Timing is everything, and unfortunately, sales at The Concession Golf Club and Residences suffered mightily as it debuted smack in the middle of the housing bubble five years ago. But the rough patch appears to be over for the 1,200-acre gated community, according to Sarasota builder Roy Dupuis, whose spectacular Grand Cypress and Villa San Michelle model homes opened just as Golf Digest magazine named The Concession Golf Club the best new private golf course in the country for 2006.
President of Anchor Builders of Southwest Florida and a specialist in high-end waterfront estates and country club homes, Dupuis says his company’s sales reflect a significant uptick in local construction. “Our custom business came back first on the waterfront and West of Trail, and now we find that golf communities are returning to activity. We’re seeing much more traffic through country club models,” he explains. That’s good news for The Concession, which is fine-tuning its residential builder program to add more builders and home design choices, including smaller jewel box homes in keeping with national housing trends.
To that point, Dupuis recently began selling three new model homes at Nicklaus Manor, a separate gated enclave at the Concession where the land is owned by Nicklaus Investments, Inc. “All homes in Nicklaus Manor have half-acre sites, which are appropriate for 2,800- to 5,600-square-foot houses,” Dupuis says. “The Bella Sera model is 2,801 feet under air and starts at $848,000 including home site. That’s a great price for a high-end home in a prestigious golf community like the Concession.”
While the Bella Sera has a large great room and kitchen with dining area overlooking the pool, it’s designed for people who don’t want a living room and dining room. Those who do want both will be pleasantly surprised by the unique layouts of Anchor’s new Siena I (from $980,000 for 3,860 under air) and Siena II (from $1,011,000 for 4,256 square feet). The dining room in both models is toward the rear of the home, a trend we reported on last month. All three homes include pool, spa, and a three-car garage and are quoted with a home site priced at $175,000.
Right now, potential buyers are shown architect’s renderings of the new models, but clients can visit Anchor’s original Grand Cypress model (priced at $1.89 million on a double lot on Farington Court) to get a firsthand look at the builder’s top-notch quality. Its luxurious 5,647-square-foot design can also be built on a half-acre site in Nicklaus Manor for $1,582,000, Dupuis says.
Death, taxes—and roof replacement? “It’s one of my biggest fears,” said a Laurel Oak resident I met recently on a plane from Atlanta to SRQ. The thunderstorm we were flying through didn’t faze him, but the inevitability of replacing his roof—and the attendant costs—had him terrified. A new roof in Sarasota can range from $15,000 to $50,000 and up ($30,000-$35,000 is average for tile), depending on square footage and the material selected. In today’s economy, with many homeowners struggling to pay the monthly mortgage, roof replacement can be the tipping point toward foreclosure.
Since 2007, Florida building codes have added significantly to the cost of a roof. Secondary water barriers are required, roof deck attachments and fasteners must be strengthened or corrected, and when the roof covering is replaced and the building is insured for $300,000 or more, roof-to-wall connections must be enhanced. Materials costs have also increased along with oil prices, especially for asphalt shingles, a petroleum-based product. In fact, shingle roofs now cost about 80 percent of the cost of cement tile roofs.
Still, many Sarasota homeowners with barrel tile roofs are considering replacing them with shingles to save money. Homeowners’ associations are lifting restrictions that required replacements of tile roofs with like materials. That helps costwise, but aesthetics are another story. Since the 1990s mid-price homes throughout Florida were designed to look more expensive (i.e., larger) by increasing the vertical pitch and therefore the presence of the roof. “Architects added arches and other design elements that also had to be covered with roofing,” explains Gary Curry, founder of Sarasota-based roofing contracting company Roofing by Curry. The expansiveness of the tile roofing surface of local homes means that a switch to shingles will significantly change the look of a home, and in turn affect the overall look of the street.
“We find that the price of cement tile vs. shingles is not as much of a concern to owners of homes over 2,500 square feet as it is to people with smaller homes,” says Curry, who does new roofs for builders like John Cannon Homes and roof replacements throughout Sarasota County. One of only 56 contractors in the U.S. to have earned all three of the Master Elite Excellence Awards from GAF (North America’s largest roofing manufacturer), Curry says homeowners should be doing more preventive work to help roofs last longer. “The mortar and cement work has to be looked at, because most problems with tile roofs occur around the valley areas [between sections with different pitch heights], and the eaves should be checked for dampness or leaks. Also be sure to keep debris out of gutters and palm branches off shingles [constant scratching removes the surface and encourages mold, etc.],” Curry explains.
Periodic inspections by professionals are imperative and well worth the cost, says award-winning local builder Josh Wynne of Josh Wynne Construction, who is a state-certified roofing contractor. Wynne does roofing work only for his own building projects but advises getting three bids on your roof replacement. “Too many consumers ask for three bids and then get one on tile, one on shingle and one on metal. You have to be sure you have competitive bids on the exact same material—all shingles, for example. And have an attorney look over your contract before you sign it. For an extra $150, you’ll have peace of mind, and it could save you much more money in the long run,” he says.