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Three Attractions Under One Roof

by Roger Pettingell

A Local Pride, South Florida Museum

With Snooty the Manatee and Bishop Planetarium

Snooty the manatee at his 65th birthday party
Snooty the manatee - A crowd gathered in July of 2013 for Snooty's 65th birthday bash at the Parker Manatee Aquarium.

Downtown Bradenton has a few sites worth visiting, one of the favorites is the South Florida Museum. It has two of the local favorite treasures: the Bishop Planetarium and Snooty the manatee.

Snooty is the celebrated mammal, possibly the oldest manatee in the world but documented to be the oldest in captivity.  And since he is a great attraction for visitors to the area, his birthday bash last week drew quite a crowd. The male is 66 years old as of July 21. Born and raised in captivity, it is feared that Snooty would not survive the wild. His home started as a 3,000 gallon tank, then he was moved to a 9,000 gallon tank, and finally his current home of 30,000 gallons as of 1993 when the Parker Manatee Aquarium was renovated for him. He is the official mascot of Manatee County.

The additional aquarium space is sufficient for the rehabilitation of two other manatees that live with Snooty until they are able to be released. Under the guidelines established by three organizations, the Manatee Rehabilitation Network, the Sea to Shore Alliance, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 25 manatees have been rescued and released since the 1998 renovations. It is estimated that the three manatees will eat 75,000 pounds of romaine lettuce a year, at a dollar per pound.

Celebrated as the largest natural and cultural museum on the gulf coast of Florida, the museum has two floors of local and national natural history. The museum rests under that same roof as the aquarium and The Bishop Planetarium.

Just recently the planetarium underwent a renovation with the installation of high definition for its projection system and software that is part of the Digistar 5 dual Projection System. The system collects data from 200 satellites and was demonstrated soon after its installation with an open house late last year. Planetarium director Jeff Rodgers took everyone in the room on a digital tour of the solar system, flying from planet to planet in a mere seconds to display the surfaces of the planets as the audience travelled in this virtual spaceship. Then it was back to earth in a flash, where he pushed a fast forward button to a high definition view of our planet in this digital full dome planetarium theater. Jeff Rodgers proudly announced that the Bishop Planetarium was among an elite group of theaters in the world that had this system installed.

His annual account in December for finding the birth date of Christ, is a historical venture back in time worth seeing. Make your reservations early, this show does sell out. The fourth Wednesday of every month is set aside for a discussion of the star constellations and planet movements for the upcoming month. He concentrates on local viewing of astronomical events in his discussions, look for Stelliferous shows on the calendar.

The planetarium has a full schedule of films, lectures, live music and digital art performances. Some nights are just fun, such as their Friday night movies or their Think + Drink special discussions on the sciences. Just visiting? Put the South Florida Museum on your schedule. Think about a family membership if you live here, there is plenty to see at all three locations under one roof.

Remodeling Projects for Resale

by Roger Pettingell

Remodeling Projects With High Returns

Percentages Based on 2014 Report for Sarasota

REALTALK #6 video - Kitchen remodeling
REALTALK™ #6 - Kitchen remodeling - May 28, 2014. Click on the image above for the video.

A few weeks ago I presented a REALTALK™ video on kitchen remodeling for a high return on investment when selling your home. I followed that up with a blog on kitchen remodeling and referenced the 2014 Cost vs. Value report from Remodeling Magazine. Today I will expand on the projects around the house that have a high ROI.

I am going to start out by suggesting that you should concentrate on projects that are for comfort and structure of the house, before any investments made toward remodeling for resale. You can recoup 83.7 percent for a roof replacement, according to the 2014 report, adjusted for an upscale home in the Sarasota area. I’m thinking they based this percentage of ROI on replacing a roof that may be leaking or over 20 years old.

If you are setting a budget, allocate some funds for replacing an old air conditioning unit and for plumbing repairs. At inspection time for your home or condominium these are two areas that garner some attention. The inspector will take temperature differentials from A/C vents that will expose a malfunctioning unit. A leaky plumbing trap or slow drain have shown up on reports for even the highest priced homes.  These are projects you will want for yourself anyway as comfort and a strong structure increase the pleasure of owning your home.

Episode 8 - June 11, 2014 of REALTALK - Staging Your Home for Sale
Staging Your Home - June 11, 2014, REALTALK™

Once a potential buyer has a reasonable expectation that the comfort and structure of the residence is of high quality, cosmetic changes will go a long way to staging a home. I covered the staging of your home for resale in REALTALK #8 on June 11 and followed that with a blog on staging to cover the topic in more detail.

So, are you thinking that you might want to spend some time in your home before you have thoughts of selling it? These are the projects that have the highest returns. For instance, replacing your garage door with a high quality door will recover 97.1 percent, according to the report of an upscale home in Sarasota. Using the report as a basis for other projects and you can expect a 93 percent return for a fiber-cement siding replacement. Vinyl replacement windows recover 89.8 percent of their cost.

On the other end of the spectrum, additions have lower returns on the Cost vs. Value report. The percentages of return are in the low 60s for a garage, master suite or bathroom addition. With percentages this low, plan these projects if you intend to live in the house for a while.

As with each project your contractor should be able to describe any permits that are required, or any restrictions from your homeowners or condominium associations. Allow some additional time to prepare these documents and to get them approved by the appropriate organization.

