Real Estate Gossip - February 2004

By staff February 1, 2004

Neighborhood Watch

Rare pearls in Oyster Bay

Oyster Bay is an exclusive enclave west of Tamiami Trail and loosely bounded by North and South Lakeshore Drives. The community offers gracious homes, boating water, winding tree-lined streets and an easy walk to the very private Field Club. Soaring property values have prompted some homeowners to sell, paving the way for a smattering of teardowns and remodeling. But most residents have long-time roots that will not budge, creating high demand-and prices-for a miniscule supply.

Number of Oyster Bay property owners: 150

Price range of current listings: $479,000-$4.295 million

Number of sales, 11/2002-11/2003: 11; 11/2001-11/2002: 13

Sales prices from 11/2001-11/2003: Average, $774,083; range, $136,000-$$1.7 million

Sample sale

This 3,247-square-foot home at 1904 S. Lakeshore Drive features three bedrooms and four baths and sold this summer for $750,000 after being listed for $795,000. The estate-sized lot is heavily treed with mature fruit trees and exotic plantings. Built in 1956, the home features a billiard room and breakfast room, open porch, pool and wood-burning fireplace. Previous sale: 2001 (June): $510,000; 1984 (April): $138,500.

Sample Listing

This property at 1137 N. Lakeshore Drive in Oyster Bay is being offered at $4,295,000 by Brandyn Herbold of Brandyn & Company, (941) 922-8777.

(MLS statistics courtesy of John Allaman of Michael Saunders & Company. MLS records transactions and listings by members of the Sarasota Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.)

Top of the Market

A Siesta Key gated estate inspired by the elegant homes of Palm Beach has captured top spot for recent sales. The home, situated at 3500 Bayou Louise Lane, sold in October for $4.25 million after its original listing of $5.195 million. The property boasts a private beach with full views of Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico surrounded by custom wrought-iron gates, fence and fixtures. Handmade Brazilian oak entry doors swing open to reveal 6,300 square feet of ivory crème marble floors, five bedrooms and five baths, gourmet kitchen, elevator and graciously sized swimming pool. A seven-car garage and 20,000-pound boat lift add to the appeal, along with night views of the city skyline. Barbara Ackerman of Coldwell Banker was the selling agent.


A beautifully restored Mediterranean home at 5050 Bayshore Drive, recently listed by Barbara Dumbaugh of Michael Saunders for $1,485,000, has historical significance and a delicious bit of mystery.

"We know this home was built in 1926 and it is only a block away from the Ringling Museum," explains Dumbaugh. "The tile in one of the bathrooms is identical to the tile used in one of the Cà' d' Zan bathrooms; and while we have no proof, there is a fair degree of certainty that the same craftsmen who built Ringling's home worked here as well."

A spiral staircase leading to a mysteriously sealed tower also prompts speculation; if the stairs had been allowed to continue to the top, the intrepid climber would have been rewarded with a view of Sarasota Bay. Original architectural elements, tiled floors, period lighting fixtures, ceilings painted by Ringling School of Art students, walled grounds and fountains create the authentic feel of 1920s' opulence. The original swimming pool, destroyed by years of neglect, was replaced by a pool, patio and outdoor fireplace in the lavish tradition of the Ringling era. The house features five bedrooms and five bathrooms, expansive grounds and interior details reminiscent of a fine museum.

"The restoration team was devoted to saving every original piece; and when that proved impossible, they searched out authentic duplicates," says Dumbaugh. "The result is breathtaking."

A Historic Concession

In 1969, Jack Nicklaus conceded a two-foot putt to rival golfer Tony Jacklin at the Ryder Cup at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England. His gentlemanly gesture resulted in a tie match between the European and American teams and earned a place in history as the greatest single sporting gesture ever.

Now, Jacklin has teamed with Nicklaus to design a championship golf course for a $600-million luxury golf community named after this historic event. The Concession, a 1,232-acre luxury gated estate community being built near the Sarasota/Manatee county line, will debut in the spring of 2005. Jacklin intends to be one of the first residents.

"My dream is for the course and community to help elevate Sarasota's golf presence globally," says the four-time captain of the European Ryder Cup team, and winner of the 1969 British Open and 1970 U.S. Open. "We believe our course will be worthy of world-class tournaments." Two-hundred-year-old oak and pine trees, some as tall as 150 feet, dot the course; and amenities will include a 40-acre practice area, traditional caddie program, junior golf, clubhouse with exceptional dining, locker rooms, card and billiard rooms, sports clubhouse, fitness facilities, treatment rooms, swimming pool, tennis courts, croquet courts and a helipad.

In a classic "core" design, the 520-acre golf course will feature adjoining enclaves of estate homes around the outside of the course rather than homes directly on the course. More than 250 single-family home sites ranging from a half acre to two acres will be offered in phase one, priced from the mid $300s. Membership in this phase will be capped at 325 and feature 33 Founder Members.

Out of the Bag

Lynn Robbins of Coldwell Banker was showing a $1.2-million property to her client when both women heard a sound that sounded like crackling flames. The racket got louder and the two turned to run when suddenly a furry projectile rocketed past them down the hall and burst into the master bedroom.

"The owner's cat had somehow gotten his head stuck in the handles of an oversized plastic shopping bag and was just roaring around the house, causing the plastic to make a noise identical to a snapping fire," explains Lynn. "Luckily, my client is a cat lover and together we decided to help." Eyes wild and ears flat, the terrified animal evaded rescue attempts and made several revolutions of the house before the women chased it into a bedroom. The cat dove for cover under the bed, the bag was stripped loose and the poor beast was freed of its hideous flapping. "The showing continued after she caught her breath and I stopped laughing," says Lynn.

"Forever after, that listing will be referred to as The Cat House."

In the Doghouse

Jose Colon, owner of 2020 Inspections in Sarasota, is willing to go out on a limb for clients; but he is not about to go barking up the wrong tree. Recently, Colon was contacted by Prudential Cascade regarding a scheduled inspection and informed that, due to an unforeseen appointment, the homeowner could not be there to admit him but had agreed to leave a door unlocked so that the inspection could take place. Upon arrival, Colon surveyed the house from the exterior and observed a doghouse and a water bowl on the lanai. "I immediately contacted Prudential Cascade and spoke to Kim Gilliland's assistant," explains Colon. "I explained that I was not about to enter the home without knowing where the dog was and judging from the size of the doghouse and bowl, this was an extremely large animal."

Thirty minutes later, Colon received a phone call from Gilliland's assistant informing him, between giggles, that it was safe to enter the dwelling and guaranteeing the dog would not bite. "There was no dog," says Colon. "The homeowners placed the props on the porch to discourage prowlers. I guess it works."

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