Once upon a time, not so long ago, millionaires would probably not have strolled down Fourth Street in the Rosemary District, much less call it home. But the location—between Fruitville Road and 10th Street, and Tamiami Trail and Orange Avenue—along with a hot real estate market have transformed the once-humble neighborhood.  The “build and they will come” strategy worked.

The latest project is a sister to Zahrada, the ultra-modern, boutique townhouse and retail project that stands three stories high right across from the Blue Rooster on Fourth Street. At $1.3 million to $1.85 million each, Zahadra's condos were the most costly residences on the street, and they sold out by the time building was complete this year.

Now Zahrada II, next door, is scheduled to break ground in January. The project is designed by Halflants + Pichette, the same Sarasota-based architects who did the original Zahrada. The residences include high ceilings, open floor plans, European finishes, floor-to-ceiling glass, terraces and private garden spaces. 

Frank Lambert, a broker-associate with Premier Sotheby’s, expects the build on the 10,500-square-foot lot to take 15 to 18 months.

The project originally consisted of 18 residences and four retail spaces, but that number is now 16 residences, since demand for larger living spaces increased and two two-bedroom residences have been combined to add two more four-bedroom units. One has already sold for $1.45 million.

The other units range from $490,000 for the one-bedroom, 727 square-foot units, to $750,000 for the two-bedroom units, which range from 921 square feet to 1,117 square feet. The two original, roughly 2,153 square-foot, three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom penthouses are priced at $1.5 million and will have direct elevator access, 13-foot-high ceilings and two terraces each.

Eight of the residences have already sold. “I think by the end of next week we'll be more than 50 percent sold,” says Lambert.

A recent national report highlighted Sarasota as one of its top “Power Players,” where baby boomers are buying the majority of the homes in the $1 million to $5 million price range—and buying them now. More than twice as many homes in that price range have sold in Sarasota and Manatee counties so far this year than in all of 2019.

Five years ago, when Lambert represented Rosemary District homes listed in the $500,00 range, "other realtors said I was nuts,” he recalls. He credits the transformation to a recent city overlay district that permits greater density, allowing the neighborhood to grow.

Lambert remembers driving clients around the neighborhood with a hand-drawn map of all the upcoming projects in store to show them the future value. “Now I don't have to do that,” he says.

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