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Bridge repairs and replacement progress

by Roger Pettingell

Two bridge projects on barrier islands

Repairs to Longboat Pass and FDOT options to replace Cortez bridge

Longboat Pass bridge
Repairs of Longboat Pass Bridge - Crews work on the Longboat Pass bridge on the north end

The north end of the barrier islands, Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island, have been the subject of construction projects with plans for the future. Two projects are in the works, the Florida Department of Transportation has started work on the Longboat Pass bridge and is reviewing plans to alleviate congestion with new designs for the Cortez bridge.

The $5.2 million of repairs to the Longboat Pass bridge will add 10 more years of life to the 60-year-old bridge. Although considered safe to cross, the extended life will give FDOT time to research the best course of action for the future of the bridge. The Longboat Pass connects Longboat Key to the south end of Bradenton Beach where Coquina Beach is located. The drawbridge also connects the intracoastal waterway to the Gulf of Mexico for boaters.

Drivers and boaters have seen little impact to their commutes. There have been minimal lane closures during the day as most work continues during the nighttime hours between 9 PM and 6 AM. There is no work scheduled on weekends. The walkways for pedestrians will be impacted by closures. Procedures are in place to ensure emergency vehicles can cross in a timely manner.

Construction will affect boat traffic, mainly sail boaters with masts to exceed 17 feet that require the drawbridge to be raised as a passage to the Gulf. Before the work boaters could request an opening 24 hours a day. During construction the bridge operator will honor requests at 10 AM, 2 PM and 6 PM, with a 30-minute window at each of the three times. Boaters can hail the operator with one long and one short blast on the horn. They also monitor VHF channel 9 for requests.

Alternatives for boaters are to the north through the Cortez and Manatee drawbridges or to the south through New Pass bridge or the open waters of Big Sarasota Pass. Recent dredging projects have made these waterways more accessible to boaters with deep drafts. Still, caution should be exercised.

Repairs include the drawbridge grid deck, concrete road deck, reinforcement of steel beams, railings, underwater erosion protection, fender repairs, and mechanical and electrical systems. Longboat Key was dismissed from a lawsuit last year when the bridge was damaged by a contractor replacing a water pipe under the bridge in 2014.

FDOT Cortez Bridge simulation
FDOT posted a simulation of the proposed fixed-bridge

Over the last decade FDOT has reviewed changes to the bridge that crosses over from Cortez to Bradenton Beach. The two-lane drawbridge has been a nuisance to visitors attempting to cross the bridge as the volume mounts in peak season and the bridge has a liberal open rate for boaters. Three major repairs to the bridge since 1996 have been costly and future repairs will drive up costs even more. The last repair in 2015 extended the life of the 63-year-old bridge another 10 years.

FDOT presented two options in August 2017. The first is a replacement drawbridge that extended the closed height clearance from 17.5 feet to 35 feet. The second option presented is to have a fixed Ringling Bridge style with a 65-foot clearance. The department has announced it will make its final presentation and propose one of the solutions, possibly as soon as this month.

The most feasible is the fixed-bridge option, as revealed by those close to the project. A simulation was released that includes two lanes with a 10-foot wide pedestrian and bicycle crossing. The bridge will require a higher elevation at the beginning and touchdown points on both sides of the bridge. The projected cost is $75 million, and FDOT suggests it will save money over time by reducing maintenance and bridge tender labor costs.

The beginning and end points have residents concerned. Cortez home owners contend that the higher elevation will split the town in half. Cortez is a historic fishing village that flourished for many years before gill netting was banned in 1994. The village continues with seafood restaurants, some commercial fishing and is home to the Florida Maritime Museum.

On the other end in Bradenton Beach businesses with hotels say the elevated bridge will block the view that many of their patrons enjoy. The increased volume of traffic will also increase congestion at the Gulf Drive intersection, the two-lane north and south main road on Bradenton Beach that is controlled through a single traffic light. A roundabout at the intersection has been in discussion outside of the bridge project.

In 2017 the U.S. Coast guard reduced the bridge openings from three times an hour to twice an hour, at 15 minutes and 45 minutes after the hour between 6 AM and 7 PM. Bridge tenders can be hailed in the same manner of horn blasts and Channel 9 transmissions.

Last week I listed a home for sale at TPC Prestancia. Overlooking the 3rd hole of Stadium Golf Course, this lovely 4BR residence abounds in updates and custom features. Situated on a nearly 1/2-acre, estate-sized parcel offering tranquil views that stretch out to the lake. 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
3988 Losillias Drive $949,000 Video Photo Slideshow

 

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

 

New Longboat Key north end dining options

by Roger Pettingell

North end revamps its dining experiences

Mar Vista renovates, Shore opens as two new classy waterfront spots

Shore Restaurant, Longboat Key
Shore Restaurant Opens - After a couple years of construction the old Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant opens with new owners on the waterfront

When the Shore held its soft opening, it marked the beginning of a new era for the restaurant chain. It also established the north end of Longboat Key as another center of great restaurants on the island. When Mar Vista completed its three-year renovation, the seafood restaurant now offers a stark difference between the old charm of Florida and the modernistic look of its neighbor the Shore. And yet a third new restaurant with a more casual deli look is taking shape at the Gulf of Mexico Drive and Broadway Street corner. Whitney’s Restaurant will transform an old gas station into a casual atmosphere where beachgoers can relax.

Shore restaurant seats about 185 guests. With multiple bars, outdoor patio seating, an upper level and indoor dining your mood can set the tone for your seating expectancies. Almost every seat has a spectacular view of Jewfish Key and the intracoastal boat traffic. There are 14 slips for large boats on a 300-foot dock and a valet car parking service.

