Real Estate Gossip - April 2004

By staff April 1, 2004


Country Club Shores, Ahoy

Golf vernacular meets boat-speak in south Longboat Key's waterfront Country Club Shores, where Halyard, Bowsprit and Outrigger lanes cross Bogey, Putting Green and Chipping lanes. Developed in the mid-1960s, Country Club Shores sports 400 properties, most of them waterfront, on seawalled canals that offer easy boating access to Sarasota Bay. The charming old neighborhood is located directly opposite the Longboat Key Club's Islandside golf course.

Number of Country Club Shores property owners: 400

Number of sales 1/2003 to 1/2004: 34

Sales prices from 1/2003 to 1/2004: $238,000 to $2.65 million

Average price of those sales: $1.09 million

Average square footage of those homes: 3,110 square feet

Sample Sale

This lot at 641 Ranger Lane recently sold for $2.15 million, sans house. Full waterfront views and a canal with seawall drove the price up and up some more. The original house was built in the 1960s; a master suite was added in 1985. Previous sales: 1985 (November): $430,000; 2000 (May), after the home was razed: $1.5 million.

Sample Listing

This 7,000-square-foot house at 642 Ranger Lane has more than 320 feet on the bay and a 125-foot dock with room for a 65-foot boat. It features six bedrooms, seven full baths and two half baths, library, bonus room, and gourmet kitchen for serious cooks. Artisan details include custom columns, detailed ceilings, faux painted walls and three fireplaces. Offered for sale at $6.45 million by Kristine H. Niehaus, Century 21 Advantage Realty, (941) 349-4478.

(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

Sarasota County's most expensive residential sale last fall was also the highest ever-recorded sale here for a single-family home: $13.218 million for a 12,000-square-foot Venetian-style beauty at 1219 Westway Drive. Included in the sale was the adjoining lot at 1221 Westway Drive, which the buyer purchased to protect the spectacular Gulf of Mexico and New Pass view and to bring the total water frontage to an impressive 315 feet. Kim and Michael Ogilvie and Debra Pitell, realtors with Michael Saunders & Company, were involved in the sale. The seller was the development firm of Sandcastles of Sarasota, whose principals are the husband and wife team of Phil Chmieleski and Margo Bohaty. Ogilvie says the home is one of the first in Sarasota to fit a growing demand for ultra-high quality and size, like homes seen in Naples and Florida's east coast. "It is essentially, "build it and they will come,'" she says. "And that is what we see happening."

(Sales information provided by Kim Ogilvie of Michael Saunders & Company.)

Global Village

Tom and Andy Cail of ReMax Properties are keen on their Longboat Key Positano condominium project and felt sure buyers would embrace the concept. But even they did not expect the responses they're getting from around the world. The Cails have talked with interested buyers from California, New York, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and some 20 other states across the country. Several pro football players and numerous sports celebrities are exploring ownership. Calls have also come in from London, Canada, Sweden, Scotland and Germany. And last week an Italian designer called from Miami on behalf of his client, who currently resides in Switzerland. "We cannot quite figure out how people are hearing about Positano, because the advertisements have only appeared in local publications," muses Tom. "It's hard to believe word of mouth can travel around the world." At press time, 18 of Positano's 29 units were under contract.

Full-service realtor

Mike Rosario of RoseBay Real Estate makes a practice of calling his clients the day before a closing to confirm. But when his buyer did not answer the telephone, Rosario began to worry. "I called this guy at home, at work, on his cell, everywhere and he simply could not be found," Rosario says. "He was just gone." More digging and detective work revealed the names of family members and Rosario made the calls. They knew exactly where to find his client. "The guy was in jail," explains Rosario. "He was picked up for driving without a license and because it was his third offense, they threw him behind bars."

Rather than cancel the closing, Rosario drove downtown, bailed out his client and saw the sale through. "My client was very surprised to see me, very grateful and very happy that he got his house after all," says Rosario. "Oh, and he paid me back the bail money at the closing."

Family real estate values

Candy Swick of Candy Swick & Company listened to the naysayers predicting that in 2003, real estate sales would dip and the Sarasota market would take a hit. And she chuckled. On Jan. 1, she laughed out loud, for Swick did $55 million in real estate sales last year, a substantial 30 percent increase over her sales in 2002.

Swick fervently believes a nationwide surge in commitment to family will continue to sustain Sarasota real estate. "Since Sept. 11, people across the country have realized that family is the most important priority," she explains. "Parents are leaving the big cities, looking for safer places to raise children. Older couples want vacation homes where they can gather their children and grandchildren together. Even younger marrieds are shopping for retirement homes now, to ensure that when the time comes they have something locked in. More and more Florida residents are buying property on the beach, for getaway weekends and gathering spots during the holidays for extended families. Sarasota offers what all of these buyers are seeking. Sales are directly linked to a desire to create quality time with loved ones. Family values are what continue to drive the market."

The Ritz Touch

A Ritz-Carlton residence is perhaps Sarasota's most prestigious address, with all of the luxuries of a five-star hotel. Currently, two very different condominiums are for sale.

Cheryl Timmins of Prudential Palms Realty has listed a two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath residence featuring marble foyer, art gallery, designer floor coverings and spacious grand room. The 1,900-square-foot condominium offers views of Sarasota Bay and the city from tiled outdoor terraces and is offered at $1.19 million-the lowest price for a Ritz residence at this time.

Just a few floors above is the "Beausoleil" tower penthouse crowning the Ritz-Carlton's 18th floor. It's offered for $4.25 million by Cheryl Loeffler, also of Prudential Palms. Currently the highest priced condominium at the Ritz, it offers nearly 5,000 square feet of living space and two expansive terraces overlooking the marina. Three bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths, a den and library all feature magnificent finishes and designer decoration.

Top Gun

Erick Shumway of Sarasota Realty Company fields dozens of telephone calls for buyers with special requests. But even Shumway sat up straight when a recent caller made his needs known. "This man told me he was looking for a place east of the interstate, someplace private, out in the country," says Shumway. "He then told me it had to have a room that was at least 100 feet long. When I asked him why, he told me he needed plenty of space to shoot guns." Several deep breaths and a few questions later, Shumway realized that his prospective client was seeking a commercial property and planning to open an indoor shooting range and gun school.

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