From low to high on Lakewood Ranch’s Tour of Homes.
By Robert Plunket
Click here to see our Real Estate Junkie discuss Lakewood Ranch on TV.
Lakewood Ranch is the largest and most successful planned community in the area, and over the past 10 or 12 years it has become a real part of the Sarasota community. Everybody knows somebody who lives there, and it’s particularly popular with families. Let me stress that it is not a “development” but a real town, with shopping areas, office parks, schools, hotels, a hospital, a newspaper – it’s about as self-contained as you can get.
Two things distinguish Lakewood Ranch. The homes tend to be built relatively close together. This means you are close to your neighbors but it also allows for big areas of open space – golf courses, nature preserves, lakes, etc. Second is the economic diversity. New homes and condos start in the $200,000, but go up, way up, to around $5 million.
This month is the annual Tour of Homes (til November 23) so it’s the perfect time to check it out. They have more than 30 models open and it has been my experience that this is far too many to digest in one day, so you might want to start by seeing what’s available in each price range.
The least expensive model on this years tour is the “Endless Summer” (love that name) in Lismore at The Country Club. (BTW, Lakewood Ranch has eight different villages, each of which is divided in different communities, so it can get a little confusing.) Endless Summer is 2,163 square feet – but feels bigger – with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a den. The ceilings are very high and the feeling is particularly bright and open. The price starts around $290,000, but the model has many upgrades, including a pool, and is priced at in the high $300s.
A pretty good representative of the mid-price range is the Bella Mar at Country Club East. It starts at $610,000; but once again, the model is all gussied up and would go for around $750,000. It’s big – 3,431 square feet, and has 4 bedrooms (one on the second floor) and 4 baths. At this price point you get the possibility of more upgrades, including a sensational summer kitchen.
And finally, be sure and check out The Lake Club, which is on the far eastern edge, by the Polo Club. This community is separately gated and has the real high-end stuff. My favorite is the Palais du Lac, a 7,554 square foot, 4-bedroom, 5-bath home with a four-car garage, elevator, ceilings 26 feet high, etc, etc, all designed to look like French chateau. It’s not cheap ($4,700,000) but it is one of the showplaces of Sarasota.
Try and have lunch at one of the outdoor cafes on Main Street – the Polo Grill or McAllisters. The weather is ideal this time of year, and coupled with food and real estate, it makes for a perfect Sarasota afternoon.
For more info go to lakewoodranch.com.