Shore Restaurant - March 2019
Construction progressed quickly on the Shore Restaurant since this photo was taken in March 2019

It is on the previous site of Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant, which closed in 2015 after 40 years of serving seafood on Longboat Key. Tom Leonard and Mark Caragiulo purchased the property for 3.2 million dollars and have put in a couple more million into its construction. If you are familiar with the Shore restaurant on St. Armands Circle, most of the menu items will carry over to the Longboat Key restaurant that the co-owners had a vision to create a special place on this island paradise. There will be local favorites that have been served in St. Armands Circle combined with creative recipes for variety.

The restaurant is operating under a temporary certificate of occupancy until it completes some final tasks required by building inspectors. Those should be complete by the end of the month. The owners have endured other setbacks. They wanted to have more parking so they requested this summer that Longboat Key vacate a portion of the sidewalk so they could have 14 additional spaces. That request was denied by the Planning and Zoning Board. Opening was also delayed when a fire destroyed the interior of the building during construction last fall.

Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub, Longboat Key
Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub - Opening its doors, literally after renovation completed this year

The Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub opened its doors, literally, earlier this year after a three-year renovation process that added side doors for an open-air dining area. It kept its unique outdoor seating under buttonwood trees, with views of plentiful dock space, the water beyond and a new outdoor fireplace. On the interior there is state-of-the art kitchen, a renewed dining area and an extra capacity bar for its patrons. As with the Shore, Mar Vista has 14 dock slips and a beach to pull up your kayak or paddleboard.

The two-million dollar renovation that reopened earlier this year was the former home, rental, bar and bait shop until the 1980s when it was purchased by the Chiles Restaurant Group. The son of former Florida Governor Lawton Chiles, Ed Chiles is the founding member of the chain that includes the BeachHouse Restaurant on Bradenton Beach and the Sandbar Seafood & Spirits on the north end of Anna Maria Island. Chiles Restaurant Group also owns the Gamble Creek Farm, a supplier of fresh produce for the restaurants in the chain.

Serving portions of seafood are generous at Mar Vista. Whether you start with the smoked Florida fish board or calamari and continue with an entrée of scallops, shrimp and grits or even try one of the favorite mullet dishes, you can be assured the preparation is exquisite. There is a special Land Line menu with dishes that are served with fries. Leave some room for dessert. It received the 2019 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.

Also on the short road of Broadway Street, James Bearley is transforming an old gas station that had sit vacant for years at the Gulf of Mexico Drive intersection. The lighter deli menu at Whitney’s Roadside is expected to attract a beach crowd under its 2,128-square-foot building. Architects have worked in the old gas station design but removed the overhead canopy. The name is an honoring remembrance to Gordon and Lora Whitney who moved to Longboat Key in 1935 and ultimately built 13 cottages for the Whitney Beach village. Nearby Whitney Plaza is also named for the famous development. Two of the remaining cottages have been moved across Broadway Street from the old station awaiting funding to become a welcoming and historical center.

Contemporary style
I discuss the contemporary style of this home near Harry's Continental Kitchen in REALTALK™ #213

Your choices have expanded with the renovations and additions of these restaurants. For many years Longboat Key residents have had great choices on the northern end of the island. You can opt for the Longbeach Café and there is still fine dining at Harry’s Continental Kitchen, currently closed for vacation until October 2nd. These two dining locations have been local favorites for years. Harry’s Continental Kitchen started as a catering service with take-out and opened as a full-time restaurant in 1985. Longbeach Café has been serving breakfast and lunch for many years.

I have some excellent properties for sale on the northern end of the island. Fall in love with newer contemporary home living in a quiet, waterfront locale at 705 Jungle Queen Way near Harry’s Continental Kitchen. I may have something exactly what you are looking for, even if they are currently resting off the market. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

 

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

 

Value listings on the Longboat Key beaches

by Roger Pettingell

Valuable residences on the beach

Sand Cay, Westchester and the Beaches Home Showcase communities

Value is a perception, an objective view of products, services and even homes. I selected residence sales today for my Home Showcase XXXVIII article that have a great amount of value. These are residences under one-million dollars. You don’t have to be a one-percenter to love and purchase these homes, especially if you want to have a place in the sun on Longboat Key. By the way, just about anywhere on Longboat Key is near the beach and all three of these are on the beach. That's value.

775 Longboat Club Rd, #706 - Beaches

This direct Gulf-front, 7th-floor residence at the Beaches is completely updated and move-in ready. Gulf shores and striking sunsets abound from every room of this designer 2BR beach getaway. Includes abundant secure parking.
$799,000 - Click here for the video

775 Longboat Club Rd, #706 - Click here for the website
4825 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #503 - Westchester

Direct Gulf-front retreat furnished and ready to rent or renovate! This 2BR, 5th-floor residence is a flourish of beautiful beach views and striking sunsets from every room. Includes covered parking and deeded beach access.
$644,000

4825 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #503 - Click here for the website
4725 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #309 - Sand Cay

This lovely, top-floor residence at Sand Cay offers cathedral ceilings, an open 2BR layout, plenty of windows to enhance the sunny atmosphere and is just steps from the beach.
$545,000

4725 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #309 - Click here for the website

Enjoy your holiday and stay safe from Hurricane Dorian. We have listings that are available for sale that you will see reenter the market starting in the fall. We also have several new listings that are off the market now but poised to be listed in MLS soon. Please contact us at (941) 387-1840 to schedule a showing of these properties or to see the other residences in our inventory.

 

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

 

Longboat and Sarasota infrastructure projects

by Roger Pettingell

Infrastructure projects for the future

Sarasota and Longboat Key proceeding with major construction projects

Intersection at corner of 14th Street and US41
14th Street roundabout - A temporary traffic light was added for traffic while a roundabout is constructed.

