Downtown's Hippest High Rise

By Robert Plunket March 26, 2008

Penthouse shopping at 1350 Main..


By Robert Plunket


No other building quite typifies the new downtown Sarasota as does 1350 Main. The way it sold out during preconstruction in less than 45 minutes has already gone down as a local legend. That moment, more than any other, was the very height of our fabled real estate boom.


1350 Main (photography by Shirley Blair)


Then, upon completion, it generated new controversy due to its lower floors extending out to the street, over the sidewalk. People loved it or hated it; it still engenders letters to the paper. It was partly responsible for the ending of several political careers and marked a turning point in the way Sarasota thinks about “growth” and the power of real estate developers.


But what it’s really like? As a place to live?


First of all, it’s surprisingly urban and sophisticated. The lobby is beautiful, and suggests a building in New York or – dare I say it – even Paris. It’s not tropical but rather upscale elegant. And irony of ironies, those apartments on the lower five floors, the ones that extend out over the street, have become the hippest places to live in town. One guy even bought one for his wife as a Christmas present; they live down in Osprey and use it as pied a terre for weekends.


An "urban flat" in 1350 Main


The developer calls these units the “urban flats,” and they are small (about 700 to 950 square feet) but finished in a very upscale way, with lots of marble and granite. Some have stained concrete floors. They feature what are known as Juliet balconies: The glass doors slide back so that your whole living room turns into a balcony. One caveat – you are literally living on Main Street. You have to really want to be right in the middle of things, with all that implies (including late night noise from the bar across the street). I thought it wouldn’t be private or quiet enough, but I’ve changed my mind. There’s so much to watch that I started to feel like one of those old ladies in the tenements in New York who sit by their open window all day, checking out the street life.



View of Main Street from an apartment


Most of the apartments in 1350 are two bedrooms, two baths, and are priced from anywhere from $600,000 up to a million. There are also several penthouses on the market. I looked at No. 1606 and loved it. It’s 3, 250 square feet, very high ceilings, simple, clean and elegant. The main living area is 27 by 32, the master bedroom is 25 by 22, and the views are incredible. It’s very well priced at $1.8 million. If you’re penthouse shopping you’ve got to check it out.


 One of 1350 Main's well-priced penthouses.

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