Homefront - June 2004

By staff June 1, 2004

The Metropolitan

When a development costs $150 million to build, you can bet that even the sales gallery (4,022 square feet) is sumptuous. Construction begins on The Metropolitan Sarasota Bay (beside the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, on nearly three acres at U.S. 41 and Gulf Stream Avenue) by the end of this year.

The sales gallery includes full-size vignettes of a model kitchen and family room, a master bath with rain forest shower and 78-inch soaking tub, a fully furnished designer wardrobe, powder room, butler's pantry and summer kitchen.

"We want them to be able to feel the luxurious ambience they can expect in every residence," says developer Richard D. Zipes.

Priced from $1.8 million to more than $5 million, eight floor plans ranging from 3,200 to 6,500 square feet are offered to prospective residents. The two top floors will hold six penthouses, the bottom floor two estate-size units, and the other floors will have eight condominiums each.

Elegance Outdoors

Lister 1883, a British company that has designed beautiful high-end teak garden furniture and accessories for more than 100 years, has opened its first Florida showroom in Sarasota.

"Heritage, quality and design; that's what makes Lister 1883," says president Ibby Kanchanawat.

Kanchanawat and manager Pal Carpenter will show classic and contemporary patterns in their new showroom at 4141 S. Tamiami Trail, Suite 16. Lister's range of traditional European patterns fuse well with stately décor, and modern offerings are striking and funky, incorporating teak with fabrics and stainless steel.

New Homes in Manatee

Bruce Williams Homes has started presales at one of northeast Manatee County's newest communities, Northwood Park, off Interstate 275 at Erie Road. Peter Mason, vice president of sales and marketing, says construction of two model homes with three- and four-bedroom floor plans will start within the next few weeks and they are expected to be open in the fall.

Altogether, 110 home sites are available at Northwood Park, and three-, four- and five-bedroom homes that range from 1,800 square feet to 3,000 square feet of living space will be priced from the $200s.

A Royal Touch

If you love to decorate with fine crystal, Ashley Avery's Collectibles has made shopping even more fun. Ron Saba, owner of the Ashley Avery's-Westfield Shoppingtown Southgate, has added Lalique, Jay Strongwater decorative accessories, Correia art glass, St. Petersburg Russian miniatures and Pandora charm jewelry, a Scandinavian design rage, to his offerings.

Saba's shop was also the prime destination for collectors when he recently offered a limited time sale of Fabergé eggs, plates and accessories. Saba arranged for clients' purchases to be signed by Tatiana Fabergé, the last surviving member of the Fabergé family, when she gave a talk at the Van Wezel in March.

Land Ahoy

Custom home building company ML Collingwood is renowned for their luxury residences on dramatic waterfront locations, but now they're venturing inland for the first time, to build homes in The Concession, a new $600 million, private, gated community on the Sarasota/Manatee County line.

"We believe The Concession will be a community that our type of clients will find attractive," says Pam Meaige, senior vice president and general manager of ML Collingwood. "It presents affluent homebuyers with a luxurious alternative to a waterfront residence."

Framing the moment

Tired of the same black edges around all your photographs? At Frame Center & Gallery, owner Dottie Sechrist and her daughter Errin have found a more creative option. They use beautiful, hand-crafted moldings left over from larger custom framing projects to make picture frames.

"They're too wonderful to throw away, so we make them into useful and decorative accessories," says Dottie Sechrist.

She uses the pieces of molding to also make mirrors, candle holders, serving trays, boxes, Zen gardens and executive desk sets for the home or office. She can customize any of those objects to match your framed art.

The final word on bidding

If you're looking for fine art or antiques to distinguish your home, the best place to pick up pieces might be an auction. Elizabeth Flower and Jeffrey Burchard of Burchard Galleries have these tips to help through the auction process.

Arrive with proper ID and know what forms of payment the auction company accepts. Register as a buyer as soon as you arrive and get your bidder number, and obtain a catalog even if you have to pay for it. Familiarize yourself with items for sale, take notes and pay attention to their condition and the lot number.

Before the auction starts, find a place to sit or stand.

"Bid clearly, make eye contact with the auctioneer or bid assistants," says Flowers. "Raising your number, hand or a good nod works well."

Pay for your items after the auction or as soon as you are done buying, and plan on taking your items with you or have definite arrangements to have them picked up promptly and delivered.

Passion for the Promenade

Within just two weeks of sales, more than half the 187 units at Broadway Promenade, the mixed-use development at U.S. 41 and Tenth Street in downtown Sarasota that will include a Publix and a restaurant, have been snapped up.

"We made these luxurious condominiums available at an attractive price and the value translated into an incredible response," says Mike Hammon, managing partner of residential development at Ram Development Company.

Residents will have concierge and valet services, a clubroom and spa, pool, fitness center, billiards room, library and business center, as well as bay or garden views. Pre-construction pricing ranges from $180,000 to more than $500,000. Construction is scheduled for summer 2004 with the first residences completed in early 2006.

Grand beginnings at Grand Oaks Preserve

Sales are also brisk at another new community: Grand Oaks Preserve at The Meadows, on De Soto Road south of University Parkway.

A March grand opening set the stage for interested buyers to explore the new 30-acre gated community (of which only 12 acres will be developed) that offers 125 luxurious two- and three-bedroom condominiums tucked away among massive old oak trees. The development includes a private clubhouse, fitness center library, tennis courts and heated pool and spas. Pre-construction prices begin in the $290,000s.

Home for the golden years

More than 200 founding members and community leaders attended the official opening of The Glenridge on Palmer Ranch, the nation's first "life fulfilling community."

Attendees toured a state-of-the-art healthcare facility, an assisted living facility and a 51,000-square-foot central meeting place complete with a 267-seat performing arts center, library, cocktail lounge, art room and computer center.

"The expression on the faces of those who are seeing the community for the first time is priceless," says Ret. Lt. Gen. Howard Crowell, Jr., president and CEO of The Glenridge. "At the direction of our community members, The Glenridge has truly become a first of its kind."

Some residents have already moved into the country club-style retirement community, and more are expected to move into the 90-acre campus by the end of the year.

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