If you’ve been away from Sarasota for a few months you may be amazed at the new construction downtown. If you live here year round, your patience is needed so the necessary road and infrastructure is put in place to accommodate the BLVD and multi-year development of the old Quay property. The new Ritz-Carlton Grande is the first to start on that piece of land, with progress appearing before our eyes.

The latest boon in downtown development continues after the completion of the Westin – Vue Sarasota and Embassy Suites, and others in various stages of construction. All these extra hotel rooms and residences will significantly place a burden on the infrastructure. City planners are actively upgrading to accommodate the volume in traffic and services required. The progress is transforming Sarasota and most see it as a good thing.

The first road construction project at the corner of Ringling Boulevard at US41 had a turn lane installed and a new Hawk pedestrian crossing. It might be a little unsettling for the first time to know that you can legally drive through a flashing red light with no pedestrians in the crosswalk. This project completed mostly during nighttime hours had only a few inconvenienced.

It is an entire different project from Centennial Park to the Sarasota Bay Club where the major road expansion is underway. Drainage and utility services were restructured with the preliminary phase complete. The tie-in to the main services will take place within the next couple of weeks as reported by FDOT.

Intersection at corner of 10th Street and US41
10th Street roundabout - Traffic pattern changes and street widening is expected to be completed next year.

The US41 road expansion continues, with crews working mostly after 6 PM and before 6 AM. Sidewalks have been closed in areas and the main boat trailer entrance at 10th Street has been diverted to an area opposite of the Publix into Centennial Park. Even the northbound drivers can enter the park with access to the boat ramps. Drivers are urged to proceed with caution to account for the disruption of pedestrian and traffic patterns.

Roundabouts are considered a nuisance by some, or a blessing by others. The transportation experts have determined they will be required to keep a meaningful traffic flow when the construction projects are completed. The roundabouts at the two locations of 10th Street and 14th Street will coincide with the widening of US41 to six lanes, 10-foot sidewalks on the west and 6-foot sidewalks on the east between these two intersections. Parking for the Preserve is now across the street on the north side of 14th Street.

Phase I, or nine acres of the 53-acre parcel of Quay land labeled as The Bay, is planned to be completed in two years after its start, road construction in the area is expected to be completed next spring. The southern edge of The Bay will have its boundary at Boulevard of the Arts and extend through the existing Centennial Park to the new Sunset Boardwalk, a circular elevated structure that protrudes out into Sarasota Bay. The Bayside Lawn at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall forms the northern edge of Phase I. Discussion continues on the future of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Also in the early plans is a design showing another roundabout at Boulevard of the Arts but it’s not listed with FDOT and still appears on the project maps.

Center statues for the roundabouts have been submitted by local artists. Two designs will be selected by the City Commission through a vetting process, down to the final six, with residents weighing in through social media. Landscaping is planned for the roundabouts and the Boulevard of the Arts intersection.

Fiber optic underground service
No overhead utility lines - That is the goal for Longboat Key as workers bury fiber-optic lines on the Gulf of Mexico Drive southern end in separate projects involving power, utilities and street lights

Longboat Key has started its infrastructure project to bury utility lines. The goal is to prevent outages from storms and install street lights along Gulf Of Mexico Drive. The new lights will also service cell phone users with built-in transmission relays. The $48 million project is expected to be completed 2022. Funds were approved by voters in two separate referendums. The budget is to be kept separate between the first vote for utilities along Gulf of Mexico Drive and funds for the neighborhoods.

That completion date may depend on weather, and final discussions on the height of the street lights. Research has heights of 32 to 46 feet along Gulf of Mexico Drive and 26 to 41 feet along side streets. The project involves replacing Longboat Key’s 281 poles. Some concern has also been raised to ensure that 5G technology is implemented for cell service. The newest technology will bring in faster data speeds and improve cell phone reception. The plan is to marry these projects to one that involves a fiber-optic backbone on Longboat Key currently underway. Longboat Key has developed a website to provide updates at LBKUtilityUndergrounding.com. You can also sign-up for updates through your email address.

No more overhead lines for cable, power and phone service. The projects have started to prevent outages, safety and aesthetically pleasing. These improvements can help sell homes. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.

 

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

 

Summer home inventories for Sarasota

by Roger Pettingell

Unlisted properties and pre-listings

Available off-market properties as we prepare for peak selling season

The summer inventory and buyer market in REALTALK™ #209
Summer Inventory - Strategies for off-market listings are discussed in this REALTALK™ #209 video

When you move from the northern states it may take some time to adjust to the peak selling cycles here in Sarasota. As the snow melts and the grass begins to turn green might be the best time to list in the Midwest and Northeast states. But October to Easter are the hot sales months for the market in Florida. It is a simple concept, snowbirds that are here during the winter months have a desire to stay once they are exposed to what there is to offer in climate, entertainment and recreation under these sunny skies.

The summer allows us time to relax and to plan for the peak season. Before we know it, October is here and we start the daily routines of showings and listings. The inventory is low in August and with good reasons. Accumulating a high number of days on the market may be less appealing to potential buyers so sellers will take them off the market in order to reset the number of days to zero. These homes are still available as inventory, buyers may have to search a little harder or call a Realtor who likely has knowledge of these homes ready to sell. I discuss these strategies in REALTALK™ #209.

Some properties remain on the market. Sometimes they are listed in the summer because there may be a limited supply in a particular community. That’s an opportunity some sellers don’t want to pass up. There are buyers in the summer and unable to find anything in a neighborhood they like is discouraging. There are a variety of other reasons why sellers prefer to list their homes any time of the year. All are valid, and if attractive and priced right will offer a good home to a potential buyer.

