Sometimes four-car garages just don’t cut it. Especially for families like John Graybeal's. He wasn’t sure how many cars his wife owned, but she quickly piped up when he asked her which was her most prized: a 1928 Ford A that "runs like a Swiss watch."
The car-racing family of four moved from Illinois to Country Club East in Lakewood Ranch roughly two years ago, and thanks to Luxe Dream Garage, their car collection, including the old Ford, will soon join them.
Just east of Waterside in Lakewood Ranch, the customizable, private car condo building, Luxe I, broke ground this weekend following the local Cars & Coffee meet-up at The Mall at University Town Center, where hundreds of eye-catching engines and their proud drivers converge regularly.
Owners of a Luxe Dream Garage car condo will be able to store RVs and boats there, too. Perhaps most importantly, condo owners can connect with fellow neighbors who share the same auto obsessions.
For Graybeal, it’s personal. “It's very important for us. My daughter is 15 and she loves driving manual cars and it’s a big part of our relationship," he says. "We can't wait to get in there where it'll be easier to work on an old Porsche we have."
"It's not just a place where you grab your car and leave. We look forward to meeting other car people, too," he adds.
That'll be easy thanks to a two-story, 3,000-square-foot clubhouse for small get-togethers and private events. In addition to 65 car spaces and ceilings high enough for car lifts, the common space will also include a prep kitchen and a covered, 45-foot wash bay that can be used for RVs or multiple cars at the same time. Also on location is an RV dump station to empty gray and black water tanks. Prices range from the low $300,000s to $500,000 when car condos are combined.
Does your knee-jerk reaction assume a car condo space will be teeming with men with a speed obsession? Well, think again. After selling out the first building, Jon Astore, director of sales and marketing for Luxe Dream Garage, says, "[Our clients] are mostly couples and families. There's a range of 30-year-old to 85-year-old clients. Some want a man-cave, others want a she-shed."
"The biggest problem for couples is they're having to think about is whether they're going to take down the walls and connect the two car condos," he says, joking that they'll have to see a marriage counselor to figure that out. "But you can cut out a door between them. After all, we can do it all custom."
All car brands will be represented, Astore says, including ones with an intimate family value all the way up to Lamborghinis to a truly one-of-a-kind car—although Astore wouldn't reveal what it is to protect his client's privacy.
A standard floorplan in either building is 1,000 square feet to 1,280 square feet and a deluxe floorplan is 1,200 to 1,536 square feet. Both include optional extras like a mezzanine, shower, TV and audio system, wet bar and 9,000-lb. car lift.
The 65-unit Luxe II will have a DIY garage where car owners can work on engines and detail them in climate-controlled comfort, do projects with friends or work with on-call mechanics.
Luxe II will also include a pool table, racing and golf simulator, TV lounge and skeet ball space inside. Outside amenities include two tournament Bocce courts, ping pong, corn toss, human-sized chess, a putting green, and a fire pit and barbecue area. The common spaces will also be available to rent to the public for fundraisers and gatherings on a limited basis.
As ideas firm up around accoutrements and services, Astore says the company is even thinking of adding a car transportation offering to the menu, since "people are shuffling cars in from all over," he explains. "Sixteen cars are coming in from England soon, others are from South Africa."
Luxe Dream Garage I will be located at 5451 Communications Parkway, Sarasota. Stay tuned for Luxe II which will be located nearby on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard.