Real Estate Go$$ip - April 2006

By staff April 1, 2006


Tucked between Harbor Acres and Cherokee Park, just west of Osprey Avenue, is a shady, quiet slice of Sarasota known as McClellan Park. The neighborhood is a rich blend of cozy cottages, handsome old two-stories and traditional ranches. Pass through the stone and brick columns and meet residents whose roots reach deep and memories go back even further. Stroll to dinner in Southside Village and bike to Morton's for fresh flowers and pastries. McClellan Park has its share of McMansions, but dense landscaping and towering oaks and pines help to hide new construction and salvage privacy. And while you may get the Old Guard to talk about so-and-so's tacky new house down the street, nobody ever mentions money.

Number of McClellan Park properties: 109

Number of sales 11/2004-11/2005: 3

Range of sales prices: $430,000 to $1,175,000

Average sales price: $805,667

Square footage: 1,148 to 2,637 square feet

Sample Sale

A 2,637-square-foot Southern charmer at 1677 Cunliff Lane sold recently for $1,175,000; the list price was $1,295,000. Built in 1950, the frame residence is set on a large lot beneath a grand oak. The interior beckons with wood floors, a wood-burning fireplace, eat-in kitchen, formal foyer entry, oversized family room and French doors opening to a large open porch and bricked pool deck. Tammy Lynn Garner of Michael Saunders & Company was the listing and selling agent. Previous sales: $875,000 in February 2004; $144,000 in May 1990.

Sample Listing

A 1,148-square-foot, two-bedroom cottage at 2400 McClellan Parkway is offered for $499,999. Constructed in 1951, the house is ready for occupancy, or the buyer could utilize plans already in place for new construction. Listing agent is Mary Ann Dabney 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.


A three-bedroom penthouse at The Ritz-Carlton's Beach Residences on Lido Key claimed the recent top spot in residential real estate sales: $4.46 million. The condominium offers 5,254 square feet of lavish living space and a two-car garage. Magnificent views sweep across the Gulf of Mexico, Sarasota Bay and the city skyline with over 400 feet of Gulf frontage on nearly eight acres of prime land.

Luxury amenities at the Beach Residences include concierge services, outdoor pool and spa, social room with media center, bar and fireplace, elegant boardroom, billiards room, state-of-the-art fitness center, theater with tiered seating and two elegant guest suites. A barbecue pavilion, children's play area, gorgeous clubhouse and poolside kitchen make entertaining easy. Residents are also welcome to enjoy the extraordinary beachside amenities of the adjacent Ritz-Carlton Beach Club. Nancy K. Betty was the listing agent, and Annette Ayers was the selling agent; both are with Michael Saunders & Company.

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

NEW WAVE The condo-ization of marinas is sweeping the west coast of Florida, and boaters who yearn to take their hobby to the next level should consider setting sail for Sarasota Harbour Yacht Club. Here they can own their private storage space with wet "dockominium" slips, for vessels up to 60 feet in length, or dry "rackominiums," for boats up to 45 feet. And the concierge-level services make this the ultimate marine experience.

"The average boater spends about two hours preparing to get out on the water and another two hours docking, cleaning and maintaining the boat after coming in," explains Joe Gruters, project manager for Charles Githler, one of the partners in Sarasota Harbour Yacht Club. "Most days, the time spent working is the same as the time spent enjoying, and that's just ridiculous. Our concept caters to high-end ownership and puts the fun back in boating."

Sarasota Harbour offers a 7,500-square-foot clubhouse with gourmet coffee bar, delicatessen, fitness center and full-service bar. Members call to request that their boat be readied, and by the time they arrive dockside, gas tanks are filled, sandwiches and drinks are packed, and ice is in the cooler. At the end of the day, boaters tie up and drive home, leaving the cleaning, maintenance and safe put-away to professionals.

Located on Whitaker Bayou, just north of downtown, Sarasota Harbour's location has no bridges to the bay and a straight shot through New Pass to the Gulf of Mexico. Dry storage space ranges from $110,000 to $170,000, and wet slips average about $200,000. "We have done $18 million in pre-sales, and 35 percent of our inventory is already sold," says Gruters. "The concept is vastly appealing to anyone who enjoys being out on a boat."

WATER COLORS If the perfect home is a means of self-expression, then creative types must see this artfully elegant waterfront listing on Anna Maria Island. Situated on a slender slice of the island at 13th Street South, the residence has the Intracoastal Waterway in its back yard and the Gulf of Mexico just half a block away. A new dock overlooks protected water with twinkling bridge lights in the background, far enough away to stifle traffic sounds.

"The owners have made a lifestyle of creating very unusual homes," explains listing agent Terry Hayes of Sky Sotheby's International Realty. Originally from Aspen, they are now working on a house in the countryside of France. "In creating this Anna Maria beach home, they designed it to reflect the Versace vision of light, color and texture. It is truly an authentic work of art."

Sculptured steel gates open into an Indonesian courtyard featuring a ceramic fountain by artists Russell Bogt and John Turula. A turquoise rock waterfall, three old wooden arches from India and a white marble honeycombed wall adorn the exterior living spaces. Inside, antique windows, 200-year-old wood columns in the living room and a 19th-century English mahogany cupboard add warmth and eye appeal. Sea urchins are embedded in the granite, and Sarasota artist Pat Gawle hand-painted backsplash tiles to reflect light as the sun changes positions in the sky. Antique vendor carts with leaded glass were used for upper kitchen cabinets, while lower cabinets were hand-carved of teak by a master craftsman who worked in-residence for six months.

"This is a very special property that appeals to a very special segment of the real estate market," says Hayes. "While the living space is not huge, it is extremely beautiful and rare. Every detail is significant." The home is listed for $2.45 million.


A private Casey Key residence was recently selected as one of only six houses in the United States to be published in Modern House Three, a new book published by Phaidon on contemporary architecture around the world. The home was designed by Toshiko Mori of New York City and built by Michael K. Walker & Associates. Only 34 houses worldwide were chosen for the book, which features photographs and descriptions of architecturally significant contemporary residences.

WINNING ON THE WEB Broker/realtor Debra Pitell is the top winner in the Florida Association of Realtors 2005 Sales Associate Web Site Contest. Her Web site,, placed first among all sales associates' Web sites in the state. Debbie Zaroba of Marketing & Design Services, a principal of Nu Image Group, was the designer. Touted for attractive design and comprehensive information for online visitors and lead-generating mechanisms, Pitell's site boasts "stunning aerial photos giving terrific market-area orientation," and "elegant, graceful design," according to national real estate expert and judge Dan Gooder Richard.

Pitell, who generated more than $20 million in sales during the first eight months of 2005, credits her site with much of her success. "My sales volume just keeps going up, and one of the reasons is the high-quality leads I receive from my site," she says. Although Pitell has a professional manage the site, she still checks it herself several times each week to make sure that the latest listing information is available and that virtual tours and property searches are functioning properly. "There is nothing worse than going into a Web site and not being able to pull up the information you want," says Pitell. "I go into my site like a buyer to make sure everything is working."

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