We have listings that are available for sale that you will see reenter the market starting in the fall. We also have several new listings that are off the market now but poised to be listed in MLS soon. Please contact us at (941) 387-1840 to schedule a showing of these properties or to see the other residences in our inventory.

 
415 L'Ambiance Dr, PH-F

The stunning sunrise-to-sunset panoramic views offered at this designer penthouse residence are breathtaking! You will fall in love with the upgrades, elaborate terrace space and custom features at this 4,900+ SF beach home.
$7,495,000 - Click here for the video

415 L'Ambiance Dr, PH-F - Click here for the website
3010 Grand Bay Blvd, #461

This updated Antigua residence is a rare opportunity to enjoy a direct-bayfront lifestyle in designer luxury. Offering nearly 3,000 SF and a wraparound terrace, you will love the direct bay, golf course, downtown and marina views.
$1,895,000 - Click here for the video

Grand Bay 461 - Click here for the website
3531 Fair Oaks Lane

The treat of maintenance-free living behind secure club gates can be yours to immediately enjoy at this 4BR Queens Harbour residence. Cathedral ceilings, a neutral decor, lovely updates and lush lake views welcome you.
$1,295,000 - Click here for the video

3531 Fair Oaks Lane - Click here for the website
2675 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #103

Walk out directly from this beautiful 3BR beach getaway to enjoy pristine Gulf beach and azure waters. You will love the modified layout and open concept, tile flooring, impact windows/sliders, new kitchen, plus three designer baths.
$999,000 - Click here for the video

2675 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #103 - Click here for the website
3988 Losillias Drive, Sarasota

Relax in the backdrop of the private TPC Prestancia Golf & Social Club off the golf course fairway in this four-bedroom, 4,800+ SF dream home. Complete with three-car attached garage in this prestigious gated community.
$949,000

3988 Losillias Dr
3040 Grand Bay Blvd, #262

Panoramic 6th-floor direct bay views that stretch out to downtown and the Gulf of Mexico welcome you to this lovely 3BR residence. Relax the day away on the wraparound terrace and relish bay breezes.
$799,000

Grand Bay 262
1115 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #502

Fifth-floor views of tranquil lakes, fountains, the lush Beachplace community and reaching out to the Gulf of Mexico, that create a wonderful move-in ready environment at this 2BR residence, waiting for you to make it your own.
$519,000

1115 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #502 - Click here for the website

The classic and historic Sarasota Opera House

by Roger Pettingell

Opera House: More than just live opera

Film festivals, classic movies, concerts and more in downtown Sarasota

Opera and more in downtown Sarasota
Opera House - A venue for a variety of performances located at 61 N. Pineapple Ave., downtown Sarasota

The live opera season begins November 1 with six performances of Rigoletto and continues through March 22 with 41 days of opera, a five-opera season for the organization. This downtown venue is home to the Sarasota Opera, now in its 59th season. Opera was first performed in the Historic Asolo Theater on the Ringling grounds, but it wasn’t until 1982 that a permanent home was established when the former A.B. Edwards Theater was purchased and opened as the Sarasota Opera House.

The Opera House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, continues as host to a variety of events and live performances. In 2008 the Opera House underwent a $20 million restoration project to bring it up to its original glory of ornate fixtures, luxury carpeting and interior that brings out the classic opera look but presents itself as a 21st century structure. Under the artistic direction of Victor DeRenzi and Executive Director, Richard Russell, the cultural arts of Sarasota will be preserved for many years.

It has been the home of many different performances and movies, each year with a schedule of classic movies, concerts and lectures. Upcoming events this month include the 1948 classic movie, Key Largo, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, on August 23. On August 25 at 1:30 PM, the opera film Die Walkure is on the big screen.

Throughout the year there are more shows including the last classic movie of the summer season, Young Frankenstein, September 6 followed by the Nutcracker ballet on film that Sunday. Two weeks later, La Traviata, an opera film will be shown. There are other events too, the sixth annual Taste of Downtown is becoming a tradition in Sarasota. The September 21 event ends the summer in Sarasota with entrees prepared by downtown restaurants and craft beers from local breweries.

The concert East Marries West on October 4 brings together Pandit Shubhendra Rao on sitar, Vidushi Saskia Rao-de Haas on the Indian cello, and accompaniment of Aditya Kalyanpur on the tabla, an Indian percussion instrument with a set of drums played like bongos. This world-class performance at 7 PM has tickets available now through their box office.

In October there is a series of discussions with opera themes to help understand opera at the Kamlet Library, including a discussion on how things change have changed, ensembles in opera and Walt Whitman with his passion for the opera. The series of four sessions concludes with a discussion long-time opera fans Richard and Greg.

Opera and more in downtown Sarasota
2008 restoration - A return to the classic opera house

The Jonas Kamlet Library is one of six event spaces that includes the main William E. Schmidt Opera Theatre with its capacity of 1,174. The Kamlet Library is popular for business meetings with seats for 150 guests and a large-screen TV for presentations. The library and Felding Hall & Donna Wolf Steigerwaldt Courtyard with a 125-person capacity are both available rental venues in a stunning setting.

Three other rooms in the Opera House are lesser known. The Worthington Board Room has 24 seats for a reception or 40 seats set up in banquet style. The Joy Culverhouse Room has a capacity of 95 set up as a theater of 50 when arranged as a classroom. It makes a classic board meeting or retreat room. The large 339-seat Lee and Bob Peterson Great Room has a wide variety of uses for business or personal use such as wedding receptions.

