Real Estate & Design

By Ilene Denton November 1, 2009


Properties are starting to move on Casey Key, if the price is right, say real estate experts. In September Charlotte Hedge of Signature Sotheby’s International Realty sold a three-bedroom Gulf-front home at 805 Casey Key Road for $1.7 million to a New England couple who’d been looking on the key for more than three years.

“Some prices didn’t make sense until this January,” says Hedge. “That’s when he said, ‘I don’t want to miss the market.’” The home was built in 1949 and updated over the years. Her clients will demolish the garage and build a new one with upstairs guest suite. Signature Sotheby’s agents sold two other Casey Key homes this year: Joel Schemmel sold the “Sugar Bay Estate” at 1538 Casey Key Road for $6.2 million in late July, and in August Maureen and Matt Morris sold a home with a rare boathouse at 1512 Casey Key Road for $2.3 million. Those buyers had been looking here for two years.


Potential homebuyers aren’t surprised that U.S. News and World Report last summer named Sarasota one of America’s “10 Best Undervalued Places to Live,” and reported that our real estate market is undervalued by 28 percent. Here’s proof: a ninth-floor luxury condominium in Beau Ciel that’s listed at $975,000 by Barbara Ackerman of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate.

The two-bedroom, 2,335-square-foot home, owned by a prominent Sarasota socialite, has magnificent views looking out over G.WIZ and up Sarasota Bay. “It’s got custom everything,” Ackerman says, with loads of built-ins and decorator touches. “The drama starts the minute you get out of the elevator.” The condo started out at “way over a million dollars,” she says, “and now it’s listed at $975,000.” That made it, at press time, the least expensive apartment on the market in Beau Ciel.


Just in time for the opening of The Concession Golf Club's new clubhouse with its much-anticipated restaurant run by Beach Bistro maestro Sean Murphy: Golf magazine named the Jack Nicklaus-Tony Jacklin designed course to its 2009 ranking of Top 100 golf courses in the country. Golf Digest also ranked The Concession Golf Club in its 75 Best Practice Areas last spring, and Golfweek named it in its Top 10 residential golf courses in the U.S.

Top of The Market

A three-bedroom condominium at 532 Beach Road, right on world-famous Siesta Key Beach, sold in August for $2.5 million after an original list price of $2.95 million, making it the highest-priced sale of the month. Built in 2007, it has 4,273 square feet of well-appointed living space in a building with just two other units. William Hackett and Michael Hays were the listing agents, and Karen Chandler was the selling agent; all are with Michael Saunders & Company. Sales information provided by Kim Ogilvie of Michael Saunders & Company.

What’s Next? 

SMALL BUT MIGHTYCondo dwellers, take note: The curvy new mimo collection of bath-room furnishings by the Swiss manufacturing company, Laufen, may be small-scale, but with its high-spirited graphics, it doesn’t stint on good design. Also available in bold pink and white, it’s green, too, since the cabinets are made of recycled materials. This summer, Laufen was rewarded for its ingenuity with a 2009 red dot global design award.


Neighborhood Watch  

Golden Gate Point grows up.

Several swank high-rises that went up during the height of the real estate boom transformed Golden Gate Point from a collection of modest one- and two-story vacation villas into one of Sarasota’s poshest neighborhoods. The 22-acre peninsula juts into Sarasota Bay between downtown Sarasota and Bird Key. It’s that strategic setting, plus sublime water views, that draws buyers.

“They love it because they can walk to both St. Armands Circle and downtown, or across the street to have cocktails outside at the Ritz,” says Sylvia Zimmerman of Prudential Palms Realty. “I can’t think of a better location.”

One new condominium project, Alta Mer II, is slated for construction when the market improves. And construction is nearly complete on an ambitious beautification project embarked upon by the City of Sarasota and the neighborhood, which includes moving utilities underground and installing paver sidewalks, additional parking, lighting and landscaping. “Investment-wise, as our market comes back, these improvements will enhance values tremendously,” says Zimmerman.

