Inside the Renaissance

By Robert Plunket July 16, 2007

What’s on sale in Sarasota’s  most aspirational building.


By Robert Plunket


I know I promised only million-dollar properties this week, but when I went to look for them yesterday, guess what happened? I couldn’t find any. Everything’s been reduced. I was in one condo that had just been cut by $150,000; and when I said “Wow,” the realtor said, “Oh, that’s nothing these days.” And I went to another place that had been reduced that morning, just a couple of hours before I got there. These days you have to make sure what the listing price is—often they’ve been reduced and the printed (and Internet) info is obsolete.


But enough about the depressing market. Let’s talk about a specific building and what the market is doing to it. How about the Renaissance? I’ve always considered it the most aspirational building in Sarasota. It’s pure Matt Orr. Hip young professionals buy there and live beyond their means. It has the image of a Melrose Place—lots of drama in the hallways, the pool area, the steam room, etc. Of course, I’m sure it’s nothing like this and is just like every other building in town, meaning it’s full of what us 60-year-olds still call “old people.”


But it remains a neat, stylish building. They spent the money where it shows—a beautiful lobby that reminds one of a Four Seasons Hotel, decorative doo-dads, nice landscaping. The apartments themselves are small and a cut below real luxury; but still, they are grand in their soul. And they take decoration beautifully. Gussy them up and they can look fabulous.

The Renaissance


Yesterday I saw four. They were all different, as the building has an exceptional variety of floor plans. You really have to check them all out. The first was a two-bedroom penthouse for $849,900. It had good points and bad points—even the realtor was amazed at how small the kitchen was—but the price was justified by a 60-foot balcony overlooking Van Wezel and the bay. Next was a one-bedroom that was awkward and darkish and was the sort of place that only a bachelor would buy. It was listed at $320,000. On to a relatively large two-bedroom plus den and dining room, with a lot of built-ins and “designer touches”; unfortunately, it faced the top floor of the parking garage. It was only $449,000 but still . . .

The View's the Thing


The best buy by far was unit 708. It’s a 760-square-foot one-bedroom, just marked down to $274,900 (it used to be $307,700.) True, it does not face the bay but it’s light and bright and the view is unobstructed and high up. It has a balcony. Its big drawback—no upgrades in the kitchen or bath—could actually be a blessing. Throw a little granite at it and it could look like a million. Call Tom Delaney at Michael Saunders. 383-7591.


FYI: For the duration there are open houses every Sunday at the Renaissance, in a sort of “pool” system, with all the listers cooperating. And there’s plenty of inventory, and prices are falling daily.
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