Tours of the Opera House are scheduled on select days in November, February and March. Concerts at noon by apprentice and studio artists are scheduled in the Peterson Great Room, November and March. Visit the Sarasota Opera House website or call (941) 328-1300 for dates and times and to reserve a rental of these facilities, the theater or to rent a set and costumes.

The Sarasota Opera House has played a pivotal role in the annual Sarasota Film Festival, which will be in its 22nd year when it opens March 27, 2020. In past years, the Opera House has been the venue for the opening night film when the red carpet is rolled out for actors, directors and other dignitaries. The Opera House is host to other events during the 10-day festival. This year the Sarasota Film Festival starts out with three screenings this month at SFF Cinematheque, 500 Tallevast Rd, #105. Two classics, The Godfather movie appears August 24 and 2001: A space odyssey will be shown August 31. A special screening of Surviving Lunch is the fictional story of a girl who is moved to Florida by her mother following the death of her father in a mass school shooting. She takes on school bullies in this movie showing on August 24. Each of these SFF screenings is preceded by a film historian discussion and followed with a Q&A session.

Mezzanine level
Mezzanine level view - Total theater seating is 1,174

The Opera House is the place where The Greatest Show on Earth, directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Charlton Heston made its Florida premiere when the movie house was named the Florida Theatre. It was mostly filmed in Sarasota during six months of local production in 1950 and made its award winning debut in 1952. The premiere was reenacted in 2017 to kick off its classic movie series. Members of the Circus Arts Conservatory were on hand to perform before the movie. You could feel the excitement from the local audience guests, particularly when the circus made its way through Sarasota and evoked memories from some of the classic businesses shown in the scene.

As for live opera, there is no disappointment there. The Opera House has become world renown for its rejuvenation of classic opera and the Verdi Cycle, his complete works performed. It begins this year with Rigoletto, one of the greatest musical works by Giuseppe Verdi. Love is Dangerous starts a run of Love operas, the second La boheme with Love is Fragile, 13 shows February 8 through March 21. Romeo and Juliet, Love is Forever, February 15 with nine performances ending March 20. The Elixir of Love, Love is Intoxicating, runs February 22 through March 21, with the finale Love Hurts a new production that begins February 7 and ends March 22. Each opera is sung in Italian or French with subtitles flashed along the top of the stage. The complete set of performance dates are on our upcoming schedule of events.

If your passion is the love of the arts, Sarasota is at the center. Named by American Style Magazine as the top arts destination in the country for populations under 100,000, Sarasota produces theatrical arts in opera, orchestra, ballet, concerts and top-quality plays. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.

 

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

 

A great place for animals, plants and kids

by Roger Pettingell

Sarasota's favorite family attraction

The gardens started in the 1930s has grown to accommodate thousands

Jungle Gardens in Sarasota
Sarasota Jungle Gardens - The entrance is on Bay Shore Road near Myrtle Street and Tamiami Trail.

Since the 1930s this attraction has been visited by such notorieties as Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt. And through this time the Sarasota Jungle Gardens has grown to become Sarasota’s favorite family attraction. It is more than a zoo, here visitors interact with the animals and stroll through the many plants through pavered walkways on this 10-acre jungle. Indigenous and transplanted plants from around the world line the walkways easily accessible to all, young and old. Over 3,000 varieties of plants are on display as you stroll along. In current years many of the transplants were replaced with Florida plants to help survive the climate we all know as paradise.

The animal kingdom is plentiful and on safari display too. Some of these animals are free to be fed by hand. One of the most popular spots is the feeding pond where a gathering of flamingos, ibis and gulls gather for daily treats. The birds will literally peck pellets of food from your hand. If you are skirmish at first, watch others as they hold the food in front of the birds and notice they are gently pecking at their lunch.

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo
Frosty - This Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo born in 1936 continues to entertain the public daily at the gardens.

There are famed animals as well. An 83-year-old Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo with the name of Frosty has been a starlit of fame over the years. Acquired from the Folsom State Prison of California in 1971, Frosty was trained by inmates as a hire-wire unicycle entertainer. The program was a learning experience for inmates as they were taught patience, responsibility and care for others. Frosty performed his tricks at events and appeared on the Ed Sullivan show.

Other birds perform at daily presentations in the outdoor pavilion. They sing, talk to the crowd, imitate other animal calls and two brother parrots even compete with a race to be the first to put rings on two separate rods. The Jungle Bird Show begins at noon each day as the birds demonstrate their intelligence in each performance.

The main shows continue in the pavilion with the Wildlife Wonder at 1 PM, a lineup of local and exotic animals exhibited on stage as a strong lesson in conservation. Two times a day at 11 AM and 3 PM the Reptile Encounter feature snakes to alligators, live on stage to excite and educate visitors of all ages. After each show guests are encouraged to interact with the characters, close-up animal encounters and further discussions with human performers. The pavilion has around 100 seats with plenty of standing room.

Jungle Gardens in Sarasota
Otto the Opossum - Guests are invited to interact with the animals and ask questions after each demonstration

Demonstrations throughout the park educate and entertain. There is plenty to see as you venture past many of the exhibits in the gardens. Spend some time at the Butterfly Gardens, see some large and small crocodiles and alligators, catch a red-tailed hawk as the first in the Birds of Prey exhibit, allow your youngsters to feed the goats and pigs in the Petting Zoo, but always allow some extra time to spend in the Flamingo Feeding Area. A special area has been set aside as a playground for children.

David Breed Lindsay first purchased the parcel of land in what is now the Bayou Oaks and Sapphire Shores area of Sarasota. He and Pearson Conrad were the original architects for streams and pathways through a uninhabited swamp land of banana groves. They built a lake where the flamingos and swans have their habitat. They began charging a minimal amount to visit the gardens in 1936 and by the beginning of 1939 the gardens were fully open to the public.

