Country Club Living

By Robert Plunket July 9, 2008

Getting hot: The Meadows and Palm-Aire.


By Robert Plunket


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been tempted to buy a house on a golf course. There is something about looking out over that vast expanse of perfectly manicured lawn that seems very grand, like living in a great house in the English countryside. How lucky we are in Sarasota to be able to do this, and at so many different price points.


That’s one reason I like the Meadows and Palm-Aire so much. They are our original golf course communities, and now that they’re getting on – they’ve been around since the ‘70s– they are inevitably starting to look a little dated. The all-American ranch style that predominates here was totally bulldozed by Spanish Med back in 1995 and is no longer being built.


But don’t despair – it’s this mature, sedate quality that gives these places their charm. The Meadows remains perhaps the best-landscaped development in town; they ought to bus tourists out there to see how successful its English-Countryside-set-down-in-the-Low Country look is.



Palm-Aire isn’t quite as pretty; it lacks its neighbor’s brilliantly executed theme. But portions of it can match anything in the Meadows, and it has a more contemporary vibe. Some people like it better, me included.


The housing stock in both places falls into three categories.



Condos like these, in a wide variety of styles and mini-neighborhoods. They are generally two bedrooms, two baths, about 1,000 square feet, and don’t have covered parking. They are the big steal at the moment. There’s a wide variety under $200,000, and I saw one over the weekend for $149,000. What makes them special? The prestige of living at the Meadows or Palm-Aire, of course, plus many have wonderful views.



Next up the social ladder comes the villa, a sort of attached house on a street of matching houses. The interiors can get quite elaborate, as they were designed for upper middle class retirement and golf vacations. (BTW, the one pictured is not for sale, I’m just using it as an example). I find these a little pricey (anywhere from $250,000 to $350,000) but they can be quite spacious – usually with a third bedroom - and I do love the detailing on the garage door.



This house at 7574 Fairlinks Court in Palm-Aire exemplifies what it’s all about. The living room looks out onto an enormous pool, which in turn overlooks the golf course. It’s exactly what you want out of living in Sarasota. There are 2,300 square feet, a three-car garage, one of those enormous master baths, high ceilings. It is one of the sunniest houses imaginable. It’s being sold furnished, and the asking price is $475,000. (Call Nancy Eilerson at 941-376-6404.) BTW, the scaled down version of this house starts around $275,000 and the deluxe version can go as high as $800,000.


And don’t forget – both the Meadows and Palm Aire have sensational locations: 10 minutes from downtown and five minutes from that fancy new mall with Neiman’s and Nordstrom’s. When that place opens in 2010 these neighborhoods are going to be hot.
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