A New Residential Development Is Headed to Gillespie Park
In the game of real estate, location trumps all. And here’s a prime example.
Six luxury condos, part of a collection called The Velocity, are headed for an empty lot on Fifth Street in Gillespie Park, just north of the heart of downtown Sarasota and east of the Rosemary District. The site sits directly to the west of a 7-Eleven on bustling U.S. 301/Washington Boulevard, and directly to the east of nondescript duplexes.
On its face, the location at 1923 Fifth St. doesn't necessarily translate into luxury condo living, but it may turn out to be like that lucky Chanel suit find at your favorite thrift store.
With unit prices starting at just over $1 million to almost $2 million each, “[the developer is] taking a risk. Someone has to be first, so why not him?” says Mark Coppens of Living Vogue Real Estate, who represents the seller.
The developer in question is local builder Jeff Livingston of the Valencia Builders Group. In years past, he was part of a local development firm known as the Pelican Group, which has since dissolved. But he has a track record for success: he did the same thing when he and the firm built in Park East.
Park East isn't far from Gillespie Park, but in real estate terms, it's a world away on the east side of Washington Boulevard in a working-class neighborhood. There, Pelican Group built three new, higher-end, two-story homes that fetched prices never before seen in the neighborhood. In 2021, one of their homes sold for $575,000. The median listing price for surrounding homes was just under $170,000.
Livingston, who's originally from San Diego, California, focuses on urban infill, choosing locations that are central and close to it all.
That's why he builds in areas like Gillespie Park and Park East, which are often made up of an eclectic population living in what realtors sometimes call “upcoming” neighborhoods.
“If you watch the uptick of the density in the Rosemary District next door, it spurred such a development boom that Gillespie is now absorbing the overflow," Livingston says. "I believe that this price point fits.”
“And the fact you can walk downtown is very much in demand,” he adds—which is evidenced by a downtown condo boom that sees multi-million dollar units sold before they’re built.
Compared to the new condos going up downtown, Coppens says, “on a square foot basis, it’s a better price for a three-bedroom, three-bath residence. For that, you're usually over $2 million for sure."
Indeed, the outlines of Gillespie Park are getting gussied up. At the corner of 10th Street and Osprey Avenue, across from the park the neighborhood is named for, new, modern-looking condos were finished up last year and are listed for just a little less than The Velocity—but they don't have a pool. One two-bedroom, three-bathroom unit is on the market for $670,000—but still, it’s a little further from the traffic of Washington Boulevard, and there’s no 7-Eleven next door.
Timothy Del Vescovo of Del Vescovo Design Group addressed that in his design for The Velocity.
“The style relates to solving the issues of the site because if you look at the gray wall, it blocks the view of the convenience store," he says. "When the sun comes up on the east side and hits the colors of the glass, it will leave the refractions of colored glass on the white wall. We give it color by using its location and the position of the sun. The way I see it, architecture is a form of language which is best expressed when a building transcends its construction and embodies artistry in a functional form."
The Velocity will have four stories. The second story will have two, roughly 2,300 square-foot residences, each listed for $1,289,000 million. The third story will have two units of the same size for $1,489,000 each, and the fourth will have a smaller unit, at 1,868 square feet, for $1,120,000, and a larger penthouse, at 2,845 square feet, for $1,889,000. The penthouse will include spiral staircase access to a 1,578-square-foot rooftop deck. Each unit has three bedrooms and three or three-and-a-half bathrooms, and each includes a balcony. There will also be a pool and exercise amenities for residents. The ground floor will be relegated to parking.
The 10,500-square-foot site was purchased last year for $629,000. Livingston says building for The Velocity should start in roughly two months, and should take roughly 18 months to complete.
Coppens expects interested buyers to be young professionals who work in downtown Sarasota, someone who wants to downsize and be closer to it all, or an out-of-towner who's used to urban living and walkability.
Interested? Call Mark Coppens of Living Vogue Real Estate at (941) 444-0436.