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NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH In Nature at Panther Ridge Unspoiled natural beauty and huge home sites of one to 15 acres lure buyers to the east Manatee County neighborhood of Panther Ridge. The development encompasses 4,600 acres on either side of S.R. 70, contiguous to both the shopping and restaurants of Lakewood Ranch and Jack Nicklaus’ ultra-ritzy […]


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NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH
In Nature at Panther Ridge

Unspoiled natural beauty and huge home sites of one to 15 acres lure buyers to the east Manatee County neighborhood of Panther Ridge. The development encompasses 4,600 acres on either side of S.R. 70, contiguous to both the shopping and restaurants of Lakewood Ranch and Jack Nicklaus’ ultra-ritzy golf course, The Concession. The community is set on an actual ridge rising significantly higher above sea level than surrounding land, and it includes three family parks and miles of hiking trails and bridle paths.

Number of Panther Ridge properties: 700
Number of sales 1/2006 to 1/2007: 22
Range of sales prices 1/2006 to 1/2007: $630,000 to $1.4 million
Average sales price: $895,000
Square footage: 2,500 to 7,500

Sample Listing
A six-bedroom home at 24015 E. 83rd Ave. is offered for sale at $1.275 million. The nearly 5,000-square-foot residence was built in 1999 on a very private cul-de-sac amid 8.6 acres of land overlooking a lake and lagoon. The two-story home has an open swimming pool designed to resemble a tropical paradise with swaying palm trees, natural rock formations and free-form design. Ronnie DeWitt of RSVP Associates is the listing agent.

Recent Sale
An elegant, four-bedroom country estate at 19005 E. 69th Ave. recently sold for $1,156,000 after an original list price of $1.25 million. Built in 1999, the two-story traditional home has 25-foot ceilings, a soaring stone fireplace, custom-built wet bar and chef’s kitchen. The master suite has a sunken reading room. Zoned for horses and nestled on 7.8 acres secured by gates and fencing, it’s an ideal location for the equestrian lifestyle. Ronnie DeWitt of RSVP Associates was the selling agent. Previous sale: $750,000 in 2004.

MLS statistics courtesy of Al Horrigan of RSVP Associates. MLS records transactions and listings by members of the Sarasota Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.

Top of the Market
A custom home on the Gulf of Mexico with a private 100-foot beach and 16,654 square feet of total living space captures the top spot this month for most expensive residential sale in Sarasota County. The five-bedroom residence at 1101 Casey Key Road was originally listed at $10.5 million and sold for $8.5 million. It has five full baths and three half-baths with Corinthian entry columns, marble and stone floors, detailed faux painting, custom cabinetry and a 40-foot master suite. The disappearing-edge swimming pool and his-and-hers hot tub are the centerpieces of a lavish outdoor entertaining area. Kassandra Hugil and Matt Schulz of SKY Sotheby’s were the listing agents, and Gail Wittig of Michael Saunders & Company was the selling agent.

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

IN ANY LANGUAGE Shirley Dabringhaus of Sunset Realty speaks fluent English, French and German, and last fall she sometimes spoke all three languages during a single day.

"I was inundated with European visitors interested in Sarasota for vacationing and investing," says Dabringhaus. "There was an especially large number of Germans who had heard good things of Sarasota and decided to take a look. Some flew into Miami and others flew into Tampa and then rented cars and drove over. They were absolutely delighted with our weather and our beaches."

Dabringhaus has one client from Austria who even brought his own master craftsman to help remodel his beachfront condominium. "This gentleman wanted to update his residence and he speaks no English," she explains. "So he flew his trusted craftsman to Sarasota with him and is putting him up in the guest room while the job is ongoing." The remodeler is going to the beach on his days off.

QUEEN OF THE CASTLES Debra Pitell is one of Sarasota’s reigning ladies of luxury, with two awards from Michael Saunders & Company for highest sales earnings and an impressive portfolio of listings in the uppermost strata of high-end properties. Among her current listings:

A stunning 8,000-square-foot home in the Addison Mizner style at 558 Harbor Point Road in the gated Harbourside section of Longboat Key’s prestigious Bay Isles. It’s on very deep boating water with room for a yacht. The list price is $7,975,000.

