Real Estate Gossip - September 2004

By staff September 1, 2004

Secluded Casey Key

A quaint swing bridge separates secluded Casey Key from the mainland. The exclusive island is home to schools of dolphin, an impressive variety of bird life and a collection of discerning homeowners who do not mind paying a price for privacy. The houses are breathtaking and the views even better. Celebrities, native Floridians, business executives, retirees, families, artists and architects make up this eclectic neighborhood featuring some of South Florida's most spectacular residences. And they're getting bigger all the time; the last couple of years have seen two mega-homes of over 20,000 square feet built.


NUMBER OF SALES, 7/2003-7/2004: 33

SALES PRICES FROM 7/2003-7/2004: $540,000 to $4.6 million

SQUARE FOOTAGE OF THOSE HOMES: 450 to 4,200 square feet


This 4,531-square-foot Gulf-to-Bay residence at 2555 Casey Key Road was listed at $4.25 million and sold for $4.1 million. Built in 1982, it has a private beach, dock and pool on three beautiful acres. Martin Doyle of Prestige Realty Sarasota, Inc. was the listing agent; Tony DiCerbo of Heritage Oaks Golf & Country Club Realty was the selling agent.


Palazzo della Luna, at 3601 Casey Key Road, offers 6,817 square feet of Tuscany-styled luxury living on the Gulf of Mexico. Multiple patios, terraces and loggias offer views of lushly landscaped grounds, a salt-system swimming pool and a private 300-foot beach. The home has six bedrooms and seven baths, an elevator, a dumbwaiter to a dining terrace overlooking the Gulf, wood-paneled library, media room and wet bar. Pecky cypress ceilings abound. Offered for sale at $6.9 million by Deborah Beacham of Coldwell Banker.

MLS statistics courtesy of Deborah Beacham of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate. MLS records transactions and listings by members of the Sarasota Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.

Top of the Market

A 7,200-square-foot Tuscan-styled residence in the beachfront enclave of the Longboat Key Club claims top spot for recent sales. The home, at 70 Lighthouse Point Road, was listed at $7.5 million and sold for $6.35 million. It fronts on both the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay with magnificent views of city skyline and far horizons. Four bedrooms, two guest suites, a home theater, exercise room, elaborate master bath with separate dressing room, and three fireplaces are included. As expected at this price point, fine details abound, including custom cabinetry, elaborate woodwork, granite, butler's pantry and climate-controlled three-car garage. Ronald Baldwin of Ron Baldwin & Associates, Inc. was the selling agent; the property was listed with Coldwell Banker.

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

Celebrity watch

Re/Max realtor John Atkin, who hails from Great Britain and regularly charms potential buyers with his proper accent and impeccable manners, has a "fabulous" listing offering 7,600-plus square feet in Siesta Key's private Sanderling Club. "The custom design is contemporary, adjacent to the lagoon on almost one complete acre," he says. "It's ideal for a secluded hideaway and would be perfect for someone famous because it offers gated security, peace and quiet, total privacy and expansive living space. This is the real deal."

Living Large

Another opportunity for high-profile living is the spectacular 10,000-square-foot Siesta Key home offered by Marcia Salkin and Pauline Soublis of Michael Saunders & Company. This residence was custom-built in 1997 by M.L. Collingwood for owners from Los Angeles and features a full gymnasium, two swimming pools, expansive guest suite, enormous kitchen built for entertaining and a 12-seat state-of-the-art home theater. A protected deepwater basin and boat dock overlook Sarasota Bay within a very private setting. Speculation is that this property will go to a buyer in the entertainment or sports world. Calls are already coming in from New York, California, Miami and Chicago with keenest interest from buyers who like to see and be seen. The residence is listed for $5.995 million.

Lasagna capers

Barbara Dumbaugh of Michael Saunders & Company was pleased when notified that her listing was being shown for the second time to a very interested buyer. But her satisfaction turned to incredulity when the realtor called to thank her for going the extra mile and baking a delicious homemade lasagna during the showing. That touch, he went on, made the sale, because the buyer grew up in an Italian family and associated the fragrance with wonderful memories of home.

"I sat there listening to him go on and on, praising me for the effort, and finally I interrupted to explain that he must have me confused with someone else, or he showed a different house because my listing was vacant," explains Dumbaugh. "The seller was living in California! I mean, sure, I had gone into the house and placed props around here and there to make the interior more attractive because I always do that with empty houses, but nobody was home cooking."

Checking and double-checking revealed that it was in fact Dumbaugh's vacant listing, and that news prompted an investigative search. She met the selling agent at the scene and they discovered a very sheepish neighbor coming out the back door with a pan of freshly baked lasagna. Seems the neighbor's oven was broken, a dinner party was in the works and he discovered a way to unlock the sliders and access the kitchen of the empty house next door.

"This particular seller was probably one of the most meticulous women I have ever met, and she was extremely concerned about who had access to her house," explains Dumbaugh. "I had the slider locks repaired and refrained from any mention of the incident until after the closing. Then I told her the lasagna story and went on to say that her presumptuous neighbor had, in fact, helped close the deal. Even after the fact, she was not amused."

Breaking records

Barbara Ackerman of Coldwell Banker Previews International Longboat Key office has sold the highest-priced condominium ever recorded by the Multiple Listing Service on Longboat Key: $5.999 million for a 5,100-square-foot penthouse at L'Ambiance. Previously, the highest-priced Longboat Key condominium was another L'Ambiance penthouse that closed at $4.999 million.

A spiff-up for the Selby House

The original 1920s-era home of early Sarasota philanthropists Bill and Marie Selby, on the grounds of what is now the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, will undergo restoration thanks to a $215,500 grant from the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation. The 4,000-square-foot Mediterranean Revival home, built in 1921, has beautiful views from its site overlooking Sarasota Bay. Groves of mature banyan trees and giant bamboo that shade the property were actually planted by the couple, who, despite their great wealth, lived simply and loved outdoor pursuits-fishing, horseback riding and gardening-above all else. Currently, the Selby house is used for community education programs and exhibits and also houses Michael's In the Garden Café. Grant monies will be used to replace windows, construct ADA-accessible restroom facilities and make general structural improvements.

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