The real estate market might be cooling off a little, with more inventory than last year. However, ultra-luxury home sales—like this one in Harbor Acres—are still going strong, and based on the most recent data from the Realtors Association of Sarasota-Manatee, 45 percent of closed deals on single-family homes were paid for in cash.

And 1309 Vista Drive is among them. It was listed for $18 million earlier this year and fetched $15.5 million yesterday in an all-cash closing. The buyer is unknown, but the seller was Cynthia Kaye Wilson, formerly Cynthia Garrison. She was married to the late Sheridan Garrison, a founder of the national trucking company American Freightways, which sold for $1.2 billion to FedEx Corp. in 2005. Wilson purchased the property in 2005 and eventually demolished the existing home to build this two-story French provincial-style home in 2010. With 230 feet of Sarasota bayfront, it sits on nearly one-and-a-half acres, spans 8,452 square feet under air, and has four bedrooms, four bathrooms and two half-bathrooms, a pool and a Jacuzzi.

The home is collaboration between architect-designer Thorning Little and luxury home builder Bruce Saba. Inside, it’s dripping with Old World elegance and studded throughout with custom-built features and materials imported from France, like the roof tiles and ornaments, the antique white oak and stone flooring, the hand-carved cabinetry and the interior doors. Outside, within the iron gates of the château, winged cherubs and lion statues watch over the grounds, among other various Roman gods dotting the extensive gardens.

Restored front doors from the Belgian Embassy make you wonder if flip-flops are too casual for stepping over the threshold and walking beneath the 14-foot ceilings with custom treatments and antique chandeliers (there’s even a chandelier in the fitness room). The interior walls are hand-plastered, too. More modern touches include two elevators and an air-conditioned three-car garage.

In the last 12 months, similar price point single-family home sales in Sarasota County include an $11.5 million sale on 1313 Westway Drive on Lido Shores (at the time, the priciest sale of the year), another Harbor Acres sale on Hillview Drive for $17.5 million— thus far, the most expensive in the area, ever—and a $10.1 million sale at 171 S Washington Drive on St. Armands Circle.

Ryan Ackerman represented the seller with Coldwell Banker Realty, and the buyer was represented Barbara May with Michael Saunders & Company. 

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