Serenata Sarasota is a brand-new, garden-style community centrally located at the intersection of University Parkway and Tuttle Road, just west of I-75. Residents enjoy convenient access to the beaches, entertainment venues, golf courses and the local airport.
The gated community spans 18 acres of lushly landscaped grounds encompassing a resort-style pool with spacious sun deck, a state-of-the-art fitness center, resident clubroom with media lounge, tennis court, playground, picnic area with barbecue grills and a car-care center.
One-, two- and three-bedroom Serenata residences range from 731 to 1,372 square feet. Each of the 240 units features open kitchen designs, a designer appliance package, custom kitchen cabinetry, walk-in closets, in-unit washers and dryers and oversized windows and patio doors that provide magnificent lake views in many of the condominiums. Prices start from the $200s.
MAID IN SARASOTA Neat freaks with no time for cleaning need not worry about crumbs, smudges or dust bunnies, thanks to the meticulous professionals at The Maids Home Services. When you hire the Maids, "You can expect the healthiest, most thorough housecleaning available," says owner Janet Calladine. Four-person, professionally trained teams follow the company's rigorous 22-Step Healthy Touch deep-cleaning system, using patented backpack vacuums with HEPA filtration, which can rid your home of up to 99 percent of dust, allergens and other pollutants.
The comprehensive and painstaking process includes dust-prone areas under beds and on top of refrigerators, and the Maids are even careful to remove fingerprints from phone receivers, light-switch plates and doorknobs for a germ-free shine. "We clean kitchen and bathroom floors on our hands and knees," Calladine says. "Our attention to detail is what homeowners love."
SELL THAT IN LATIN A local powerhouse in the development of ultra-luxury waterfront properties, Sandcastles of Sarasota has added real estate to its high-end homebuilding expertise for a more comprehensive menu of homebuying services. Sandcastle's newest division, Modus Vivendi, is a Florida-licensed real estate brokerage that provides top-caliber real estate marketing services and also works in-house to help Sandcastles purchase development sites and land-banking properties. Modus vivendi is Latin for "lifestyle."
Sandcastles has been a pioneering leader in the creation of homes for affluent clients and has a number of related operating entities that provide allied services to the ultra-luxury home market.
COME TOGETHER In a coup of Southwest Florida's real estate market, Prudential Palms Realty recently merged with Sarasota's oldest full-service real estate company, Prudential Cascade Realty. The agreement makes Prudential Cascade and its sales agents part of the Prudential Palms company, doubling the size of the sales force to 250 and doubling the number of Prudential Palms offices serving Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties, from six to 12. Corporate headquarters will remain at Prudential Palms' present downtown office location opposite the entrance to The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota.
Scott Sosso, president of Prudential Palms, remains president of the newly expanded company, while Greg Reynolds and Kim Gilliland, managing partners of Prudential Cascade, will hold the titles of senior vice president and vice president, respectively.
"Since 2002, when Prudential Palms began working in this marketplace, we have interacted with all of the local real estate firms," says Helen Sosso, chairman of Prudential Palms. "We have always respected Cascade and its agents. Together, we will be able to offer the experience and knowledge needed to serve customers across the board, in every neighborhood, and at every price range."
SEE YA, STAINLESS Now that the kitchen is getting credit as a great place to hang during laid-back dinners and cocktail parties, kitchen designs are becoming as exciting and varied as any other room in the house. "Color continues to be what people are looking for. Kitchens are not just for stainless steel anymore," says Lisa Klempner of Hill's Showcase of Designer Plumbing. "Silgranit sinks and powder-coated faucets add dimension, warmth, beauty and eye-catching color to the main gathering spot in any home."
And bathrooms deserve similar treatment, she adds. "Decorative tiles and fixtures, stone bowls and glass vessels are easy ways to put color into an ordinary bathroom and make it 'pop.'"
NATURAL HARMONY Land west of I-75 is still hard to come by, which is why Laura Tracy of Weichert, Realtors-On the Circle is getting the word out on an ideal three-and-a-half-acre estate "with old Florida charm" near University Parkway and Lockwood Ridge Road, in exclusive DeSoto Acres. "It is beautiful beyond words," says Tracy. "A canopy of oaks lines the one-lane dirt road as you enter through the brick gate. There is a serene feeling." And potential buyers need to be dedicated to preserving that natural feeling, Tracy says. "The seller is interested in meeting with a developer who would maintain the natural surroundings, keeping in harmony with nature." The estate is currently listed for $1.2 million.
ATRIUM'S THE WORD The Atrium on Ringling, a luxury downtown condominium development expected to break ground this summer, has opened its sales center at 1753 Morrill St.-the site where the 18-story tower will soon be built.
Taking its name from the building's 11-story landscaped atrium, which floods the residential floors with natural light, the mixed-use Atrium will include 88 luxury condominium residences, as well as retail and office space. The residential tower's octagonal shape makes every residence essentially a corner unit, many of which will have water views.
Floor plans range from 2,330 to 3,171 square feet, with terrace homes on the 17th floor and penthouses on the 18th floor. Residences are priced from $699,000 to $1.87 million. The Atrium on Ringling is expected to be completed in late 2007 or early 2008.
SAUNDERS STANDOUT Michael Saunders & Company has appointed Robert E. Stanley to the position of executive director of the New Homes & Condominiums Division. Stanley will oversee the division's operations and sales in addition to creating and guiding division growth strategies. He will direct the activities of nearly 90 staff and sales associates who provide comprehensive planning, marketing and sales services to developers of new homes and condominiums on Florida's Gulf Coast.