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Longboat Key Real Estate Blog

Roger Pettingell


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Current technology for real estate sales

by Roger Pettingell

Staying current and moving forward

Using technology to market homes and track closings

REALTALK #106, Sharpening the Sword
Sharpening the Sword - How I stay ahead of the curve in real estate technology, REALTALK™ #106.

Cyber Monday is a good day to review current technology that I use to market my listings and communicate with my clients. I also use technology to share information among the staff and to track the progress necessary for each client to close on their homes in the most efficient manner. With this technology we nurture new and potential clients so that their needs are also met. The technology in our office is a variety of software and hardware that is either “off the shelf” for realtors, or customized from leading vendors.

Most of my customers are home sellers. To start, each listing has its own website. The address is commonly associated with the physical address such as one listed last week at A community like the Players Club at 1445 Gulf of Mexico Drive on Longboat key will be promoted by its community and residence number, such as I like using this form of Internet promotion because I can put more information on the site that I may not be able to include in the MLS system or that which appears on and I can include more documents that are commonly requested by potential buyers. It also is a great format to communicate with the search engines. We can input details in the Internet syntax, or metatags, for search engine optimization. These websites are syndicated to over 40 Internet portals commonly associated with real estate sales.

I promote each home sale as a featured listing on this branded website, In order to stay current with the requirements of the Internet giants like we are switching to a responsive design on our site that should be ready for launch early in December. Currently, we are optimized for mobile devices that presents a different experience on SmartPhones. The new design will respond to each device and present the best experience for an end user searching for property to buy. Google has announced they will favor this type of technology in their search results.

Longboat Key Home Prices
Home sellers begin their pricing research on Longboat Key and Sarasota through this free website.

That is my branded site to promote the homes I am currently selling. I recognize that most potential buyers and sellers begin gathering information on home sales through Internet sites, long before they make their first call to an agent to represent them. is my website that is established for sellers to get an estimate of their property’s value, and list comparable homes in the area. With an email address, the seller will receive updates on their home if the value should increase or decrease. For buyers exploring the waters, so to speak, my website is a good way to research home prices. By entering an email address the buyer will receive updates on new properties that open up on the market. Both of these websites are free to use.

We are also fortunate that our information for each listing is updated through the Coldwell Banker systems. In October there were 8.1 million visitors to with 12.6 million listing views. A majority of worldwide visitors were from the United States and Canada, our prime market targets. We continually feed videos, photos and descriptions to the Coldwell Banker telephone connection. An 866.600.6008 number advertised in local newspapers such as the Sarasota Herald Tribune connects a code in our listings advertised on that page to information about that property. Those listings are pulled from another system that we actively update with high resolution images, property descriptions and open house dates. All these feeds spread the word. The intent is to get quality information and photos in front of many people in our target audience.

A new technology we started this year gives the buyer a view of the property in three dimensions. These 3D floor plans are digitized in a way that the potential buyer can walk through a home as a virtual presentation. You have a choice of doll house or floor plan view to begin your navigation through the home. The photographer takes a 360 degree image of each room that is stitched together with software so that you can walk through the home as though actually being there. What I like about this system is that a visitor can master the techniques in just a few minutes. The Matterport system can be seen in this Bird Key home at

Matterport 3D floor plans for this home at 670 Mourning Dove Drive on Bird Key
3 Dimensional Floor Plans - I recently introduced this new technology as a virtual tour, website visitors walk through the homes I list for sale.

Our office has internal systems to track phone calls and processes for the efficient closing of all home sales. We store documents in digital format and have the ability to have digital signatures on contracts to avoid the lengthy paper flow. This Docusign system permits us to have legally signed documents between buyers and sellers even though they are great distances apart. Our system for escrow deposits is more secure than many systems that I have been involved with. Our office tracks each closing for a smooth transaction, from the home inspection to the closing at the title or law firm office.

I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was a good one. I listed a secluded waterfront home last week in the Sleepy Lagoon community of Longboat Key. This elevated home has three bedrooms, is on a deep-water canal with boat dockage and 10,000-pound lift. The home at 712 Marbury Lane has a two-car garage has been completely remodeled. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
712 Marbury Lane $729,000   Photo Slideshow


Community spotlight on Seaplace

by Roger Pettingell

Good value on the beach at Seaplace

Variety of floor plans among 11 buildings on the Gulf

Beach Access at Seaplace
Gulf of Mexico - Residents walk to the beach from their Seaplace properties for sunset gazing.

There is good value in Sarasota properties on barrier islands along the Gulf of Mexico coast. You can find some of the best values at Seaplace on Longboat Key, an amenity-filled community of 461 residences on 42 acres. They are at such a good value that 24 of these units sold in the last 12 months, an average of two per month with an average sale price of nearly $478,000. These properties in 11 buildings offer variety as well, a selection of town-houses on the north end of the community, and more residences among two mid-rise buildings and seven garden buildings. There is something for everyone in lifestyle, convenience and recreation at Seaplace.

Take, for instance, the convenience of shopping with a Publix supermarket and CVS pharmacy near the northern exit of Seaplace. A variety of restaurants are in the same shopping complex or within a close proximity. Shopping in the boutique stores or dining in the fine restaurants on St. Armands Circle is another convenience for Seaplace homeowners. The cultural arts of Sarasota is just a short drive over the Ringling Bridge. There you can take in a play, schedule to see world-class performances at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall or go to the opera and ballet. Many of these shows are available within blocks of each other in downtown Sarasota.

As for recreation you have plenty of choices. Within the community are two heated swimming pools and three Har-Tru tennis courts. There is a his and hers fitness center. With a Longboat Key Club membership you will have access to two of the best championship golf courses, conveniently located just north and the other south on Longboat Key. Community amenities include a recently updated clubhouse, game room and library. Bike riding is popular on the expanded width of Gulf of Mexico Drive. Or you can choose to walk on one of the many paths that connect to parks on the island.

