Real Estate Gossip - June 2004

By staff June 1, 2004

The pretty, established neighborhood of Cherokee Park runs alongside Osprey Avenue between Siesta Drive and McClellan Park, behind a low white stucco wall dripping with bougainvillea vines. Here, children walk down the street to Southside Elementary School and neighbors gather for poolside barbecues on summer evenings. Most of the homes were originally built in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and the area has always been a favorite of doctors and lawyers due to its proximity to Sarasota Memorial, the courthouse and downtown. Oaks have replaced the original palm trees gracing the wide boulevards, but the aquamarine bay sparkles at the end of each street and double sidewalks still sprout lemonade stands on Sunday afternoons.

Number of Cherokee Park home sites: 76

Price range of current listings: $435,000-$2.99 million

Number of sales, 3/2003-3/2004: 15; 3/2002-3/2003: 5

Average sales price from 3/2003-3/2004: $753,500

Average square footage: 3,309 square feet

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.

Sample Sale

This two-story Southern traditional home, on the bay at 2900 Cherokee Terrace, recently sold for $1.3 million. Built in 1968 and extensively remodeled and expanded in 2000, the 4,700-square-foot residence has five bedrooms plus study and a beautiful new French country kitchen. Lush tropical gardens and brick walkways surround the property. Phyllis Garfinkel of Michael Saunders & Company was the listing agent; the selling agent was Rogers Moore of Flory Real Estate. Previous sale: 1993 (June): $405,000.

Sample Listing

This 4,200-square-foot Cape Cod-style bungalow at1655 North Drive has plenty of room for a family, with four bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths, den, upstairs bonus billiard or media room and private, resort-like backyard with pool and spa. Built in 1950, it was recently remodeled. Offered for $1.145 million by Nora Johnson of Michael Saunders & Company, (941) 966-8000.

Top of the Market

A contemporary classic designed by award-winning architect Carl Abbot claims the highest sale price for Sarasota County in January. The home, at 2201 Casey Key Road, listed for $5,275,000 and sold for $4,450,000. This architectural gem features 4,000 square feet of living space on two floors along with a separate 800-square-foot guesthouse. Masterfully sited along 195 feet of prime beachfront, the modernist home features waterfront views from every room and overlooks an acre of lushly landscaped grounds. A lap pool and deeded access to a boat dock on Sarasota Bay add to the luxury. The property was listed by Thomas Stone and sold by Alix Wexler, both of Michael Saunders & Company.

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

Four kids and a dog

Realtor Lynn Robbins of ReMax Properties has been selling real estate long enough to expect the unexpected. But when her buyers called her late one Sunday night asking for a place to live for three weeks, even Robbins was speechless for a moment. After all, it was high season in Sarasota and they were arriving the next day. And in addition to the good doctor and his wife, there were four boys and a very large dog.

"The problem was their moving van," explains Robbins. "The moving company had neglected to explain that it was going to take three weeks to relocate their household from Washington, D.C., to Sarasota. They had no place to go." A flurry of phone calls followed and Robbins was able to find a Siesta Key condominium right on the beach with plenty of space and a pet-friendly policy. The following day, her family called one hour before closing and said they were 50 miles away and hurrying. "I called the other agent at his downtown office and offered to move the closing to my place," laughs Robbins. "Somehow I just felt it would be the right thing to do." The buyers slid in just before the deadline, and the children and dog sat on the office floor, trying valiantly to hold still and be quiet. "The kids were so excited to get to the beach and the dog was so desperate to run around after the long road trip, it was wild," says Robbins. "You never saw papers get signed so fast in your life."

Back to the Sarasota School

In 1958, architect Tim Seibert and builder Frank Thyne collaborated to design and build a home in the Sarasota School of Architecture style at 5211 Cape Leyte Drive on Siesta Key. The original owners were Thyne's in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. A.F. Dickerson; and their residence, fashioned of concrete block walls, terrazzo floors, mahogany accents and an open floor plan incorporating outdoor spaces, became known around town as simply The Dickerson Residence.

The house changed hands several times and varying renovations over ensuing years sadly destroyed Seibert's seamless flow between interior and exterior space. "The house was altered and brutalized over the years by subsequent owners who didn't understand it," the architect says.

Then John and Jamie Barron bought the place and turned back the clock. Immediately recognizing the historical and architectural significance of the structure, the Barrons embarked upon a seven-month restoration project to bring the modernist beauty back to life. The job involved opening up air-conditioned spaces, the total removal of a bedroom that spoiled the original lines of the house, and restoring original mahogany louvers imported from Havana. Wood ceilings, teak built-ins, one-inch glass tiles in the bath and tongue-in-groove pine decking were restored or replaced with materials and design true to the period and rebuilt to perfection. Granite and stainless steel give the kitchen its sleek, modern feel, while walls of glass overlook a large lap pool and three wide sections of the Grand Canal.

Sotheby's and Georgina Clamage and Judy Nimz of Michael Saunders & Company recently listed the property at $1,080,000.

Paradise in The Oaks

Maureen Harrison of Prudential Palms Realty came upon Sarasota almost by accident. She and her husband visited Naples while the couple was living in Munich, Germany, thinking Florida eventually would be a good place to live. Naples, though, felt like "one big resort," so the Harrisons went sight-seeing up the Tamiami Trail. "We drove through a pair of beautiful gates in a place called The Oaks and I saw the country club," remembers Harrison. "I turned to my husband and told him that I did not care what it cost, that we would build our dream home and live there."

Today, Harrison is an expert on virtually every listing in The Oaks. "I believe this is the loveliest spot in Sarasota and the most prestigious country club in town," she says. "Bay views, superb golf, distinctive wooded lots and superior architecture have kept sales brisk, and my buyers are extremely satisfied. After all, they are living in a tropical paradise."

Harrison has a current listing in The Oaks II featuring 4,885 square feet of living space, five bedrooms, a wine cellar, second-floor bonus room with balcony overlooking the golf course, pool, spa and separate guesthouse. The owner will entertain offers between $1,295,000 and $1,494,876.

Luxury on the Beach

The world-class development team of Taylor Woodrow, the UK-based development company founded in 1921, proudly displays its crown jewel-The Beach Residences on Lido Key. The Beach Residences will share the same location as the Ritz-Carlton Members Beach Club with 400 feet along the pristine white beaches and turquoise water of the Gulf of Mexico. Condominium owners will be provided membership in this prestigious enclave with gorgeous pools, health club facilities, and very private beach and spa amenities. The Beach Residences offer interior floor plans ranging from 1,725 to over 5,000 square feet with Italian marble floors, state-of-the-art technology and designer finishes. Pre-construction prices range from over $1 million to under $5 million.

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