Koi pond
Swimming pool or Koi Pond? - It has been both.

Admission was collected by the home that was built on the grounds as a succession of owners added their own touches to the gardens over the years. A swimming pool was built next to the house. The original home now serves as the Flamingo Café, the garden’s grill and oasis where you can purchase refreshments and take a restroom break. The swimming pool is now an attractive koi pond with water lilies.

The daughter of Chicago businessman Arthur C. Allyn currently operates the jungle gardens. It is said that Allyn, the former president of the Chicago White Sox, had more passion for butterflies than baseball, so he sold the team to his brother in 1969 and moved to Sarasota where he purchased the gardens two years later. He may have developed his love for Sarasota after purchasing a motel here as spring training accommodations for his players. Dorothy Allyn Tinney is actively involved in the daily operations of the organization.

Getting involved in Sarasota Jungle Gardens is easy with multiple options

The gardens have many ways to get involved. The park is open daily 10 AM to 5 PM, but closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Individual daily rates start at $17.99 for an adult pass to free for children three and under. There are student and senior discounts, and group rates for 10 or more visitors. Visit the Sarasota Jungle Gardens website for daily rates, annual passes and rentals on wheelchairs and strollers.

Kids Park
Children's play area - Kids love the jungle gardens

Their adopt-an-animal program shares the love between you and your favorite animal. There is a wide range of animals to adopt and are offered at five different levels, from the Zoo Friend at $50 to the Kingdom Keeper at $1,000. They make great gifts and serve to continue the educational programs at the gardens.

The Sarasota Jungle Gardens is also a great place for birthday parties. With each theme the birthday guest chooses the favorite animal from the list, either be it an alligator, flamingo, parrot or tortoise. The party receives an up-close encounter with the animal of choice. Each party girl or boy receives more favors and treats in the reserved picnic area, and the guest of honor receives free admission, T-shirt and sport bottle.

Zoo Camp is a great adventure with weekly themes presenting wildlife in their habitats, conservation orientation and even one to explore our oceans. Their school break fun is coordinated with the school calendars of Manatee and Sarasota counties. It may be the first stage of zookeeper training at two levels for beginners, ages 6-13 and a Junior Counselor program for ages 14 and 15 year-olds.

Jungle Gardens Gift shop
What to find in the gift shop? - Flamingos, of course

The Sarasota Jungle Gardens is located at 3701 Bay Shore Road, just south of SRQ airport. At the intersection of Myrtle Street and North Tamiami Trail is a sign at the CVS directing you to the gardens, just a short couple of blocks off the trail.

If you are visiting the gardens and fall in love with Sarasota as Arthur Allyn did, please take notice of my new listing last week at 2165 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #123. It is a rarely available, direct 3BR/3BA Gulf-front residence at Villa di Lancia on Longboat Key. 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
2165 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #123 $1,495,000 Video Photo Slideshow

 

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

 

Home series continues with luxury listings

by Roger Pettingell

Four Global Luxury homes highlighted

Home Showcase XXXVII begins in the Cherokee Park community of Sarasota

1606 North Drive in Sarasota
Cherokee Park - 1606 North Drive

Today we are highlighting four homes that meet the standards for inclusion in the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury marketing brand. They qualify based on price and features. Two are in prime locations of Sarasota while the other two are in prime waterfront locations on Longboat Key. The first is in one of Sarasota's most sought-after family neighborhoods in a central location, within the prestigious Southside school district. Homeowners love the proximity to downtown, luxury shopping, fine dining, theaters, museums and only minutes to pristine Gulf beaches at the Keys.

This 1920s Cherokee Park community took off in the late 1940s and many of the homes have been rebuilt or remodeled since then, including this home in our Showcase XXXVII series built in 1998 at 1606 North Drive. Delight in a “West of the Trail” lifestyle at this five-bedroom custom home. On a quiet street near the end of a cul-de-sac, brick pavered walkways and manicured landscaping welcome you. Wine enthusiasts will adore the temperature-controlled wine cellar. Walls of French doors open to the gorgeous pool deck, with its heated saltwater swimming pool, spa and plenty of space to sunbathe, lounge or dine are complemented by the lush foliage surrounding this private residence. It recently had a price change to $2,199,000.


Waterfront luxury home on the canal of Country Club Shores

610 Bowsprit Lane
Country Club Shores - 610 Bowsprit Lane

Over the years I have sold many homes in the Longboat Key community of Country Club Shores. Homes here are astonishing, with many upgraded homes on the canals that feed out to Sarasota Bay. Originally developed by the Arvida Realty Company in the 1960s with 396 plats, Country Club Shores has continued to flourish through its close proximity to St. Armands Circle and the Avenue of the Flowers shopping center to the north, home to Publix, CVS, Chase Bank and boutique shopping. Homeowners love the easy access to the Gulf of Mexico beaches. I featured this community in my REALTALK™ #188 video. An added interest is that this neighborhood promotes a recreational lifestyle, the roads are named for golf and sailboat terms.

This newer-built 2008, four-bedroom home in Country Club Shores at 610 Bowsprit Lane is a boater’s paradise listed for $1,995,000. Located near the end of a private cul-de-sac, just one home in from the point-lot location, this home offers 113 feet of water frontage, newer seawall, dock and lift on sailboat-deep waters that flow out to Sarasota Bay. You will love the cathedral ceilings, open layout, gourmet kitchen, impact windows and sliders, three-car garage, plus the two-story pool cage housing heated swimming pool, spa and covered dining areas.


