Condos often tend to share a similar flavor: that of a plain, simple box. Maybe it’s the volume of living spaces built at one time that’s to blame, or the part-time living they offer their snowbird owners.

But Ronnie Shugar's penthouse condo at 1350 Main is a showstopper. It starts as soon as you step through the door. That's because you’re immediately faced with a curious blue glow emanating from an almost 12-foot agate wall, spanning ceiling to floor. 

"That design feature alone cost roughly $100,000," says interior designer Brittany Cocozza, co-owner of Trinity Construction & Design. In order to get that glow even, there are full sheets of paper-thin lighting behind it. Somehow, the effect is that it seems to breathe. 

But keep walking, the show-stopping doesn’t stop there. Shugar’s condo is on the 17th floor, and every square inch of the 3,208-square-foot space is decorated to the nines. Every room is its own experience and differs from the rest. There's blue and white Moroccan-style tile in one of the three and a half bathrooms, matte black honeycomb tile in another, and top-to-bottom white and gray Dolomite marble—including the ceiling—in the next. Even the walk-in closet is its own getaway, lit with a slate chandelier.

Custom touches include reclaimed brick walls, for a “New York City loft vibe,” Shugar says. They're thoughtfully placed on the exterior walls for an original feel that adds texture and warmth. Some of the bricks still have chipped-off paint from their former homes.

The kitchen is a chef’s dream, since the space is all about top-notch hosting. “The chef's kitchen is for friends and family. I love to cook and to me, it's like artwork," Shugar says. "I'll read a recipe, but put my own take on it."

Other takes are inspired by Shugar's extensive travels, he says. His favorite places include Hong Kong, Crete, London, Australia, Tel Aviv and Japan. One piece of wall art is a silhouette of Elvis Presley by an Italian artist, made up of a mosaic of Rubix cubes. On another wall, there's a series of original old black-and-white pictures of circus workers.

The lighting throughout is the programmable Lutron brand, which offers seamless transitions between intensity and color. There are also invisible speakers, hingeless doors and the absence of handles in the showers, with a programmable pad on the wall for controlling different showerheads, and temperatures and light. In fact, there are lots of little secrets like that—mysterious touch points instead of those clunky wall switches for lights. Even the toilets have remote controls. It's all seamless.

Other more obvious custom features include a glass-enclosed wine and cigar room in the living room, and a shuffleboard, "since there wasn’t room for a pool table," Shugar says. There’s also a theater, with leather stadium seating, and a well-appointed snack bar stocked with all the traditional goodies you would find at the movies. And of course, the condo has what all penthouses aim to offer: jetliner views of the city and beyond, with sweeping views of Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The space also includes two parking spaces and access to a pool, fitness center and 24-hour concierge.

Cocozza recalls the biggest challenge of the extensive remodel being the mere fact it's a condo, which limits working hours. A crane delivered luxury materials like quartz countertops, shower glass panes, a piano and art. "It was a little terrifying, but it worked out," she says. 

“It’s rare that you’ll find this type of design here. It elevates the style of Sarasota, and can inspire others who want to create something unique” he says. "I want to show other investors and contractors what they do with a space."

Shugar bought the condo in 2020 for $2.5 million. At $7.5 million, it's downtown's priciest condo on the market. The only one listed for more is an almost 6,000-square-foot penthouse on the bayfront at the Epoch is priced at $13,880,000.

For Shugar, who relocated to Sarasota in 2019 and "never looked back," he says, the remodeled condo reflects possibilities. "I think that's what I'm doing with all my properties," he continues. "I think other entrepreneurs will see the beauty in Sarasota and what the city has to offer. I'm grateful to be here and want to add my part."

Shugar, the former co-founder of Raw Sugar, a natural cosmetics brand, now turned real estate mogul, also owns the two buildings across from Mira Mar Plaza at 46 and 32 S. Palm Ave. He jokes that he bought them to ensure no one built high and blocked his penthouse view. It's hard to tell if it's a joke. 

Perhaps his most meaningful custom design is at his offices at 1717 Second St., now a signature destination since the exterior is an homage to healthcare workers during the pandemic, painted with the Sarasota Magazine-commissioned mural Sarasota Heroes.

Shugar also owns the southern portion of the commercial real estate in the Mark, where you’ll find the North Star Jewelry boutique and Ana Molinari Salon Spa Boutique's future home. He says that he's working on turning the now-vacant space facing the mermaid fountain into a swanky Champagne bar. 

Shugar also has a home in Harbor Acres, which he says is a "better fit for him," across the bay from the back Katherine Harris' palatial home. His plans are to tear it down and rebuild another home that he'll call Casa Encanto. Based on what he did with the condo, we can't wait to see it. We’ll keep you posted.

Will the entrepreneur never live in a condo again? "Never say never," he says. Indeed, he owns another unit in the same building. 

Interested? Contact Thomas Arbuckle of Coldwell Banker Realty at (941) 356-0638.

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