Heated swimming pool at Seaplace
Seaplace amenities - There are many amenities at Seaplace including heated swimming pools.

Seaplace is a place to gather with friends or make new relationships. Social gatherings are listed on their website. Water aerobics are scheduled Monday through Friday and alternate between the Funplace and Clubhouse pools. The computer club meets on Mondays, but two of the club members have volunteered to be on call seven days a week to help solve some of those nagging computer problems. Groups gather ad hoc on game day to play a variety of card games. Pickleball is also a common recreation. Movie night is every Tuesday, and cooking recipes are shared among the owners.

Construction of Seaplace properties began in 1974, and by 1979 these homes were completed for residential occupancy. Many of these units have been upgraded since them with modern conveniences. The two or three-bedroom residences have also been kept up to date with building updates for better protection from storms. Some owners enjoy the convenience of leasing their unit. Seaplace is less restrictive in their lease policy, a residence can be rented for a minimum of two months provided that it is residential use. Owners list their units through popular rental websites or through

Owners have access to on-site management during business hours. For security, there is a manned guard gate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Longboat Key is ranked among the top five safest places to live in Florida. used 2014 FBI crime statistics to rank Longboat Key as fourth safest among Florida cities of 5,000 residents or more. Criminals are on notice. Longboat Key has a north and south entrance through its main thoroughfare, Gulf of Mexico Drive. At these two points police constantly monitor license plates with video identification alerts and flag cars that have been identified as used in a crime.

Penthouse Seaplace sale
One of my two Seaplace sales within the last year, a penthouse overlooking the landscape and the Gulf.

Seaplace is a great place to relax and wonderful location to watch sunsets with your toes in the white sand beach. In the past year I have sold two top-floor properties at Seaplace for an average sale of $599 per square foot. During this period the average price per square foot was $388. This week I updated the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) reports for November at Seaplace. This report has current active, pending and sold listings within the last year. These monthly reports for this community record a comparison history of sold properties back to January of 2008.

Last week I added two more listings to my inventory. On Lido Key within a short walk to St. Armands Circle I have a new listing at 66 N. Washington Drive. The views of the Ringling Bridge and Sarasota skyline are mesmerizing. This luxury estate has a deep-water dock, heated swimming pool and spa. The second waterfront estate listed last week at 670 Mourning Dove Drive also has dockage and pool. I submitted a 3-Dimensional floor plan for this home. I would encourage anyone looking for a luxury estate to schedule a showing for this home on Bird Key. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Address List Price Media Slideshow
66 North Washington Drive $4,930,000 Video Photo Slideshow
670 Mourning Dove Drive $2,999,000 Video Photo Slideshow


Historic Sarasota Municipal Auditorium

by Roger Pettingell

Iconic Sarasota landmark has its history

Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places

Municipal Auditorium on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Sarasota Municipal Auditorium - Completed in 1938, in 1995 was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places for its significance to the community.

There were many events over the past weekend and hope you were able to enjoy some of them and the wonderful weather. The Siesta Key Crystal Classic master sand sculpting competition, the Chalk Festival and its associated surrounding events in Venice, and the St. Armands Circle Fall Art Festival were among the few. You may have also seen the Bowls USA 2016 US Open. If you stopped to see the lawn bowling competition you likely parked in the lot of the Municipal Auditorium, where the Vintage Collectibles Fair was going on. The auditorium is as famous as Sarasota itself and listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It’s also a favorite image to send as a postcard, along with the statue Unconditional Surrender.

Land for the building was acquired by the city in 1935 following a default on taxes owed to Sarasota. Local civic leaders and then Sarasota Mayor E.A. Smith requested federal funds from the Works Progress Administration, renamed Work Projects Administration that year. The WPA was one of several civic programs begun under the New Deal initiative of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. On the 37 acres of acquired land a grand municipal building was to be constructed. When completed the auditorium floor had 10,000 square feet for use as an exhibition and dance hall. The stage was large at 1,500 square feet. Glass blocks on the front provided natural lighting to the interior of the auditorium. The barrel styled roof gave it a unique look and added to the spacious grandeur of the interior.

Sarasota Municipal Auditorium interior
The floor is 10,000 square feet with a 1,500 square-foot stage and filled with visitors this past weekend.

By February 1938 the Municipal Auditorium was completed and opened with a grand celebration of three thousand spectators. Through private donations a recreation club was built on the western end of the building. Soon after tennis and shuffleboard courts were added and lawn bowling brought some more prestige to the area through the Sarasota Lawn Bowling Club, one of three original clubs that are still in existence to this day. The SLBC started in 1927 in McAnsh Park but moved to the recreational facilities here upon completion of the auditorium. This group hosts the US Open. The Garden Club and Memorial Auditorium have historic designations as the other long-standing tenants.

During the years of World War II the auditorium was a respite hall for the Army and Navy Club. Following the war, concerts were held by the Florida West Coast Symphony until 1969 when the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall was completed. The symphony later changed its name to the Sarasota Orchestra in 2008, but continues to be recognized as the longest continuous performing orchestra in Florida.

Renovations in 1970s drastically changed the look of the auditorium, replacing the historic look with a modern design. Even the glass blocks on the front of the building were covered. In the next decade efforts were made to restore the building to its original design and a push for national recognition was started. However, it wasn’t until the mid 1990s when private donations, along with government preservation societies and the city of Sarasota provided enough funds to restore the original building. The building achieved recognition on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995 and the restoration work was completed in 1997.

Hazzard Fountain
Hazzard Fountain - Artisans constructed this famed fountain on 1940. Over the years it has been moved, removed, stored and eventually returned during restoration in 1995. The marquee sign alerts visitors of the Collectibles Fair November 11-13.

