Yes, the Sarasota penthouse where Babe Ruth once stayed is for rent—and it’s a bargain.
By Robert Plunket
Click here to see our Real Estate Junkie discuss the Babe's old abode on ABC7.
Tonight is Game 6 of the World Series and the Yankees just might take it, so it’s only appropriate that we take a look at a Sarasota penthouse that was briefly occupied by the greatest Yankee of all, Babe Ruth. It’s in the Villa Serena, the classic old apartment building right across the street from the Sarabay Country Club.
The Villa Serena was built in 1926, and it’s amazing that it is still here and in such good shape. Its claim to fame is all the sports celebrities who have stayed here over the years. In addition to the Babe, it was the home of golfing great Bobby Jones during the winter of 1926-27. (He was here to sell lots for the Adair Company, developers of the Whitfield area – and of course, play golf.)
The Villa Serena has 10 one- bedroom apartments, but on the top floor is a large penthouse (currently subdivided into two units); and it was here that the sports greats spent their Sarasota time. If only those walls could talk. Bobby Jones kept all his trophies on a shelf in the living room and Ruth, a notorious womanizer and heavy drinker, entertained his golfing and baseball buddies here.
One of the penthouse units is currently for rent. It consists of the living area of the original penthouse: the living room, formal dining room, breakfast room, kitchen, and bath. The bedroom – 25 feet long with continuous windows on three sides, used to be an enclosed sun porch. There’s also a terrace overlooking the country club. The rent? $950 a month.
The building’s current owner deserves some kind of medal for preserving it so well and making sure it’s so well maintained. He’s always making little improvements, and everywhere you look there’s something to catch your eye – the beautiful lawn out back, the various fountains and statuary, the enormous banyan tree that provides shade for the tenants’s car. He’s also restored a meeting room (with a beautiful beamed ceiling and French doors) and put in a commercial kitchen.
The Villa Serena has led an adventurous life. For a while it was owned by the politically famous Gregg family of New Hampshire and Siesta Key. It’s been the headquarters of a religious institution, a home for retired golfers, and is now poised to enter its ninth decade as Sarasota’s most unique “boutique” apartment building. The owner insists it’s not haunted, but if the Yankees win tonight, I wouldn’t be surprised if the current tenants hear the ghostly popping of champagne corks in the Babe’s old living room.
For more information on the penthouse rental, call Christopher Brown at 941- 355-8599. And keep in mind, the furniture in the pictures belongs to the tenants. The unit is being rented unfurnished.