Snowbird's Nest

By Robert Plunket October 21, 2009

Three Sarasota condos could be the perfect winter home.

Click here to see our Real Estate Junkie discuss these snowbird nests on ABC7.

I got an email from Robert in Cleveland. He and his wife, both 55, are coming down to look at a place to spend 3 to 4 months each winter. They want a condo in a gated community, 2,000 square feet, a place without foreclosure problems, and their budget is in the $250,000 to $300,000 range. Where should they start looking?


Well, they’re certainly coming to the right place. Sarasota has long specialized in winter homes for people up North, and we really have it down to a science. I would suggest they take a look at something like 4521 Cinnamon Dr. #2701, in the gated community of Arielle in Palmer Ranch. At 2,045 square feet, it’s the perfect size for them. It’s on the second floor, has an attached two-car garage, and a lot of luxury features (like a separate walk-in shower in the master bath). It also has a nice screened lanai overlooking a pretty lake. It’s priced at $279,000. Call Saint Cacchiotti at 941-809-0787.

 The kitchen and pool at Arielle in Palmer Ranch.


By the way, a lanai is crucial to a second home in Sarasota. The lanai was invented here, and during the winter you’ll be spending a lot of time there. So in your house hunting, pay particular attention to the lanai and its view. It’s just as important as the other rooms of the home.



Palmer Ranch is in the southern part of town, convenient to everything, and has a new, upscale feel to it. It was built during the recent boom and, in general, seems to be weathering the financial storm pretty well. There are a bunch of other communities there that might interest Robert; another one I particularly like is called Botanica.



Similar to Palmer Ranch, but in the northeast part of town, is Lakewood Ranch. It has villa-type units like Arielle, but it also has some very nice mid-rises. One of my favorites is Watercrest; the units here start at around 1,700 square feet and are very luxurious and light and bright. Practically all of them face a large lake, and you can walk to the nearby Main Street shopping area. They were built to sell for a higher price point than Robert is looking for, but these days they are deals; and if he looks around he can find one within his budget.

 The pool at Pelican Cove

I usually don’t examine a community’s amenities too carefully. I feel the condo should speak for itself. But in Robert’s case, where he’s looking for a vacation home that may turn into a retirement home, then the amenities are crucial. You want a pleasant atmosphere with lots of stuff to do. And in this department it’s hard to top a development like Pelican Cove. True, it’s older (built back in the 1970s), and to the modern eye the architecture looks a little dated. But the location, right on the bay, would be impossible to duplicate today at any price. The residents have six pools, hiking, kayaking, a marina, and acres and acres of natural beauty. There are also classes, groups, clubs, even a Pelican Cove University. It’s the perfect place for an environmentally concerned retired college professor.


A Pelican Cove living room

A particularly nice unit currently on the market in Pelican Cove is 1627 Boathouse Circle, #227. It’s a little smaller than Robert is looking for – just over 1,200 square feet, with two bedrooms and two baths. But the premium location, overlooking the marina, may well make up for it. It’s priced at $269,000. Call Charles Offer at 941-321-9664.
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