The famed fountain out front that was constructed in 1940 had also seen its share of changes over the years. An original donation to the city, the lighted Hazzard Fountain was designed by the son of the architect who drew up the original plans for the auditorium. The father, Thomas Martin, and son Frank are etched into the history of this Sarasota landmark. The fountain had also its share of controversy in the history of the auditorium. It had been moved a couple times to accommodate widening of Tamiami Trail, and then removed around the time that the auditorium was modernized in the 1990s. The Hazzard Fountain was placed in storage for a period of time and also served as the entrance to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. During the restoration of the auditorium in the mid-1990s the Hazzard Fountain made its way back to the grounds of the auditorium in 1995.

Today the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium continues to fulfill its original intent. On most weekends visitors enjoy the collectibles fairs, stamps or exotic gem shows. As a continuation of the US Open this week, there will be a health and wellness expo this weekend. The Gem, Jewelry and Bead show will go on the weekend of December 2. An annual favorite, the Atomic Holiday Bazaar will be held the weekend of December 10. It is touted as the fair of crafts and arts for the world’s delightful irregulars. If you are into Art Antiques, the show on January 19 would be well worth attending. The National Stamp Exhibition is set for February 3. What Women Want, Lifestyle & Wellness Expo is scheduled for the weekend of April 1.

The architecture, history and significance to the city of Sarasota were some of the factors cited for its placement on the national register. But a major influence was the community’s involvement in the restoration of the auditorium. As it sits today is almost as it was when originally completed in 1938 for public and recreational use.

Crazy good event schedule for this weekend

by Roger Pettingell

Sand sculpting to festivals fill weekend

For local real estate, SarasotaMOD highlights schedule

Blue Pagoda, Victor Lundy
The Blue Pagoda - This 1956 design by Victor Lundy will be on the SarasotaMOD tour this weekend.

There are many events starting this weekend. There are veteran’s day celebrations, festivals, plays, 5K runs, improv, expos, sidewalk sales, a master’s sand sculpting competition, comedy, concerts, a medieval fair, benefits, water ski shows: the list goes on. I will list some of these at the end of this article. But one that pops out in real estate is the annual SarasotaMOD, a celebration to modern architecture in Sarasota. Friday through Sunday participants will have the chance to review the works of some of the best architects at SarasotaMOD. There will be something for everyone interested in architecture and the history of these buildings.

This year we celebrate Victor A. Lundy, a famed 93-year old modernist architect and one of the early Sarasota School of Architecture leaders. His creation of the motel in Mineral Springs is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This motel was constructed in 1958 and expressed Lundy’s intention as a building that symbolized the fountain of youth. Its unusual shape won the 1958 special award the American Institute of Architects.

His local accomplishments will be on tour this weekend. He designed the Blue Pagoda building for the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. This building constructed in 1956 will be on the Trolley Tour of Victor Lundy’s Iconic Architecture. Tickets are available now online for the tour with guide Christopher Wilson. Other Lundy architectural feats on the trolley tour include the Waldman building, St. Pauls’ Lutheran Church, its Fellowship Hall, South Gate Community Center, Bee Ridge Presbyterian Church and the Murray Homes building. The trolley tours start at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The acrobats on skis, Ski-A-Rees, perform their last show of the season this Sunday.

Real estate editor for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Harold Bubil, will be the guide for the for the second trolley tour that will also start at 1 p.m. both days. This tour will showcase some of the buildings designed by famed architects Paul Rudolph and Ralph Twitchell. Rudolph was honored in 2015 at SarasotaMOD.

There are self-guided tours and tours of Rudolph’s Umbrella House and Hiss Studio, designed by Edward Seibert and built by Philip Hiss. On Friday meet Victor Lundy at the Blue Pagoda near the Municipal Auditorium on Tamiami Trail where the official proclamation for Victor Lundy Week will take place starting at 5:30 p.m. Lundy will also be available Saturday night with dinner under the stars at the Umbrella House starting at 7 p.m. As of this writing there is one seat remaining for this event limited to 40 guests. There are also opening and closing parties on Friday and Sunday, respectively. SarasotaMOD is in its third year and is a partnership of the Sarasota Architectural Foundation and The Sarasota Museum of Art.

Weekend opera, plays, musicals

If you are in town for SarasotaMOD and have some downtime, here are a number of events that may interest you, starting with two daily performances running through Sunday:

  • Don Pasquale, Sarasota Opera House: This comic opera by Gaetano Donizetti about greed and lifelong happiness of marriage and inheritance.
  • Assassins, Manatee Performing Arts Center, Bradenton: This controversial Tony Award winning musical tours history through its violent assassinations.
  • The Wiz, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, Sarasota: This musical is an adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s, The Wizard of Oz. It runs through November 19 with a limited number of seats remaining.
  • Young Frankenstein, The Players Centre for Performing Arts, Sarasota: One of Mel Brooks’ most humorous movies for the live stage is presented through November 20.
  • Book of Days, FSU/Asolo Conservatory, Sarasota: Also running through November 20, these drama actors in training take on Lanford Wilson’s Book of Days, a murder mystery set in Dublin, Missouri.
  • Get Out of Dodge, play, Venice Theatre, Venice: The third performance running through November 20 is set in Idaho and portrays the challenges of a suburban New York woman who transitions to small town life, with some humorous moments.

