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Neighborhood Watch The Opulent Oaks Originally part of the winter estate of Bertha Honore Palmer, grande dame of the Chicago Palmer Hotel family, The Oaks is an exclusive country club community of elegant, oversized traditional homes that stretches across Tamiami Trail in Osprey. The heavily wooded west side has great bayfront estates, while on the […]


Neighborhood Watch

The Opulent Oaks

Originally part of the winter estate of Bertha Honore Palmer, grande dame of the Chicago Palmer Hotel family, The Oaks is an exclusive country club community of elegant, oversized traditional homes that stretches across Tamiami Trail in Osprey. The heavily wooded west side has great bayfront estates, while on the east side homes wind around a meticulously maintained golf course. Social life revolves around the beautiful country club. Golfers, retirees, families and anyone who wishes to surround himself in secure luxury find The Oaks irresistible.

NUMBER OF SINGLE-FAMILY OAKS RESIDENCES: Approximately 300 NUMBER OF SINGLE-FAMILY SALES FROM 1/2004-1/2005: 60

SALES PRICES FROM 1/2004-1/2005: $350,000 to $1.862 million

SQUARE FOOTAGE OF THOSE HOMES: 1,803 to 7,092 square feet

Sample Sale

This 4,431-square-foot home at 310 Banana Patch Court, one of architect Bo MacEwen’s classical designs, sold recently for $1.225 million after an original list price of $1.39 million. French doors open onto Selby Gardens-inspired grounds surrounded by bamboo groves and a reflection pond. Built on two lots, the 20-year-old home is totally walled for privacy and solitude. Carol Palmeri of Prudential Palms Realty was the selling agent; Dorothy Roettele of Crown Properties Group was the listing agent. Previous sales: February 2001: $1 million; November 1994: $910,000.

Sample Listing

This 5,987-square-foot Lee Wetherington-built estate home on over one acre at 916 MacEwen Drive is being offered at $1.499 million by Peggy Mock of Sky Sotheby’s International Realty.

MLS statistics courtesy of Deborah Beacham of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate. MLS records transactions and listings by members of the Sarasota Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.

Top of the Market

A glamorous, contemporary home at 50 Lighthouse Point on the southern tip of Longboat Key has captured the top place for recent sales: $5.765 million. The five-bedroom home has glass walls and breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico and New Pass. Built in 1992, it features superb quality construction with a foundation anchored to pilings. Barbara Ackerman of Coldwell Banker was the selling agent; Linda Roe Dickinson of Michael Saunders & Company was the listing agent.

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

Times Have Changed

Twenty years ago, Coral Cove was an enclave of modest bayfront homes with prices to match. But how things have changed in this neighborhood just off U.S. 41 south of Stickney Point Road, across the street from Robb & Stucky. Many original homes have fallen beneath the bulldozer’s blade while others have been completely transformed.

Consider the home for sale on Caribbean Drive. "This is an older home that’s been redone," explains Louise Hamel of Prudential Palms Realty. "It features four bedrooms and baths, travertine floors, an updated kitchen and 130 feet along the bayfront looking directly across the water to Point Crisp on Siesta Key." After hearing a gasp at the list price of $2.4 million, Hamel is quick to explain. "Oh, I know it sounds extremely low," she says. "It’s because boating is not an option due to shallow depth and proximity to the Intracoastal. But personal watercrafts are allowed and the davits are already in place. This house would be much more expensive if located on boating water." Hamel has had interest in her listing from overseas, all over the United States and Sarasota buyers as well. And can you imagine, she adds, "Twenty years ago you couldn’t give these houses away!"

The Right Moves

For 28 years, Dr. Nelson Neal taught modern dance at major universities. Six years ago, he retired to Sarasota and soon became fascinated by a different kind of movement-the leaps, twists and turns of the real estate market. Now with Coldwell Banker Previews, Neal is currently filling out a dance card for Rosa Del Mar, an exclusively elegant condominium development on Anna Maria featuring just 14 units. "There are seven pre-sales and construction has only just started," explains Neal. "Each unit offers just under 2,000 square feet with three bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths, 30-foot balconies overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, marble and hardwood floors, top-of-the-line appliances, a sparkling swimming pool, and gated and secured parking. The emphasis is on privacy, luxury and a lifestyle away from the crowd." Rosa Del Mar pre-construction pricing starts at $1.7 million.