Total number of Golden Gate Point properties: 284 Total number of sales from 8/2008 to 8/2009: 15 Range of sale prices: $199,400 to $2.5 million Range of square footage: 716 to 3,290


SAMPLE LISTING This luxury four-bedroom condominium at Grande Riviera, 420 Golden Gate Point, is listed at $3,695,000 by Sylvia Zimmerman of Prudential Palms Realty. At 3,906 square feet, it’s bigger than many single-family homes. A two-car garage and boat dock are included.

RECENT SALE This 3,237-square-foot condominium in The Renaissance, 378 Golden Gate Point, sold for $1,275,000 after an original list price of $1,599,000. It boasts panoramic city skyline and bay and Gulf views from its six balconies. The buyer, the recently retired CFO of a large corporation, spent the last several months completely renovating it. Carolyn and Gary Collins of Signature Sotheby’s International Realty were the listing agents; Sylvia Zimmerman of Prudential Palms Realty was the selling agent.

MLS statistics courtesy of Sylvia Zimmerman of Prudential Palms Realty. MLS records transactions and listings by members of the Sarasota Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.


Designing Mind

Sarasota-based fabric designer Laurie Jenkins of Laurie Bell Fabrics is on a mission to brighten up our outdoor spaces with her new line of “quick-ship” custom-designed outdoor pillows, available nationally. Here, she indulges in a little pillow talk:

Tell us about yourself. I have degrees in chemistry and business, and was selling chemicals to textile firms in South Carolina and North Carolina when I got involved in product development. Then I went to work for Burlington Industries, which got me into outdoor fabrics. I fell in love with the whole industry. We’re making something for people to have fun with—relaxing, having friends and family over. You have a big impact on people’s lives. I quit corporate in 1999, consulted and then formed Laurie Bell in 2002. I came here to work and fell in love with the area. I moved here in October 2007. You advise Florida homeowners to reach for bold colors. Sunlight automatically dilutes color, so people shouldn’t be afraid to use color outside. Nature is not boring; you don’t see beige colors outside, so why do we have beige fabrics? With cushions you can get more adventuresome; it’s a fun way to get pizzazz. What’s hot right now?I consult for Brown Jordan, Gloster Furniture and the Front Gate catalogue company, so I know what’s selling. My pillows are made to go with the most popular frame colors and cushions, and since chocolate brown is over 50 percent of all outdoor furniture sales, we get into fabrics that are terra cotta or bronze with some gold in it for warmth and depth. We like it in Sarasota because of all the Mediterranean-inspired architecture. What else works here?Aqua green and blue, what I call aquatic, is coming on strong, too, especially with silver and gray furniture. It looks good against the more modern architecture we have in Sarasota. What about your own home? My house is open with sliding glass doors and benches outdoors, and my dining room chairs and sofa are upholstered in outdoor fabrics so it all flows. When people come over I don’t care if they spill stuff. What’s your favorite way to entertain outdoors? I’m very casual; I put the music on, put the drinks out and let it mix up. How can you make your outdoor space more functional? Look at the sun orientation, how the sun hits your space. Are there things you can do with drapes, or shielding with an arbor, to make it more livable? Make it as comfortable as possible, because the most comfortable it is, the more you’re going to use it. That’s why we live in Florida, after all, because of the weather. Any more advice? Understand what gives decorative pillows quality. The longest-lasting fabrics are 100 percent acrylic with designs that are not printed but woven into the fabrics to protect against fading and wear and tear. Pillows that incorporate textured fabrics and trims with boucle and chenille yarns can bring your outdoor design up a notch or two.


Green Report  

Icy Hot

Ten million glass bottles have been spared from the landfill and transformed into beautiful, durable countertops made of 100 percent recycled glass and concrete, thanks to the folks at IceStone. Manufactured in a daylit, repurposed Brooklyn factory where even the machine lubricants are soy-based, IceStone qualifies for LEED credits and comes in 29 handsome colors. It won a coveted 2009 Green Log Home Award, which singles out a few of the nation’s very best innovative green building solutions. Eurostone Marble and Granite is the exclusive distributor in Sarasota and Manatee counties;

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