Weekend events starting Friday

There are plenty of single day and other events this weekend worth looking at, starting with the Veteran’s Day celebrations on Friday:

  • Veterans Appreciation Day, St. Armands Circle, Friday
  • Veterans Day Parade, Bay Isles Road, Longboat Key, Friday
  • Hein Jung & Grigorios Zamparas, matinee series, Living Lord Lutheran Church, Lakewood Ranch, Friday
  • Siesta Key Crystal Classic, sand sculpting competition, Siesta Key beach: November 11-15
  • Chalk Festival, Airport, Venice: November 11-14
  • Pavement Music Festival, Airport Fairgrounds, Venice: November 11-14
  • Cirque Ma'Ceo, equestrian circus arts, Airport Fairgrounds, Venice: November 11-14

Saturday only

  • Customer Appreciation Expo, Robart's Arena, Sarasota
  • 5K Fun Run, Airport Fairgrounds, Venice
  • Fiesta Italiana, Adventure Park, Lakewood Ranch
  • FST Improv, Florida Studio Theatre, Sarasota
  • Laugh Your Paws Off, Larry Miller comedy benefit, Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota

Saturday and Sunday

  • Annual Fall Sidewalk Sale, St. Armands Circle
  • Annual Art Festival, St. Armands Circle
  • Sarasota Medieval Fair, Fairgrounds, Sarasota
  • Todd Murray's Croon, artist series concert, Historic Asolo Theatre, Sarasota

Sunday only

  • Ski-A-Rees, water ski show, Ken Thompson Park, City Island
  • A Tribute to America's Veterans, Riverview Performing Arts Center

I hope you are able to really enjoy some of the events this weekend and honor our veterans on Friday. I have two new listings last week, residences on Longboat Key that are worth looking at. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
1445 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #203 $679,000 Video Photo Slideshow
1125 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #103 $629,000   Photo Slideshow


Fairway Bay - Community Spotlight

by Roger Pettingell

Fairway Bay: golfing, boating and more

Choice among Townhouses, Mid-Rise and Atriums

REALTALK #80 on Fairway Bay, Longboat Key
REALTALK™ #80 - I describe the Fairway Bay community in this March 2016 REALTALK™ video.

So you want to be close to the fairway of a world class championship golf course and you want to moor your 85-foot yacht on the bay in a marina with wonderful amenities. Look no further than the community of Fairway Bay. That may be enough. You'll also be close to fine dining and Gulf of Mexico beach access. Then you would have a community aptly named Fairway Bay Dining Beach. What about a neighborhood that also is a short bike ride to great shopping at St. Armands Circle and grocery shopping at Publix? Understandably you might not want all that in a community name, but Fairway Bay does have it all.

Walk out your door and you are on the fairway of the second of two championship golf courses of the Longboat Key Club, its Harbourside golf course. There are 27 holes played in pairs of nine for your 18-hole pleasure. An accurate tee shot is required for the fairways on the 3,426-yard White Egret course but large greens are inviting you on your second or third shot. In contrast, there is plenty of open fairway on the Red Hawk course. There is also plenty of water so it is challenging, yet beautiful scenery on it its course of 3,323 yards. You also have the third option, the Blue Heron course of 3,401 yards. You may not even take your golf bag as the scenery here is enticing enough and launches this course as one of the most famous on the Longboat Key Club golf tour. The 18-hole Links on Longboat golf course is three miles to the south.

You are also within a short walk to your yacht in the largest deep-water marina on the Gulf of Mexico coast. This is a full service marina with boat slips up to 150 feet, that accommodate anything from nightly to annual docking. You are close to the Portofino Ristorante & Bar or you can jump on one of the shuttles to experience any of the seven other fine dining establishments at the Longboat Key Club. Annual or summer memberships are available for club membership to include all the amenities of tennis, spa and pool lounging.

Amenities at Fairway Bay
Among the many amenities at Fairway Bay is a resort-style heated swimming pool

If that isn’t enough you have a choice of townhouses that were built in Phase One of Fairway Bay in 1982. These townhouses won the Aurora design competition for their copper roofs and distinct blue awning. Arvida Corporation went on to build a total of 264 residences in the coming four years with more phases consisting of mid-rise and Atrium residences, a mid-rise with three-bedroom floor plans. There is a private garage for each residence of Fairway Bay. These properties start well below $1 million and have plenty of value on Longboat Key, known for its multi-million-dollar homes.

Fairway Bay has its own set of amenities including two heated resort style swimming pools, with hot tub and spa. There is also a fitness center and clubhouse. All properties are behind 24/7 manned gates and each owner has deeded access to the Bay Isles Beach Club. This club is on the beautiful white Gulf of Mexico beach sands. On the beach you will find private pavilions, showers, restroom, grilling areas and beach volleyball layouts. But the greatest amenities you will see are the views of the Sarasota Bay, city skyline at night or the sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico waters.

2016 Harbourside Dr, #334/335
Rare 3 bedroom - Call us to see this Fairway Bay residence with wonderful bay and skyline views.

I currently have on the market, a rarely available 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom residence at Fairway Bay with 2,462 square feet of living space with two terraces at 2016 Harbourside Dr, #334/335. I have three more listings added last week. The first is a wonderful 6-bedroom estate with guest cottage on Siesta Key with deep-water dockage near the famous white sands of Siesta Key beach. Our new listing at L’Ambiance is a 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom furnished residence that is on the southern Longboat Key Club golf course, Links on Longboat. I have another furnished residence for sale, a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom property in the Longboat Terrace community at 5393 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #204. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy. Happy Halloween!

Address List Price Media Slideshow
5151 Jungle Plum Road $3,195,000 Video Photo Slideshow
435 L'Ambiance Dr, #K306 $1,649,000 Video Photo Slideshow
5393 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #204 $620,000   Photo Slideshow


Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing


New construction off the beaten path in Sarasota

by Roger Pettingell

Spurt in Rosemary District revitalizes area

New constructions in downtown Sarasota are filling needs

Valencia in the Rosemary District of Sarasota, Florida
Valencia - There are plenty of good opportunities here in the Rosemary District of downtown Sarasota.

Drive off the beaten path of Sarasota’s Tamiami Trail, and you will find an explosion of new condominium construction, revitalizing the downtown area. The Rosemary District has been neglected for years but is now in the middle of a growth spurt that will turn around this area. Its boundaries begin at Fruitville Road on the south, extends northward to 10th Street, then to the trail on the west and Orange Avenue on the east. The location is ideal with its close proximity to downtown shopping and dining. Take in a performance at the The Players Theatre or the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe. Its history is as long as Sarasota itself, platted with the city in 1885.

