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A New Residential Development Will Replace Rolling Green Golf Club

Gracewater at Sarasota will be a gated community comprised of 484 villas and single-family homes.

By Kim Doleatto October 5, 2023

A rendering of Gracewater at Sarasota. Villas will start in the $500s and single-family homes will start in the low to mid-$600s.

What used to be the Rolling Green Golf Club will now be home to almost 500 new villas and single-family homes as part of a new residential development called Gracewater at Sarasota.

It's been years in the making. In 2018, Sarasota-based Merriwater Golf LLC, headed by Eldon Johnson Jr., paid $8 million for the course and four buildings at 4501 N. Tuttle Ave., north of Myrtle Street and west of North Tuttle Avenue. It was then rezoned and transferred to the current owner Gracewater Community Development LLC, also led by Johnson.

After purchasing the acreage, in a 2018 interview with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Johnson revealed intentions to keep the decades-old golf course but now says, “With every project, we always consider a wide range of alternatives," he says. "In this case, we determined that a housing community made sense given the demand for quality new homes in the heart of Sarasota.”

Located less than a 10-minute drive to downtown Sarasota, the infill project will be a gated community of villas and single-family homes that range from 1,619 square feet to 2,903 square feet, and include single and two-floor, two to four-bedroom residences.

A rendering of Gracewater at Sarasota where 484 residences will be built in phases.

Villas will start in the $500,000s and single-family homes will start in the low to mid-$600,000s. 

Amenities include a resort-style pool, clubhouse, dog park, fitness center and pickleball courts. An on-site "lifestyle manager" will “create experiences for residents like group trips to baseball games, kayaking adventures or 'Yappy Hours' for folks with pets,” Johnson says. The builder is Sarasota-based Privada Homes, also led by Johnson with business partner Terry Wolfram.

The aim is to open sales in November or December this year, and interest is already buzzing.

“We’re getting lots of interest from empty nesters and retirees but also from young families and professionals. Some are moving to Sarasota, while others already live here," Johnson says. "A number of the local residents contacting us have a home to the east and want to be closer to downtown.”

Although Gracewater at Sarasota has no affordable housing component, Gracewater Development Community is also spearheading an affordable housing development nearby, just south of the new community, on 114 acres at 2501 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

"We control both projects, which has allowed us to invest more into the planning and infrastructure of both communities," Johnson says, "since the quality of the design and aesthetic at each adds value to both projects and the whole area."

Gracewater Development Community presented one of six bids Sarasota County commissioners chose for the mixed-use residential and commercial project bounded by North Tuttle Avenue on the east and Myrtle Street to the north. "We think this will add much-needed quality retail to the area and a great complement to the single-family homes at Gracewater," he says.

The timeframe for the community’s completion will depend on the pace of home sales, Johnson explains. It’s a multi-year project.

To nearby long-time residents who have expressed pushback along the way, Johnson says, "There are always challenges related to growth, but I believe that new housing that’s done well and done smart helps the community. In particular, urban planning experts consistently talk about how infill development helps the quality of life in many ways, whether it’s shorter commutes, more walkability or being close to everything downtown has to offer."

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