Real Estate Go$$ip - July 2005

By staff July 1, 2005

Neighborhood Watch


Forty years ago at a gas station on Tamiami Trail, children begged their parents for a dime to look through a telescopic viewfinder machine and see eagle nests high in the pines in a wooded parcel of land west of U.S 41. This is how The Landings got its name, and while eagles are still seen landing on their nests on occasion, this neighborhood is best known now for its excellent location, handsome homes, winding streets and ample green space. There is a clubhouse with pool and tennis courts, and residences offer a good mix of architectural styles that must be approved by a review board.

NUMBER OF LANDINGS PROPERTIES: 702 (230 single-family, 472 condos and villas).

NUMBER OF SALES 5/2004-5/2005: 18 single-family, 33 condos and villas.

SALES PRICES FROM 5/2004-5/2005: (single-family) $435,000 to $1,155,000; (condos and villas) $220,000 to $1.275 million.

SQUARE FOOTAGE OF THOSE HOMES: (single-family) 2,272 to 4,251 square feet; (condos and villas) 1,368 to 2,943 square feet.

Sample Sale

A 4,251-square-foot home at 1622 Peregrine Point Drive sold recently for $1.155 million, with an original asking price of $1.195 million. It was just redone to sophisticated perfection with custom maple cabinetry and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen. Anne Mitchell of Michael Saunders & Company was the selling agent. Previous sale: $697,000 in 2002.

Sample Listing

A 5,410-square-foot, two-level home at 1684 Peregrine Point Drive has five-plus bedrooms, high ceilings and an impressive caged pool area with private, walled backyard and tropical landscaping. The property is listed at $1.499 million by Lenore Treiman of Michael Saunders & Company.

Top of the Market

An $8.847-million price tag places a Venetian villa at 1313 Westway Drive in Lido Shores at the top of the market in recent sales. Built by Adrienne and Gigi Vittadini, the six-bedroom, 6,788-square-foot home has classic Old World detailing. A lovely loggia offers splendid sunset views across New Pass. Linda Dickinson was the listing agent and Gail Wittig was the selling agent; both are with Michael Saunders & Company.

Horsing Around

When a lavish equestrian estate on six acres of park-like grounds in Saddle Creek became available, Sky Sotheby realtor Sharon Straw was elated. "You enter the property through a beautiful gate and then wind along this gorgeous landscaped driveway past trees and flowers to get to the house," describes Straw. "The home is beautiful and features one pond in front and another pond in back, a dressage ring, five-stall stable and two-story decks overlooking all of this gorgeous land."

The home is styled after the luxurious haciendas of California, with a Spanish tile roof, arched openings and lots of imported tile. The stable is state-of-the art, and there is adequate space to add guest quarters. "I show this home to people who hunger for green space," Straw explains. "These prospectives currently live on Siesta Key or Longboat Key and they are tired of rubbing elbows with their neighbors. Here it is very peaceful and you can really breathe." Her clients love touring the stable with a realtor whose last name is Straw, although one confused client refers to her as "Mrs. Wheat." The estate is listed at $1.4 million.

Buyers Only

David Bouverat has appraised thousands of Sarasota homes. He is also a licensed real estate broker. But he will not sell you a house-he helps you buy one. Bouverat is a buyer's broker, representing buyers exclusively. This concept started in California and is gaining momentum in hot markets where supply is low and sellers are calling the shots.

"I carved this niche out for myself in order to compete with the giant real estate companies," explains Bouverat. "I list no properties, work exclusively for my buyers and have the appraisal knowledge to determine whether the value is really there." Buyers enjoy the complete confidentiality and loyalty that only a single agent can offer, and Bouverat is not afraid to say no. "I will tell buyers, 'Don't do it' when I believe a property is overpriced," he says. "My motivation is never to push the most expensive piece of property but to help my clients find the property of greatest value. Ultimately, I save them money; and judging from my repeats and referrals, buyers like this. In the current Sarasota real estate market, I believe my services are needed more than ever."

Going Nowhere

Eagle Point Club is touted as Venice's premier water community with its small enclave of Key West-styled luxury homes, deep-water docks and no bridges to the Gulf of Mexico. It boasts a 1920s-era clubhouse built as a hunting and fishing lodge and a handful of charming original guest cottages still used for out-of-town company. "Residents feel they have the ultimate location because they can bicycle downtown, walk to the beaches and boat to the Gulf in just minutes," says Greg Novak of Michael Saunders & Company. A typical residence is Novak's listing featuring four bedrooms, den, elevator, observation deck, pool, deeded deep-water dockage and lovely landscaped yard for the list price of $1.795 million. But if Eagle Point Club is so wonderful, why would anyone ever sell and move away? "Because," explains Novak, "the sellers just purchased the $3.7-million home across the street."

Reach for the Sky

The next time you drive along Gulfstream Avenue, glance skyward at the impressive wall of 30-foot windows atop Marina Tower. The 4,000-square-foot, two-story penthouse on its 15th floor has been called the jewel in the crown of Sarasota's downtown residential scene. From the two-story living room and master bedroom above, one can see all the way from Selby Gardens across Siesta Key's north bridge to Lido and Longboat Key. From the roof garden off the master suite, the view spans the other 180 degrees to include all of Sarasota's restaurants and theaters, the library, the waterfront skyline and north to the bay beyond. The penthouse features three bedroom suites with private full baths and a powder room. Floors are marble, the kitchen is maple with black granite, finishes are lavish and contemporary and there's a strong urban feel with 35-foot ceilings.

"The owner is a Manhattan resident who lives on Park Avenue," explains listing agent Susan McLeod of Michael Saunders & Company. "He fell in love with the city views because it felt familiar to him, but the children and grandchildren prefer to visit at his beachfront residence on Longboat, so he decided to sell the penthouse."

One other feature offered by Marina Tower makes this location ideal for boaters. Marina Jack now offers dock space for yachts as large as 150 feet. Yachting enthusiasts can keep an eye on their vessels from the living room and simply walk across the street to step aboard. "I've shown the penthouse to celebrities, celebrity scouts, single men looking for that perfect bachelor pad, locals, Europeans and out-of-towners from Los Angeles to New York," McLeod says. "Everyone likes the floor plan and the amenities, which include fitness center, pool and spa, clubhouse, guest suites and board room. But what they love is the view." The penthouse is priced at $3.85 million.

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