Drive up Cocoanut Avenue and the large new building Cityside on the right looms in your line of sight at Boulevard of the Arts. In two phases 489 apartments will be completed and ready for rental soon. To the left at the intersection is Valencia at Rosemary Place. These luxury townhouses are expected to be completed this winter, with the Pamplona floor plan sold out by Icon Residential. However, there are plenty of available residences as the construction project continues to the north. Ten units of the Almeria floor plan along May Lane are offered with 2,099 square feet of living space, complete with a deck and garage. The Cordoba is slightly smaller and also has a garage with each residence. As bookends at each end of May Lane where 10 units of the Almeria floor plans will be built are the Madrid on the west and the Barcelona on the east at the Cocoanut Avenue intersection. Icon has other construction projects in Tampa Bay, Orlando and Atlanta.

When completed in the summer of 2017 there will be 22 new residences that are selling in the range of $350,000 to $900,000 at Risdon on 5th. Six remain unsold in this gated community. Award-winning architects Michael Halflants and John Pichette are planning a rooftop swimming pool with great views of downtown Sarasota. Halflants and Pichette are also the involved architects for Vanguard Lofts at 1343 Fourth Street. One residence of the six remains unsold and is a 2BR/2BA with two-car garage. It is listed for $799,000 with expected completion of this community in March of 2017.

There will be 489 new apartments in the Rosemary District when all of Cityside is finished.

No discussion of new construction in Sarasota would be complete without mentioning The Vue at Gulfstream and Tamiami Trail. When completed in early 2017, there will be 141 residences in 18 stories that overlook the Sarasota skyline. Five properties are active in MLS as of this morning’s writing, which includes these two penthouses. Residence number 1802 is a three bedroom, three and one half bath property that includes three parking spaces listed at $3,399,000. Unit 1801 listed at $2,999,000 has four bedrooms, four and a half baths with two assigned parking spaces. Nearing completion, there is still time to purchase and add your finishing touches to the design.

If your wishes are to be on the barrier islands and want to move in soon, the Park Residences on Lido Key may be right for you. Three of the 18 residences here are still active listings. You are steps to the Gulf of Mexico white sand beach and bordered by 100 acres of nature preserve at Ted Sperling Park. All floor plans are sold with three bedrooms and three bathrooms. The famed St. Armands Circle is close and Sarasota is a short drive away over the Ringling Bridge.

The newly completed Aria at Villa am Meer and the contemporary Infinity communities have sold all of their properties on Longboat Key. However, there are many Longboat Key residences for sale that have been updated with modern finishes and available.

Last week I listed two homes and two residences for sale on Longboat Key. The luxury home at 5080 Gulf of Mexico Drive has five bedrooms, five full baths and three half baths. It is complete with infinity-edge pool and boat dockage. The home for sale at 1011 Longboat Club Road is a golfer’s paradise on Longboat Key Club’s Islandside golf course and is only one of seven custom homes there within walking distance to the beach. A short distance is my new listing at L'Ambiance Dr, #D906, also on Islanside golf course and overlooks the newly renourished Gulf beach at this elegant community. I have also listed a rarely available three bedroom walk-down to the beach residence at Beachplace, with its many fine amenities. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
5080 Gulf of Mexico Drive $6,990,000 Video Photo Slideshow
1011 Longboat Club Road $2,795,000 Video Photo Slideshow
415 L'Ambiance Dr, #D906 $2,600,000 Video Photo Slideshow
1055 Gulf of Mexico Dr. #106 $1,299,000   Photo Slideshow


Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing


Philanthropy begins with donation of time

by Roger Pettingell

Non-profits make Sarasota a better place

Organizations thrive on donations and volunteers

Southeastern Guide Dogs in REALTALK #64
Southeastern Guide Dogs - The CEO of this non-profit said they need 1,100 active volunteers.

A good way to support the community is to give a donation to a non-profit organization that provides essential services in a variety of opportunities. These worthy programs supplement government programs that support all ages in the community. Chose a subject and there is likely something out there that survives on charities. Although they have programs for your tax-deductible donations, they also have need for the philanthropist that has time to donate. That may include any skill level and any amount of time.

For instance, you may have a passion for dogs. The Southeastern Guide Dogs, with their campus in Palmetto, provides dog training for very special animals that assist the visually impaired. These dogs also are useful in providing companionship for soldiers returning from oversees combat. Over 2,800 dogs have assisted the needs of people in the United States. Although you may not initially be able to volunteer in the training program itself, there are volunteer needs as kennel helpers, grounds keepers and administrative support. And after 25 hours of service you may advance to training that may lead to working with the puppies or assisting in their Walkathon fund-raisers. Titus Herman, CEO, told me in REALTALK™ #64 that 1,100 volunteers are needed to successfully run the programs.

The Humane Society of Sarasota County needs volunteers for Stay-Cations, a program that places dogs in different environments to determine temperament. They also have needs for excursion buddies, feline friendship, matchmakers and involvement in fundraising activities. Lakewood Ranch has similar programs in their no-kill Humane Society of Lakewood Ranch, as does the Humane Society of Manatee County in Bradenton.

Mote Marine Aquarium and Save our Seabirds are two programs at Ken Thompson Park on City Island that are nationally recognized organizations devoted to the preservation of our aquatic wildlife. Volunteers are need at Save Our Seabirds to support the hospital staff or help with maintenance, administration and fundraising. After training volunteers also are put on a list to assist in rescuing seabirds. There are 1,600 volunteers at Mote Marine that assist in the aquariums, laboratories, dolphin and whale hospital, and even the annual Crystal Classic Master Sandsculpting Competition held on Siesta Key, this year November 11 through November 15.