A traditional bayfront estate in the grand manner of Southern Living homes at 1233 Hillview Drive in Harbor Acres. It has expansive porches, hardwood floors, a paneled library and stunning views of Sarasota’s skyline and the John Ringling Bridge with two boat docks. It’s offered at $8.75 million.

A Mediterranean masterpiece at 925 Whitakers Lane occupies a double mainland lot directly on Sarasota Bay. Waterfront property includes 312 feet of seawall with panoramic views overlooking a 50-foot lap pool. There’s an eight-car garage. This Christie’s Great Estates listing is priced at $5.95 million.

LOCATION, LOCATION Homebuyers who clamor for a West-of-Trail address may have found the perfect home at 1561 Blue Heron Drive in Paradise Shores, a Tuscan-style ch‚teau being listed by Lenore Treiman of Michael Saunders & Company.

Built in 2004 by Peter Laughlin of Laughlin’s Luxury Lifestyles, the four-bedroom home offers 172 feet along a wide-water canal basin with full bay views from the upper decks. It has a fabulous pool with beach entry, heated spa and fountain. The boat dock has two lifts, one for your 10,000-pound boat and the other for 3,500 pounds of jet skis and other water toys. Water and electric at the dock and a remote control for the lifts make life easy.

"Laughlin’s homes are known for their beautiful detail and superior quality," says Treiman "and this one is no exception. The moldings are amazing, granite and marble are everywhere, the windows are Pella and the floor plan works wonderfully for a family, with three bedrooms and family room upstairs and the master bedroom and private study downstairs." The price was recently reduced to $3.275 million.

GOING, GOING, GONE With its proximity to downtown and the keys, Golden Gate Point is one of Sarasota’s most desirable waterfront locations, and the gold-domed Grand Riviera is considered its crown jewel. But interested buyers should not delay. Currently only one residence out of the total 13 remains for sale, and those who have seen the interior are convinced it will not last long.

"The owners have spared no expense," says Sylvia Zimmerman, listing agent with Prudential Palms Realty. "There is a magnificent chandelier in the foyer, hand-painted elevators, custom wall coverings, an elegant dining room and two full balconies plus a Juliet balcony overlooking Sarasota Bay and the entire span of Golden Gate Point." The residence has two bedrooms and a den, two full bathrooms and a powder room with about 2,600 square feet of living space. Condominium amenities include a two-car garage, disappearing-edge pool right on the bay and an outdoor entertainment terrace on the roof beneath the dome with stunning 360-degree views across Sarasota’s urban landscape and sparkling waterways.

Plans are underway to landscape and add pavers to the Golden Gate Point traffic roundabout, says Zimmerman, and to line the drive with royal palms. This transformation will result in a grand boulevard similar to Worth Avenue in Palm Beach or the entrance to the Ritz-Carlton. "Enhancements like this can add significantly to the value of the property," she says. The residence is offered for sale at $2,595,000.

GILLILAND’S ISLANDS Kim Gilliland of Prudential Palms Realty grew up in a rambling house on two beachfront acres on Siesta Key. His parents bought the property in 1953 for $48,000 and raised eight kids in an idyllic setting. The old homestead at 6414 Midnight Pass Road is not there any more, but Gilliland still runs into people who recall his misadventures as an island child.

"At age 14 I used to snorkel at Point of Rocks. If I came across small nurse sharks I would catch them and sell them to the researchers at Mote Marine for a few dollars," remembers Gilliland. "One day I spied a shark’s tail sticking out from beneath a ledge. When I started pulling, the tail just kept coming, and I realized this shark was much bigger than I originally thought, probably close to six feet. The shark was not happy and was bending wildly left and then right, trying to bite me. Finally I had to breathe, so I released his tail and swam. About the time I broke the surface he broke the skin of my ankle. I trudged home down the beach with four rows of teeth marks dripping blood into the sand and an ever-increasing crowd following along behind. My disgusted mother drove me to the doctor, who cleaned the superficial wound with hydrogen peroxide and slapped on a gauze bandage."

Fast forward more than 40 years later to a recent business transaction. Gilliland is sitting across the table from clients when his past flashes before him. "This guy in a suit and tie looks right at me and says, ‘Hey! Aren’t you that kid that got bitten by a shark back in the 1960s?’ I walked you home!’" laughs Gilliland. "He was a part of that mob trailing along behind the dumb kid who messed with the shark."