfall and a tennis court. "The best use for the property would involve a buyer who entertains on a lavish scale," says Stone, "as both houses offer complete kitchens, numerous guest suites, exercise rooms, just everything." Someone in the entertainment industry would fill the bill or perhaps a businessperson with international clients? The property is priced at $11,750,000.

Past Connections

In 1914, a little wooden schoolhouse was built on Snead Island. The schoolhouse is still there, sharing a one-acre-plus parcel of land overlooking the widest part of the Manatee River with a stunning Key West-style home with terra cotta floors and views from multi-level balconies. Sand beach with mangroves and deep sailboat water with a 50-foot cypress boathouse built in the 1930s give this property character and distinction for some lucky buyer who desires to own a slice of history. The $1.2-million property is listed by John and Kindra Koeck, a father/daughter real estate team with Michael Saunders & Company. "You go over the bridge and it is like stepping back in time," says John about the island. "You pass the boat works that have been there for over a century and drive to Emerson Point, with winding nature trails and Indian mounds. Birds and wildlife are everywhere. You can still see the ways [timbered track-like structures] upon which ships are built and from which they slide when launched. The location is fascinating."

Realtor's Dream.Or Nightmare?

Say Please

Mind Your Manners

Michael and Nancy Falkenstein of ReMax received a phone call from a fellow in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, inquiring about properties. Gruff-voiced and terse, the caller explained in short barks that he had seen their Web site and was interested in purchasing a villa. "Pick your best four and I'll call you in two weeks" was his edict. Fourteen days later, he called. "I had selected 10 or 12 villas to preview and he went crazy," says Michael Falkenstein. "He got mad and said he would only discuss four." The pile was whittled down and appointments were made. One month later, the client flew to Sarasota and saw four villas. When the Falkensteins offered to show him others, he refused. He bought the third one and demanded to be driven straight to the floor covering store and then to an interior designer's showroom. Finishes were swiftly selected and he left Falkenstein with a signed check for $20,000. "He barked orders, complained that my Jaguar was too small for his 6-foot 5-inch, 270-pound frame and refused to consider anything but those four villas," says Falkenstein. "But he bought and it was a clean deal. Nancy and I call him a realtor's dream. Sort of."

Fit for A King

Realtor Karin Stephan is looking for a prince of a buyer for her castle. But prospects must be willing to fly to Germany for the showing. The exterior is authentic 18th century, while the interior has been completely renovated and restored to excellent condition. Features include five oversized bedrooms furnished with carved mahogany beds, a wine cellar, totally modernized kitchen, formal living spaces and elegant dining rooms. The castle nestles on a hillside outside Frankfurt on two-plus acres overlooking the Rhine River and surrounded by vineyards. "The castle is utterly captivating with old-world charm and rich details," says Stephan. "The mountains are in the background and the river bustles with boats and merchants and fishermen. This is a fairy tale setting yet you are not far from Germany's finest airport, which is lovely." This unusual property is listed for $2.9 million.

Gold Mine

Golden Gate Point originally boasted a boat yard and sawmill, and the handful of residents back in the early 1900s called the tiny spit of land Cedar Point. Today, this pretty peninsula is one of Sarasota's hottest properties, swept up in the downtown phenomenon and boasting some of the best views anywhere. "What other location offers the same amenities?" queries realtor Andy Cail of ReMax. "You are surrounded by water with a beautiful island feeling, yet the location is right in the center of everything. You can enjoy the sunset from your balcony every night, stroll to the Ritz for a cocktail, walk your dog at Island Park, and meet friends at the theater. St. Armands is five minutes in one direction or you can shop Palm Avenue, which is practically in your back yard."

Golden Gate is also home to a cosmopolitan condominium by the Lawson Group called Majestic Bay. It offers limited dock space with eight private boat slips and your own private back door to Sarasota Bay. When she loves antique stores and galleries and he loves boating and fishing, this is heaven.

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