If you are better suited to teach, you will find that volunteers are needed to spend time with adults and students in specialized reading programs. Almost 9,000 volunteers help young students learn to read outside of the classroom in the Sarasota County School District Volunteer and Partnership program. An enthusiasm to help is sometimes more valuable in this program than an expertise in a particular subject. Partners are needed to help tutor in science, history, math and reading.

The Florida, Take Stock in Children program that is in all 67 counties needs volunteers to mentor children in low-income families and prepare them for higher levels of education. There is a scholarship fund that provides graduates with tuition toward a four-year degree.

The Literacy Council of Sarasota needs tutors of the English language to help one-on-one or small group instruction in the basics of reading and writing. Since 1978 the Literacy Council of Sarasota has been providing reading support for young adults, singles and adults with families.

Volunteers are needed in the eight public libraries and technical services departments in Sarasota. There are adult volunteer coordinators you should contact in each of the libraries in order to get started assisting the librarians with a variety of functions.

Volunteer ushers are needed in each of the sporting events that are held here. A friendly disposition and basic knowledge of baseball is helpful to volunteer at Ed Smith Stadium for the Oriole’s or McKechnie Field in Bradenton for the Pirate’s spring training games. The summer league in Bradenton is a rewarding pastime that will just keep you active to help support these potential major leaguers.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
In REALTALK™ #101 this month Nate Jacobs told me ticket sales account for 45% of revenue needed. The WBBT needs donations and volunteers to continue their success in local theater.

The theater, as you are aware, is huge in Sarasota. The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, Florida Studio Theatre, The Players, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Venice Theatre and more have volunteer programs to assist in administration, ticket and usher support. The Ringling Museum of Art needs volunteer support in these areas and also require help with guided tours.

With just about any interest in animals, health, school, sports or theater you can find volunteer opportunities here in Sarasota. Nearly every non-profit organization will have a program that you can get involved with. These programs help to make Sarasota a great place to live.

I listed four new quality homes last week on Longboat Key, two of them in Country Club Shores with direct boat access to Sarasota Bay and two on Longboat Club Road. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
584 Hornblower Lane $2,895,000 Video Photo Slideshow
551 Birdie Lane $1,199,000   Photo Slideshow
1021 Longboat Club Road $999,000   Photo Slideshow
603 Longboat Club Road, #503N $749,000   Photo Slideshow


Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing


Eighth Annual Ringling International Arts Festival

by Roger Pettingell

Comedy, concerts, dance and conversations

Artists worldwide visit Sarasota for this four-day festival

Home of John and Mable Ringling, Ca' d'Zan
Ca’ d’Zan - Matt Haimovitz performs one of three Bach Suites cello concerts in the Ringling home.

An international flair, with themes. For the eighth year, the Ringling will bring together theatrical artists from around the world for their 2016 Ringling International Arts Festival. And as for a theme, it may be more subtle this year compared to 2015 when Ringling opened the Asian Arts Center with themed acts from that section of the globe. And although the opening night celebration on Thursday night contains a Brazilian theme, other performances are more earthly than geographical through the final show on Sunday.

Seven of the 12 events are multi-day performances so you can pick the day based on your schedule or desire to catch one of the five single-day events of lectures, guided tours, travel discussions, jazz after hours or venue of the Bach Suites cello concerts by Matt Haimovitz. For 60 minutes the acclaimed performer Haimovitz from Israel will present overtures by leading composers. His performances at the Ringling home, Ca’ d’Zan, on Friday and Saturday in the Huntington Gallery of the Museum are sold out, but his 2 p.m. concert on Sunday in the Historic Asolo Theatre has tickets available.

The opening ceremony Thursday night in the courtyard celebrates Brazilian dance and music, A Night in Brazil with the Dendê & Band. Your ticket includes complimentary hors d’oeuvres, light libations and will open a cash bar for the patrons.

Separate tickets are required for the other opening day performances. Before the opening ceremony choose from Doug Elkins dance choreography in the Asolo Repertory Theatre or the Eighth Blackbird: Hand Eye in the Hstoric Asolo Theatre. Both shows start at 7 p.m. on Thursday but also extend two more days. Doug Elkins features Shakespeare’s play, Othello, set to a modern score, Hapless Bizarre and Mo(or)town/Redux. The three-time Grammy Awards winning band from Chicago, Eighth Blackbird, performs Hand Eye. The six members blend percussions, piano, wind and stringed instruments into a show that expresses new music compositions with the energy of rock and roll music.

Also on Thursday in the Ringling Circus Museum is the show A Simple Space, performed by the Gravity & Other Myths circus troupe of seven from Australia. These stunning performances through Sunday of the festival include incredible acrobatics with a combination of physical endurance.

Asolo Repertory Theatre, Cook Theatre and Mertz Theatre
Asolo Repertory Theater - Some performances of the arts festival will be held here.

Thomas Monckton from New Zealand will delight audiences Friday through Sunday with his slapstick style of comedy on piano, reminiscent of Victor Borge. He will perform his shows, The Pianist, with Finland comedian Circo Aereo with shows at 5 p.m. on Friday and Sunday at 8 p.m. in the Asolo Repertory Theatre.

There is more comedy in the Asolo Repertory Theatre Saturday at 9 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m. as LMnO3 takes the stage with its B.A.N.G.S.: made in America show. Politely disguised as a dance performance, the three comedians include jokes that may test adult sensibilities. You may want to consider leaving the children with another performance.

Interested in travel? Put 17 Border Crossings by award winning actor and director Thaddeus Phillips on your ticket purchase list. This show in the Asolo Repertory Theatre on Friday and Saturday is not a travel lecture, yet a theatrical journey across international boundaries with a performance of customs and culture in each of the countries.

