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GRAND GROUNDBREAKING Having said goodbye to the longtime Longboat Key restaurant the Buccaneer Inn, islanders can now say hello to Grand Mariner, which broke ground in March at the site where the Buccaneer stood for decades. Grand Mariner will offer 14 luxury condominiums at the lowest price for new construction on Longboat: from the $2 […]


GRAND GROUNDBREAKING

Having said goodbye to the longtime Longboat Key restaurant the Buccaneer Inn, islanders can now say hello to Grand Mariner, which broke ground in March at the site where the Buccaneer stood for decades. Grand Mariner will offer 14 luxury condominiums at the lowest price for new construction on Longboat: from the $2 millions. Also setting the project apart are 20 deep-water yacht docks with power, water and cable, priced from $99,000 to $200,000. They will be located within the naturally protected harbor and can accommodate yachts up to 70 feet.

The three-story Grand Mariner is being developed by Terrapin Properties just steps from the water, next to Intracoastal Waterway marker 33.

Future residents can choose from three floor plans ranging from 3,149 to 3,624 square feet. Each fully finished home has a private elevator entrance, nine-foot, eight-inch ceilings in all major rooms, terrace, gourmet kitchen with granite countertops, marble bathtub, monitored security and private two-car garage.

On-site amenities include a heated pool, indoor reflecting pool, gathering room with balcony, fully equipped fitness facility and gated entrance. Michael Saunders & Company is handling the sales.

COUNTRY CLUBBING La Cantera, the last neighborhood to be developed in The Country Club at Lakewood Ranch, made great strides in late February when LWR Communities released 15 home sites of the total 44 single-family lots. Seven of the sites were reserved within hours of being made available.

Located just south of the Braden River, La Cantera offers estate-size lots with views of the neighborhood’s oak hammock, lakes, wetlands and holes six or seven of the Cypress Links Course at Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club. La Cantera, sharing its name with a golf resort in San Antonio, Texas, continues The Country Club pattern of naming its communities for international golf courses; consider the village’s other neighborhoods like Greystone, Edenmore and Wexford.

The seven builders in La Cantera are Anchor Builders, Arthur Rutenberg Homes, John Cannon Homes, Todd Johnston Homes, Peregrine Homes, Pruett Builders and Lee Wetherington Homes.

TOYS OF SUMMER All right, we’ve put it off for as long as we could, but it’s time to face facts: Yet another Florida summer is upon us. Freestyle Pools and Spas has the stuff to make this season as cool, comfortable and fun as it can be-and nothing’s more fun than a lazy summer afternoon by a pool decked out in 21st-century amenities.

First, decorate poolside with stony waterfalls and aquascapes by RicoRock, to create the impression of a mountain stream, cliffside beach or secret grotto. Next, make sure your pool has total automation systems, including salt chlorine generators and Paramount in-floor cleaning systems, so you don’t have to keep getting out of your lounge chair to fiddle with chemicals or skimmers. Top it all off with specialized waterway components featuring interchangeable spa therapies and handheld massage wands, and this summer should go swimmingly.

ALL WHITE One year ago, interior designer Tre Michel and her husband, professional artist David Steiner, created downtown State Street’s State of the Arts Gallery, an invaluable resource for Sarasota art collectors and local artists alike. Instead of presenting one-man shows, State of the Arts features up to 20 local, national and international artists in exhibits that showcase various interpretations on a specific theme. For example, May’s "White Hot" event centers on a brilliant variety of white-inspired paintings and sculptures. The exhibit’s opening celebration later this month will emphasize the theme with white wines and encourage guests to dress all in white. Art collectors and homeowners in the market for one-of-a-kind works are invited to visit State of the Arts Gallery Tuesdays through Saturdays and every Friday evening.

FOREST FOR THE TREES Parrish homebuyers and nature lovers alike recently welcomed the announcement of plans for Forest Creek, an ecologically sensitive residential community being developed by Neal Communities, just east of I-75 on U.S. 301. The 135-acre property is home to many mature, native trees that have been carefully preserved and incorporated into the community’s plans. In all, there will be 12 lakes, 11 tree-preserve areas and one bird rookery.

Neal Communities solicited input from Manatee County planners to address environmental concerns. Taking preservation even further, plans for two roads and a sidewalk were rerouted to avoid the root systems of existing trees. The extreme measures to protect the area’s natural assets might be more costly, "but we believe it adds considerable value to the residents," says Leisa Weintraub, vice president of development for Neal Communities. "Cutting a root is cutting the tree’s food supply."

Forest Creek will offer 108 townhomes and 236 single-family homes, and the first models are expected to open this summer. Award-winning Neal Communities is one of Southwest Florida’s largest privately owned building and development companies.

ENCHANTING ENCANTADA Laguna at Riviera Dunes recently debuted its Encantada penthouse, a luxurious 4,239-square-foot condominium overlooking the Manatee River. For approximately $1.5 million, the Encantada’s buyers will get a double master suite plus three more bedrooms, four and a half baths, a 437-square-foot lanai and a 317-square-foot deck. Homebuyers in Laguna at Riviera Dunes, a community that’s rapidly changing the face of Palmetto, can choose from condominiums with floor plans between 1,700 to just under 4,300 square feet, priced from $400,000 to well into the $1 millions. Amenities include under-building parking, two tennis courts and a resort-style swimming pool overlooking the marina.

TREE LIGHTS After investing in a home with lush Florida foliage, no one wants the greenery to go unseen for half the day. That’s why landscape lighting is becoming more and more popular.

A landscape lighting system from NiteLites of Sarasota offers several benefits to both homeowners and commercial developments: In addition to the obvious aesthetic rewards, professionally designed and installed outdoor lighting can increase the resale value of the home or building. And, most important, a well-lit property provides safety and security for the things-and people-inside.

NiteLites outdoor lighting systems offer the latest technology and noncorrosive, industrial-quality solid brass and copper lighting fixtures, plus custom design, professional installation and worry-free maintenance-not to mention an unmatched warranty. With some of the most convenient lighting automation on the market, NiteLites uses its own patented chip in an automation module that self-adjusts to sunrise and sunset throughout the year. In other words, the lights know when to turn on and off.