Neighborhood Snapshots

By Carol Tisch July 1, 2010

Luxury Homefront

Neighborhood Watch  

University Park Country Club

Panoramic fairways, beautiful lakes and nature preserves are just a few of the reasons University Park Country Club receives so many awards, including Best Community Design in America by the National Association of Home Builders. Actually an amalgam of 31 unique neighborhoods, University Park covers the gamut from maintenance-free villas to grand estate homes. A 7,560-square-foot home on Barclay Court was recently listed at $3,999,000.

The entire community winds around an award-winning 27-hole championship golf course designed by architect Ron Garl. “The stunning views are what make University Park so special,” says Linda Driggs, an agent for Michael Saunders & Company. “When I drive clients past the guard gate along the beautiful, wide Park Boulevard, they are instantly struck by the natural beauty of the community. No house backs up to that road.”

University Park    

Total number of University Park properties: 1,156

            Total number of sales from 5/2009 to 4/2010: 68

            Range of sale prices: $190,000 to $985,000

            Range of square footage: 1,344 to 4,147


SAMPLE LISTING A three-bedroom home on the eighth fairway of University Park’s award-winning golf course at 6653 Saint James Crossing is listed by Linda Driggs of Michael Saunders for $549,000. Built in 1993, the house has three bedrooms and three baths, including an oversized master suite with his and her closets and two guest suites with private baths, all opening to a huge lanai.

RECENT SALE A custom-built Neal Communities home at 7030 Langley Place, built in 2000 and rarely occupied until 2009, sold for $752,500 after an original list price of $795,000. The 3,083-square-foot home overlooks a picturesque lake and has three bedrooms, three baths, and a gourmet outdoor kitchen. Linda Driggs of Michael Saunders was the listing agent; Candy Swick of Candy Swick & Company was the selling agent.

MLS statistics courtesy of Linda Driggs of Michael Saunders & Company. MLS records transactions and listings by members of the Sarasota Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.


Worthy of the TV show Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, the 3,654-square-foot Orchid Beach penthouse now offered at $3.4 million is priced well below what was invested in its nearly infinite additional upgrades. Originally listed at $4.5 million, the three-bedroom, 4.5-bath beachfront penthouse is a tremendous buy, says listing agent Jeffrey Gusto of Sterling International. “The owners customized the unit before the building was finished. They never moved in because they found something better,” he explains. Special features include 360-degree views, a private three-car garage and elevator, Italian marble floors and master bath redesigned with separate his and hers units connected by a huge walk-through shower. “The building has spectacular amenities. There’s a great workout facility, a private billiards room, theater room and two incredible guest apartments downstairs. I’d love to live in one of those guest apartments,” Gusto says.


In 2005, a stampede of buyers famously glommed up every unit at 1350 Main Street in a record-breaking 45 minutes. “That was the peak of Sarasota’s real estate market; the entire building sold out with a first occupation of April 2007,” says Michael Granston of Prudential Palms Realty. That was then. Now reduced $300,000, Granston’s 12th-floor listing is among the best values in town at $999,000. The 2,280-square-foot floor plan is one of only five in the building, with two large terraces, two bedrooms and 2.5 baths. “The master bedroom is huge—one of the biggest I’ve ever seen. And the views are outstanding; you can look across the marina to Bird Key, Lido and Longboat keys and to the Gulf of Mexico for spectacular sunsets,” Granston says.

Top of The Market

A Gulf-front Longboat Key residence listed in February 2010 at $6.9 million sold for $6.65 million (and garnered two back-up offers, to boot), making it the top sale in April. Built in 2008, the 11,446-square-foot Moroccan-inspired Villa Lu’Mara has six bedrooms, six baths and three half-baths. Special features include an award-winning swimming pool, secret garden, four-car garage, sweeping balconies and a widow’s walk. The villa’s media room, wine cellar and designer kitchen feature top-of-the-line amenities. Sylvia Babineau of My Realty Company was the listing agent; Kathy Simond of Michael Saunders & Company was the selling agent.

Sales information provided by Kim Ogilvie of Michael Saunders & Company.

What’s Next?

Pretty in Porcelain

The biggest splash at Coverings, the international tile show held in Orlando in April, was a new generation of porcelain floor tiles that look just like wood but hold up to Florida’s extreme weather. Mediterranea’s Sandal Wood collection, an interpretation of driftwood in colors like Ocean Breeze, Palm, Coconut and Driftwood in 5-by-24-inch plank-sized porcelain tiles, is totally new to the market. Perfect for the trend to seamless indoor/outdoor decorating, the slip-proof tiles give an integrated look from kitchen to great room to pool deck.

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