There are single-day tour and conversation events. On Friday there is a conversation with select artists led by RIAF curator of performances, Dwight Currie, in a free event at the Chao Lecture Hall in the Center for Asian Art. In this event, Passion & Process, the artists discuss topics of their interests. Another free event on Friday in the Bayfront Gardens is the guided tour Seeing in All Senses, an experience of this familiar garden with a new outlook that looks past the sense of sight.

Check the RIAF schedule, some free events may require a ticket. There is free admission to the Museum of Art and Circus Museum with each performance ticket purchased. Each performance purchase also includes free admission to the Lounge on the Lawn series Friday through Sunday. The long range forecast is for sunny skies each day, but this series is rain or shine. With the libations and light snacks you will mingle among patrons and artists while catching the musical talents of invited bands. Enjoy Latin music from Combo Vimana or the violin and guitar romance music from Hot Club of SRQ on Friday and Saturday. Zen Seraphine joins in on the musical trend Saturday with its themed Celtic and Hungarian performance. Seraphine is the sole act on Sunday. Your performance ticket also includes free entry to After-Hours Jazz that starts at 9 p.m. Friday with Marc Mannino on guitar and Saturday with Matthew Falgowsi on keyboard. You can also save 20% on tickets by purchasing a block of seven tickets or 10% with a purchase of four to six performance tickets. Purchase tickets and check show times through their website.

We are getting closer to peak season and have listed six new homes for sale on Longboat Key and one in Lakewood Ranch. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing of any home listed or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
6857 Gulf of Mexico Drive $3,995,000 Video Photo Slideshow
16210 Clearlake Avenue $1,690,000 Video Photo Slideshow
3030 Grand Bay Blvd, #345 $1,015,000 Video Photo Slideshow
5481 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #210 $999,000   Photo Slideshow
1050 Longboat Club Rd, #906 $799,000 Video Photo Slideshow
536 Lyons Lane $699,000   Photo Slideshow
3240 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #B501 $529,000 Video Photo Slideshow


Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing


Improving the local economy with good local schools

by Roger Pettingell

Sarasota high schools achieve high marks

Academic, athletic, parochial and military options available

Booker High School in Sarasota
Booker High School - One of eight high schools located in the northern Sarasota district.

Last month I wrote about the many fine colleges in the area, the high schools are stellar too. The students that graduate from public schools in Sarasota achieve higher in college placement and graduate a higher percentage of students than many school districts. Private schools provide excellent education for students, including St. Stephens Episcopal School in Bradenton, that is the ninth ranked private school in the state as reported by In sports, parents from around the country enroll their student-athletes in IMG Academy in Bradenton. Sarasota even has a high school military academy.

Public school districts in Florida are generally divided by counties so the largest districts in the United States reside here. Those include the Miami-Dade County District, fifth in the nation with over 347,000 enrolled students. Broward, Hillsborough, Orange, Palm Beach and Duval counties are in the top 25 as rated by 2010 attendance records. In the 2014-15 school year Sarasota recorded 41,910 students in its final count.

The county is divided into eight public high school zones, some of which are ranked high in the state and in the nation. Increasingly the district school board looks for budget items that divert classroom expenditures. To convert money for teacher salaries and supplies the board has created innovative programs. Recently the district has undergone an energy makeover to make it more efficient. The savings are substantial, reducing their energy costs to 96 cents per square foot. That is 24 cents below the state average. Its retrofit to LED lighting and Chiller ice tanks for thermal energy storage have saved the district scarce dollars that it is diverting to the schools for classroom expenses.

Pine View School is ranked number one in the state and seventh nationally with a 100% graduation rate and has a ranking of 100 in college readiness. They received the gold medal award from U.S. News & World Report. Pine View, located in Osprey, has an enrollment of 2,180 students with a 17:1 ratio of students to teachers. The school received a ranking of 10 out of 10 by The unique curriculum combines an independent study program with traditional classes.

Riverview High School in the city of Sarasota received a 9 rating by GreatSchools. It is the largest school in the county with 2,654 students enrolled. With 161 teachers the student to teacher ratio is 16:1. This school excels in athletics, graduating five professional baseball players and three professional football players. The current head football coach, Todd Johnson, played safety for the Chicago Bears, St. Louis Rams and Buffalo Bills in the span of 2004-2007. The baseball team has won eight state championships, the latest in 2007, and has won state titles in softball, tennis and boys golf.

Overall the county is listed fifth best in the state by with A grades in academics and student culture. Venice Senior High School received an 8 GreatSchools rating and also excels in athletics with four state volleyball and an equal number of baseball titles. The football program won the state championship in 2000 and was ranked seventh in the nation that year.

Sarasota High School is one of the oldest schools in the county, first established in 1913. With over 2,600 students and 139 teachers, the ratio is 19:1. The Sailor Circus began at the school in 1950 as a physical education class, but started the year before as a half-time football performance. Sailor Circus is now operated under the Circus Arts Conservatory but is still known as The Greatest Little Show On Earth. Professional golfers Paul Azinger and Scott Dunlap are alumni from the school that has graduated 15 professional baseball players over the years. Famous performer Pee-Wee Herman graduated in 1970 as Paul Rubenfeld.

North Port High School with a GreatSchools rating of 6 and Booker High School in Sarasota with a rating of 5 are two more fine Sarasota public schools. Oak Park School in Sarasota has a 6:1 student to teacher ratio, in comparison one of the smallest schools in the county with 337 students enrolled.

The county invested $16 million in 2008 for the career-focused Suncoast Polytechnical High School with studies from biomedical engineering to computer gaming. U.S. News & World Report gave this school a silver rating. From its inception, the school is limited to 600 students and currently has enrolled 528 with 26 full-time teachers.

Sarasota Military Academy (SMA)
The Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) with its JROTC Black Knight Raiders have won national competitions.

Integrity, honor and respect are key in academics and student participation at the Sarasota Military Academy (SMA). The charter school opened in 2002 and currently enrolls 1,000 students. The JROTC Black Knight Raiders have won national competitions with event testing in 5K runs, litter carries, rope-bridge building, tire flips and endurance events. Graduating seniors are accepted into higher education programs at a 90% rate.