Wonderful location in the Avondale community of Sarasota

West of Trail in Sarasota at 1835 Lincoln Drive
Avondale - 1835 Lincoln Drive

I featured the Avondale community in Sarasota in a recent REALTALK™ #208 video. This “West of Trail” neighborhood of 75 properties opened for development in the 1920s at $250 each with a $50 down payment. It is well positioned with its border roads of South Osprey, Lincoln Drive and Bahia Vista. Professionals love the area for its proximity to Sarasota Memorial Hospital. It’s also close to fine dining, shopping and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

Brimming with recent upgrades, this four-bedroom move-in ready waterfront home is in a central spot, near Southside Village and within walking distance to downtown. Skillfully blending traditional architecture with trendy interior and exterior, this beautiful family-living home at 1835 Lincoln Drive listed for $1,799,000 provides aspects for the entire family to appreciate.


Secluded waterfront enclave with 20 luxury homes on Longboat Key

705 Hideaway Bay Lane
Hideaway Bay - 705 Hideaway Bay Lane

Near Cannons Marina and behind the Christ Church of Longboat Key on the northern end of the island, Hideaway Bay is a secluded gem among the mangroves and Australian pines that surround the peninsula. Most of the 20 homes here have direct access to the channel that feeds out to Sarasota Bay through Millar Bay and the intracoastal waterway. Your neighbors are enjoying the luxury lifestyle and relish their private swimming pools, recreational fishing and boating.

This private waterfront residence at 705 Hideaway Bay Lane is tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac in this secluded community. A tropical oasis, this three-bedroom home offers walls of lush foliage surrounding the property, complemented by pavered walkways, charming gardens, a hammock, plus newer dock and lift on sailboat-deep waters that enhance its seclusion. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing, it is listed for $1,495,000.

 

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

 

Best places to live near Longboat Key Club

by Roger Pettingell

Owners near Resort in these communities

Stay at the Resort and enjoy life while searching for your dream home

Lobby entrance at the Resort at Longboat Key Club
Resort 2020 artist rendering - Special resort discounts at Longboat Key Club while renovations continue.

The Longboat Key Club has received many accolades over the 30 years, one of the best places in the country in multiple categories. Their amenities include top ratings in golf, tennis and restaurants put it at the top of the bucket list of many. Country Club Shores homeowners literally walk across Gulf of Mexico Drive to access the Links on Longboat. Owners at L’Ambiance walk out of the front lobby to many activities of the club. Near Harbourside Golf Course are the homes in Bay Isles and Grand Bay owners can walk to the storm-protected marina with berths for larger yachts. Tennis, the Portofino Restaurant and the Whiskey Bar are nearby. Membership certainly has its privileges.

There is another side to the Longboat Key Club, its resort. Buyers of homes on Longboat Key may start their search by first lodging at the Resort on Longboat Key Club. And with its current renovations, rooms are reduced up to 40 percent while maintaining its high level of activities and services. At times the lobby, Barefoot's Bar & Grille, pool and pool deck may be closed for some of the renovations. Complete remodeling will be finished in the early months of 2020 and all 226 rooms are expected to be open.

Although the exact plans haven’t been released to the public on a voter-approved expansion through a May 2015 referendum. Approved are plans for 259 hotel rooms and 93 residences. Work has finished on the Links on Longboat golf course and a major project to replace the aging guard gate and entrance. Moving the entrance road will make acreage available for the new hotel project. Visit their website for discount rates during the renovation.

REALTALK interview with Juliette Valin
Club membership is discussed with Juliette Valin, director of membership, in REALTALK™ #36.

Meanwhile, membership in the Longboat Key Club for area homeowners has its many privileges. The landscaped Tennis Gardens has 20 Har-Tru courts, pro shop and experienced professional coaches to develop your skills. The courts are highly rated in the world with its Pro Shop, staff and game arrangements that are ranked in the top five in the world by Tennis Resorts Online. Homes on Bayou Sound, in Winding Oaks or Sabal Cove are in close proximity to the Tennis Gardens.

These homes are also close to the Harbourside Golf Course, consistently rated as one of the best in the country. This course, designed by William Byrd, has 27 holes in three courses and is part of your back yard at some of the homes in Queens Harbour, Corey’s Landing and Harbour Oaks. Grand Bay owners overlook some of the beautiful fairways on Harbourside Golf Course.

If you live on Longboat Club Road you likely have the Gulf of Mexico beach in your back yard and a section of 18 holes associated to Links on Longboat, formerly named the Islandside Course, out your front door. It is the best of two worlds. Residences include the Pierre, Sanctuary, the Beaches, Longboat Key Towers, Privateer and previously named L’Ambiance. Tangerine Bay and Bay Harbour residences are located on the Sarasota Bay side across Gulf of Mexico Drive near the south end of Longboat Key. These courses are rated as Best Places to Play by Golf Digest. Whenever you play the 45 holes of golf at both locations, make sure to make some time to brag at the Spike 'n Tees club house, part of the Longboat Key Club.

The list of Longboat Key Club amenities is long. There are six restaurants and bars to socialize with friends. To build your body and your mind there are swimming pools, a 9,000 square-foot spa, mind and motion studio and fitness center. A full-service beach experience on the Gulf of Mexico is an enjoyable and relaxing part of the day, while finishing with a sensational sunset overlooking the Gulf. Members have access to private catering and concierge services. There are over 250 member events each year. Members have access to the Longboat Key Club Moorings, a marina with many services, 24-hour security, repair services, boat sales, store and a full slate of top utilities.

Harbourside Golf Course, Marina and Moorings of the Longboat Key Club
3040 Grand Bay Blvd, #275 - Many communities on Longboat Key are close to member services including this listing that overlooks Harbourside Golf Course.

