Real Estate Gossip

By staff February 1, 2007

Neighborhood Watch


Often referred to as the “Gateway to Siesta Key,” the exclusive waterfront neighborhood of Bay Island offers an eclectic mix of multimillion-dollar estates and cozy cottages on some of the best boating water around. Residents catch fresh stone crabs from their docks while overlooking a panoramic view of the growing city skyline, and boaters can reach the Gulf in minutes. Back in 1911, the (now vanished) Bay Island Hotel was built on Norsota Way, complete with a boat basin and ferry that transported clients back and forth to the mainland. True island living, this neighborhood is home to old Sarasota along with newcomers seeking a tropical paradise.

Number of Bay Island properties: 230

Number of sales 11/2005 to 11/2006: 6

Range of sales prices 11/2005 to 11/2006: $1.65 million to $3,188,000

Average sales price: $2.25 million

Square footage: 1,414 to 4,605 square feet

Sample Listing

This Key West-style residence at 750 Freeling Drive is offered for sale at $4.5 million. Situated on a waterfront point with sweeping bay views and deep water dockage, the five-bedroom home settles nicely on a half-acre lot with lush tropical landscaping and fruit trees. The home has a separate children’s wing, guest area and extensive lower-level bonus space. A gorgeous swimming pool is surrounded by expansive outdoor decks. Lenore Treiman of Michael Saunders & Company is the listing agent.

Sample Sale

A newly renovated Old Florida home at 647 Norsota Way sold recently for $3,188,805 after a revised listing price of $3,725,000 and an original listing price of $3,995,000. The house, built in 1926, has 2,323 square feet of charming living space with three bedrooms and three baths. Considerable upgrades include new kitchen and baths. The property offers 116 feet of direct bayfront with magnificent views of downtown and the Ringling Causeway. A private dock with davits is already in place. Keith Whitfield of Coldwell Banker was the selling agent; Joyce Naegele of Michael Saunders & Company was the listing agent.

MLS statistics courtesy of Christy Neff of Michael Saunders & Company. MLS records transactions and listings by members of the Sarasota Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.


A contemporary brick-and-stone home at 21 N. Sandy Hook Road on Siesta Key captures top spot for recent real estate sales. The four-bedroom residence, on 163 feet of Gulf-front property, sold for $4,345,000 following a revised list price of $4,490,000 and an original price of $4.95 million. Built in 1970, the 5,506-square-foot house has an open patio with wide waterfront vistas, plus a cove with a boat lift that can accommodate a 10,000-pound vessel. “The first time we drove down the street, we saw a glimpse of Old Florida and felt we had entered a magical place,” the buyer, who wishes to remain anonymous, explains, “and then we fell madly in love with the architectural style of the house. We just knew this was the home we had been searching for.” Klaus Lang was the listing agent; Jeanne Ballock was the selling agent. Both are with Michael Saunders & Company.

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

HIGHEST OF HIGH END Sarasota’s red-hot real estate market may have cooled, but several multimillion-dollar properties are attracting national notice. During the past year, 30 transactions for homes topping the $3 million mark closed in Sarasota, and buyers in the high-end $10-million-plus category are still shopping.

Consider, for example, author Stephen King’s Casey Key neighbor, whose custom-built compound sprawling across six Gulf-to-Bay acres is listed for sale for $23 million. This is a private, or “pocket” listing that will not be found on the MLS and most recently could only be accessed through Brandon Clark of Michael Saunders & Company. Also on Casey Key is another home for sale, reduced from its original $20 million price to $18.5 million.

Then there is the ultra-luxurious Longboat Key beachfront enclave of Regent Court, where Judy Kepecz-Hays of Coldwell Banker has a listing for $12.9 million. The eight-bedroom, nine-bath mansion is called Las Fuentes, or The Fountains. It has almost 8,000 square feet of living space with marble floors, French doors and high ceilings. And it’s situated directly on the beach, with views overlooking an infinity-edge pool that appears to empty directly into the Gulf of Mexico. An elevator, 12-car garage and outdoor rooftop living room are among its impressive features. While Las Fuentas would not set a residential sales record, it would come very close. The mark to beat is $13 million for a home that sold last spring at 1067 Westway Drive in Lido Shores.

A FRESH FLAVOR City Place at Pineapple Square in downtown Sarasota is now accepting new reservations for its one-, two- and three-bedroom residences following its successful launch to pre-registrants, who have reserved more than a third of the condominiums. Residences range in size from 850 to 2,100 square feet, with more than 30 different floor plans to choose from. Prices start in the $600,000s; Michael Saunders & Company is handling sales. Groundbreaking is set for this spring.


Real estate agents are becoming quite creative in attracting potential buyers to open houses, but Linda Page of Prudential Palms Realty has really raised the bar. In November, she invited all the residents of Beau Ciel, their guests and all her prospective buyers to an evening of delicious food, live music and a crimson sunset splashed across Sarasota Bay.

Prudential Palms agents were stationed in all five of Page’s listings (the only residences left for sale in this glamorous tower near the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall). Guests sampled the martini bar and enjoyed the music of a concert-level pianist and clarinetist in one unit while a harpist performed in the majestic two-story penthouse. Guests were encouraged to take their time to meet and mingle.

“We started the function at five o’clock to allow everyone to enjoy the views,” explains Page, “and we endeavored to offer guests a glimpse of how they could entertain in their homes if they lived at Beau Ciel.”

Beau Ciel is one of downtown Sarasota’s hottest addresses right now, Page says, with three sales in the last five weeks. Her listings there range from $1,395,000 to $3,995,000 for the penthouse. “As a Beau Ciel resident, it’s a pleasure for me to show people through the building,” she says. “I love my downtown address.”

KEEPING WITH TRADITION Southern charm in old Oyster Bay defines Kim and Michael Ogilvie’s newest listing at 1320 Quail Drive, offered for sale at $3.19 million. This 4,450- square-foot Carolina plantation-style house is a custom builder’s own home, with five bedrooms, a large game room with fireplace, wide plank floors of yellow pine and wind-resistant windows. Built in 2000, the home sits beautifully on a lushly landscaped lawn. Verandas overlook an open swimming pool, 40-foot dock and boat lift on a deepwater canal at the mouth of Sarasota Bay.

PERFECT TIMING When Janis Collier of Michael Saunders & Company was asked to list a home in Woodland Lakes, she believed her pricing to be aggressive—yet no offers were forthcoming.

“This was an incredible house, and since I had already listed it once before and sold it very quickly, I really knew the features and the neighborhood,” says Collier. Yet the $1.65 million price tag attracted no buyers. So Collier and her client lowered the price to $1.35 million. Within two days, they received a solid offer, followed swiftly by another offer.

“The second buyer was just crushed that he had missed out, and as luck would have it, during the exact time period when I was consoling him, I coincidentally wound up listing the house right next door,” says Collier. “It was the home of a friend. So I showed this brand-new listing to my second guy. This house had the same gorgeous trees, same gorgeous neighborhood, same gorgeous lake views. And 10 days later, he bought it.”

With two happy sellers and two happy buyers, Collier is satisfied. But the positives just do not stop. “My second listing was less pricey, and the buyer loved that, but it was also a smaller home,” she explains. “Wouldn’t you know, the buyer just happens to be a builder, and the seller just happens to have plans already drawn up for the addition of another bedroom and a bonus room, which is exactly what the buyer wants to add! I love it when things work out.”

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