East of Eden

Not everyone longs for waterfront; some prefer the tranquility of a deep cool forest. Grande Oaks Preserve, located just south of University Parkway off Honore Avenue, offers a "natural habitat for humans" in a quiet residential community set amidst 30 acres of protected preserve. Here are lakes, park settings, tennis courts, private clubhouse and fitness center all tucked behind privacy gates and just minutes from downtown Sarasota’s city lights. An elevated nature walk through pristine wetlands provides an excellent vantage point for bird-watchers and botanists. Swimming pool, Jacuzzis and a fully stocked library are among the amenities. Two- and three-bedroom condominiums range from 1,862 to over 2,400 square feet, and pre-construction pricing starts from the $400,000s, with penthouse units priced somewhere in the $800,000s.

Accidental Tourist

Robert and Judy Richards of Minneapolis were vacationing on Siesta Key last February, contemplating whether or not to buy a beach place. Strolling on the sand in front of Peppertree Bay, Robert stepped on a sharp shell and sliced his foot. As Judy examined the bleeding wound, a stranger got up from her beach chair and offered to fetch antiseptic and Band-Aids from her condominium. "She introduced herself as Anne and was very helpful," remembers Judy. After Anne looked at Robert’s foot, it was decided that they should wash and dress the wound inside. So the three traipsed up to Anne’s place. "Her condominium was just beautiful and we told her how much we liked her furniture and décor, the water view, everything," says Judy. "Anne then told us she had recently lost her husband and was preparing to put her condo on the market and move to California to live close to her sisters. We offered to buy it on the spot. She agreed to sell, if we could give her two days to research comparable properties and come up with a fair price." The Richardses agreed; and one week later, the deal was done. Judy adds, "I wish we had thought to pick up the sharp shell and save it for luck. Robert’s foot healed in no time, and we now have our vacation home."

Put On Your Specs

Realtor Kim Gilliland had shown the handsome Landings spec house enough to know that the builder placed a "For Sale" sign in the yard and then typically left the front door unlocked for showings. This day, Gilliland’s 20-something client was scouting properties for his parents and filming interiors with a video camera to send back home to Mom and Pop. "We had seen several houses in The Landings that just were not quite right, and I remembered the spec house and asked him if he would like to take a look, even though it was a little pricier than the others on our list," says Gilliland. "He enthusiastically agreed and we drove over." The two walked right in, camera rolling, and said hello to a cleaning woman who was washing the windows. She smiled and nodded and continued working. Through the foyer they strolled, into the living room and down the wide hall into the family room and kitchen.

Suddenly, Gilliland froze. "There in the kitchen, huddled around the island, were three or four kids making sandwiches," he explains. "And sitting in a rocking chair in the family room was a grandmother staring right at us!" Gilliland motioned to his client to turn off the camera and the two ran out the front door as fast as possible. "The cleaning woman started to yell, asking who we were and why were we in the house with a camera," says Gilliland. "The grandmother did not say a word, and the kids never even saw us." Back at the office, Gilliland did the research and determined that the house had been sold and the closing completed in the last few weeks. "I worried for a while that the grandmother told the kids what she witnessed and they thought she was hallucinating. Poor thing."

In The Money

Linda Roe Dickinson was the top individual producer and partners Annette Rogers and Michel Moulton were the top-producing team at Michael Saunders & Company in 2004.

Dickinson had an outstanding $53 million-plus in sale, and she also closed the largest 2004 residential sale in Sarasota County at $8.9 million. A 30-year resident of Sarasota, Dickinson has worked for 25 years selling Sarasota’s luxury homes. She touts the community for its natural beauty and sophisticated arts scene, and she currently serves on the board of directors at the Asolo Theatre Company and Sarasota Museum of Art.

Rogers and Moulton joined forces in 2003 after extensive individual careers as top producers. Last year their sales total was in excess of $71 million. The secret of their success? "Hard work, long hours, dedication to satisfying customers and a commitment to excellence," says Rogers. Moulton adds that the team "has created a significant network of satisfied customers who return to us."

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