If a luxury lifestyle is your goal, a Longboat Key Club membership is one way to fulfill your dreams. Full membership includes all the amenities listed here, including complimentary daily dockage at the moorings. The golf membership includes many of the amenities of the club, access to both driving ranges and your private golf locker. Other memberships include a social option. This includes many of the activities but has limited access to the golf courses and tennis courts. Enjoy a summer membership, designed for those who are here from May 15 to October 15. It includes many of the services, with tennis and sports camps for ages 4-17. There is a special Golf and Tennis Summer Membership. Membership information is available through their website.

While staying a week or two at the resort and would like to look at properties to buy in Sarasota or Longboat Key, be sure to contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing. Find homes near the Longboat Key Club courts, courses, marina and services:

 

Sensational festivals, on sensational beaches

by Roger Pettingell

Our beaches, sunbathing and more

Events such as the Powerboat Grand Prix attract thousands to the area

Lido Beach fans
Powerboat Grand Prix - Thousands lined the beach of Lido Key with canopies to watch the races Sunday

There are many reasons why tourists visit Sarasota and it is rated as one of the best places in the country to retire. It is simple to argue that our beaches is the biggest draw. Just sticking your toes in the quartz-rich sand that reflects 99 percent of the sun is a delight in itself. But our beaches also attract thousands for some of the best events in the world.

Case in point is the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix this past weekend where eight days of land activities culminated in the races on the final day off Lido Beach. There thousands lined the sands off Lido Key for nearly a half mile of canopy tent next to canopy tent and nesting black skimmers to watch the spectacle over the water where powerboats screamed their engines traveling at speeds up to 160 mph. The spectators seemed unaware of the rain drops and cloudy skies to catch a full day of racing.

The events of the 35th annual Grand Prix attracted visitors to the hotels, restaurants and bars, last year bringing in $20 million to the area and tax benefits to local governments. This year crowd favorite Miss GEICO and the boat Victory flipped during the Class One last race on Sunday. The races will air on CBS Sports at 3 PM on August 4 and on Fox Sports at a later date to be announced. The races were sanctioned by the Offshore Powerboat Association and P1 Offshore.

The Tachi Palace World’s Strongest Man in Bradenton, Florida
The world took notice of Bradenton Beach during the Strongman competition on the beaches June 14-16.

The Grand Prix followed another world class event just weeks before on the beaches of Anna Maria Island. On the public Bradenton Beach, USA contender Martins Licis defeated Mateusz Kieliszkowski of Poland, reigning champ and Game of Thrones star Hafthor Julius Bjornsson representing Iceland, and Tom Stoltman of the United Kingdom in the World’s Strongest Man competition.

This multi-day competition enticed fans to downtown Bradenton, Coquina Beach and the finals on Bradenton Beach. For four days they threw kegs over banners, lifted immense weights and pulled vehicles downtown to a great demonstration of strength and endurance. A series of the competition will begin to air on the CBS Sports Network starting July 11 with the finals encore presentation on CBS, September 1.

Back to Coquina Beach on the south end of Anna Maria Island (AMI) where each Sunday there is a seasonal gathering of farm-grown produce and craft sales. The beach market is open 10 AM to 4 PM each Sunday November through July, excluding some holidays, and every Wednesday, December 18 through May 21. Pick up some good artwork by local artists and catch the AMI String Band performing in the market area. There is plenty of free parking and a free shuttle that connects all areas of AMI. The Coquina Café on the beach serves short-order food, soft drinks and beer.

But everyone knows the Number One rated beach in the world on Siesta Key and the annual Crystal Classic is circled on many calendars in the month of November. This year’s International Sand Sculpting Festival runs November 15-18. Not only do you see some of the world’s greatest sand sculptors, you can dance to local band favorites.

The Siesta Key Crystal Classic master sand sculpting competition
The Siesta Key Crystal Classic master sand sculpting competition is held in November each year.

Master sand sculptors, led by local resident Brian Wigelsworth along with local Siesta Key organizations, founded the first Crystal Classic in November of 2010. It has grown to attract 35,000 attendees, half of which are from outside the area. In order to be considered for the master sculpting contest each artist must win a sanctioned amateur competition such as the 47th Annual Amateur Sand Sculpture Contest held on Siesta Beach. There are four categories of competition in this annual competition and one prize for an overall people’s choice award. The Castle Vader took first place in the individual award this year. Finding Nemo / Squirt took the award for the adult team competition and was the people’s choice overall winner in this year’s contest on May 4.

Siesta Key is also known for its drum circles each Sunday, beginning with the call of a siren approximately one hour before sunset. The crowd gathers in a circle to the sound of the drum beats and dancers quickly emerge in unison. Drum circles also form on Englewood and Nokomis. A couple groups have tried to form on Bradenton Beach each Friday so you may catch them gathering if you are visiting.

Another way to love the beach is to become a beachfront owner. Last week I listed a two bedroom, two bath sixth-floor residence at 1211 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #608 in the updated Promenade community on Longboat Key. 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
1211 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #608 $759,000 Video Photo Slideshow

 

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

 

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Why Choose
Roger Pettingell?

Experience

  • Over 33 years as a top producing REALTOR® on Longboat Key and in Sarasota.

Achievements

  • Number 1 single Coldwell Banker agent in all of Florida for 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017
  • Number 1 Realtor on Longboat Key and Bird Key for 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018
  • Number 1 Realtor for all Sarasota in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018
  • Coldwell Banker Society of Excellence award in 2013, 2014 and 2016
  • Ranked among the top 250 agents in the country for 2014, 2016 and 2017 by REAL Trends as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

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About Roger Pettingell

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.