In 2016 ranked Florida private schools and St. Stephen's Episcopal School fifth for best private school teachers, ninth for best private schools and fifth for best Christian high schools. It received A grades in academics, teachers, clubs and outcomes. The school touts its record that 100% of its graduates attend colleges with four-year degree programs. It has also graduated 33 national merit scholarship finalists since 2005. The school affiliated with the Episcopal Church was founded in 1970 and currently enrolls 800 students in grades pre-kindergarten through the senior class in high school.

Division I colleges look to IMG Academy when recruiting athletes for their sports programs. IMG trains student-athletes in golf, tennis, soccer, baseball, basketball, football, lacrosse, track and cross country. A long list of professional athletes have graduated from IMG, founded in 1978. In 2012 IMG Pendleton School changed its name to the current IMG Academy.

Combining the diversity of programs at the high school level and excellent higher education options, Sarasota continues to attract parents who pursue the best school options for their children. Better schools also attract quality businesses that improves the local economy. All in all, the real estate market benefits. Last week I listed The Belle of the Beach, a private beachfront chateau in Siesta Key with 4 bedrooms and 4.5 baths. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
636 Beach Road, Siesta Key $6,750,000 Video Photo Slideshow


The visible signs of Sarasota growth

by Roger Pettingell

New hotels, high-rises and businesses

Snowbird survivor's guide to summer construction changes

Vue Sarasota and Embassy Suites
Vue Sarasota on the right nears completion while the 18-story Embassy Suites hotel at left goes skyward.

The car carrier company is transporting your automobile to Longboat Key and you are landing at SRQ the week after Thanksgiving to spend a few months under the warm Florida sunshine. You may have done this for years. Every year you might see a new building from the window of your cab on the route to your winter home. This year may be different for you as there are many new buildings. The most notable change hits you as you approach Gulfstream Avenue in downtown Sarasota. That’s where the fun really begins.

The 800-pound gorilla in the intersection is the new Westin Hotel and Vue Sarasota residences. It might have been at the ground level when you left. Now it is fully formed, seemingly ready for guests and residents. Depending on when you arrive, the Westin may already be accepting guests for booking in any of their 255 rooms. Construction continues on the 144 residences and is expecting to be completed in early 2017. Included in the construction is a 14,000 square-foot ballroom and two junior ballrooms of nearly 6,000 square feet each.

Across the street on Tamiami Trail is the shell of the new Embassy Suites and Spa with 180-200 guest rooms under construction. There had been a small cabinet retailer on the corner when you left that was razed for this 18-story edifice that is expected to be completed in mid-2017. In all, the Embassy Suites and Westin will offer two-thirds of the new hotel rooms with ongoing construction in downtown Sarasota. The Aloft Hotel on One Palm Avenue has already opened with its 138 rooms.

You turn right to head over the Ringling Causeway to Coon Key and the bridge to St. Armands Circle. At the end of the bridge you notice evidence that the bridge had been repaired over the summer. Repairs limited traffic to one lane and added an average of 20 minutes to the morning commute. You accept that you were lucky to avoid that daily transit.

Looking to your left you see a construction site at the Plymouth Harbor of Sarasota Bay. The assisted living facility is adding 70 new residences in its Northwest Garden Building that will be devoted to memory care units, assisted living and independent living. The 150,000 square foot building in three stories is expected to be completed early next year.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital Urgent Care facility
The new urgent care facility in St. Armands Circle is part of the Sarasota Memorial Hospital system.

In the short span of your drive past the Ringling Bridge to St. Armands Circle has one more view of new construction. Where the old St. Armands Medical Center had been, a new urgent care building may be open for patients. As part of the Sarasota Memorial Hospital system of urgent care facilities the new center will have lab and X-ray capabilities to help treat patients. This will become the sixth urgent care facility in the hospital system that are located in Manatee and Sarasota counties. There are two floors for patients with injuries that are non-life threatening and will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily when it opens in October.

Depending on your location on Longboat Key you may pass the new 16-unit Aria at Villa am Meer community and Infinity with its 11 luxury waterfront residences. You will notice that the Colony Beach and Tennis resort is in different phases of razing for a new community with 180 residences and equal number of hotel rooms. What you won’t see is construction for a Floridays hotel on the north end of the island. You may have even sent in an absentee ballot for an August 30th referendum that would have allowed the proposed hotel. Voters decidedly rejected the proposal. The new Zota hotel at 4711 Gulf of Mexico Drive is expected to open December 1. The former Hilton Beachfront Resort was renovated and a new 84-room tower will be available for nightly stays.

SRQ Air Traffic Control Tower
SRQ Air Traffic Control Tower - Look for the new tower northwest of the runways when landing.

You arrive at your place, now it’s time to unpack and head to the beach. You will see that Tropical Storm Hermine didn’t erode much of the beaches. Instead, you will find a more extended beach due to renourishment projects in New Pass, Longboat Pass through dredging projects and beaches in between through daily truck hauls where hundreds of thousands of cubic sand renewed the beaches on Longboat Key.

Reflecting back to your landing at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport you may have noticed the construction of the air traffic control tower in the northwest corner of the runway system. Another sign of the growth that Sarasota is experiencing. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

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Roger Pettingell of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate is your Longboat Key, Florida Luxury Real Estate Specialist. Roger provides his real estate expertise to sellers, investors, developers, and buyers in the Sarasota area including Anna Maria, Bird Key, Bradenton Beach, Casey Key, Cortez, Grand Bay, Holmes Beach, Longboat Key, Marina Bay, Osprey and Siesta Key. Search for homes, luxury homes, condominiums, investment property, development property, and vacant land and lots on the Longboat Key, Florida and the surrounding area.