The Cost vs. Value report lists the most common remodeling projects in this area. I am also available to discuss any project you may have planned that might benefit your resale opportunity. You may have a specific situation that is unique.

Please take a look at our most recent listings. The first listing is a beautiful home in Oyster Bay, Sarasota. The second is a great value for a home on the canal in Sleepy Lagoon Park. We welcome these new sellers to our services here at Roger Pettingell, Coldwell Banker Previews International. Please feel free to call the office at (941) 387-1840 when you are ready to buy or sell property.

1511 S Lake Shore Dr, Sarasota $1,395,000 Video Photo Slideshow
* 783 Marbury Lane, Longboat Key $699,000 Video Photo Slideshow

 

* Relisted with a price change.

 

New University Mall Opens in 2014

by Roger Pettingell

New Sarasota Mall Will be an Attraction

Mall at University Town Center Set for Luxury and Unique

Mall at University Town Center offers luxury shopping opportunities such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, and Dillards as anchor stores.
Newest glamor mall: Opening of the new Mall at University Town Center adds luxury shopping to our Sarasota lifestyle – REALTALK 19, October 14, 2014

Call it a grand experiment or you can call it the eighth wonder of the world, but the new University Mall is a grand statement for luxury in the Sarasota area. It will also be a series of firsts for Florida including a new diamond shape traffic pattern and also a recreation area for world class sporting events.

Retail companies are already putting their efforts into using this mall at University Parkway and Interstate 75 as their testing ground for luxury sales. The official name is the Mall at University Town Center, set to open in October of this year. It will be one of the largest malls to open in the Unites States since 2007.

You will be able to shop Macy’s, Dillard’s or 80,000 square feet of retail space filled with luxury goods at Saks Fifth Avenue. These big box stores with luxury retail sales are expected to inventory a wider selection than any of their other stores. Expect a more elegant selection as well. Or you can expect to pay $400 for a pair of shoes at Stuart Weitzman, another of the luxury boutique stores that has announced their presence in the mall.

Mall graphic of all stores as of August 2014
Click the image for stores listed August 2014.

When finished, word of the experience for shopping the Mall at University Town Center is expected to spread wide across the country. Icing, a teen jewelry store and division of Claire's, announced last week they intend to build a retail store within the mall. Their likely position will be in store 190 as presented on the map at left. Bose will have its presence too with its own store. Last month Papyrus and PacSun (Pacific Sunwear) filed building permits. All the big retailers in elegant shopping have considered their options in the mall.

The mall will also be a testing ground for many products and retailers. Auntie Anne's Soft Pretzels is intending to test market Rise Pies, a new concept in pizza. Tesla is opening a showroom for its electric cars, more electricity in the air. Bass Pro Shops won’t have a presence in the mall, the outdoor retail giant elected to open its newest shopping experience one exit to the south off Fruitville Road.

On the subject of the outdoors, Nathan Benderson Park held its grand opening last month. The lake near the interchange is ready and already announced it will co-host the NCAA Rowing Championships and the World Rowing Championships in 2017. In late October Benderson Park will host the 2014 International Breast Cancer Paddler's Commission Dragon Boat Festival.

Diamond shape interchange will be a first for Florida roads
The new diamond shape interchange will be a first for Florida roads. Click the image for the interchange video put out by the Florida Department of Transportation.

Putting it all together will require a different infrastructure. Plans to restructure the entrance ramps to I-75 with traffic flow in a diamond shape will be the first of its kind in Florida. Traffic from the east and west bound flow of University Parkway will cross over at the interchange for a more efficient entrance to, and exit off the interstate. The new design is expected to be safer than the current configuration. A YouTube animation video shows the traffic patterns, definitely worth looking at. Expect mass transit to pick up, literally. A free trolley service from retail malls in the area is also expected to reduce congestion.

While the Mall at University Town Center may not be as large as the proposed mall in Dubai, expected to be the largest in the world, it should draw a lot of interest and shopping dollars to the area.

Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix

by Roger Pettingell

Super Boat Grand Prix Highlight Weekend

Four-day Suncoast festival attracts thousands to Sarasota

It's not all about Super Boats, Envy's Viper drew a crowd
It's not just about boats, Envy's Viper drew a crowd

Thousands of spectators lined the beaches of Lido and Siesta keys this weekend to watch speedboats travel in excess of 150 mph over the Gulf of Mexico. It could be the event of the year in Sarasota, the annual July 4th weekend Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix. The four days of parades, meet and greets, open water testing and the race on Sunday attract boating enthusiasts worldwide to this area over the holiday weekend.

The festivities began Thursday with the parade of boats down Main Street Sarasota and concluded with the races on Sunday and eight classes of boats from the very, very expensive super boats to boats that may start at $80,000 for the cost of the boats, entries and maintenance. How expensive are the very, very expensive? In a Sarasota Herald Tribune article on Sunday, a brand new race boat may start at $300,000 and another $120,000 budget to operate the boat on the eight race Super Boat International circuit. If the boat crashes add another $80,000 to the budget, roughly the amount that Sarasota put up to host the event.

Florida cities host most of the events starting in mid-April with the Charlotte Harbor Super Boat Grand Prix and ending with the annual Key West World Championship as the ninth race of the circuit November 9th. Cities in Indiana and Alabama also host events with a tribute to 911 this year in New York City on September 7.

The crew of Miss GEICO fine tune its engines in preparation for Sunday's Super Boat race in the Unlimited class.
Miss GEICO - The crew of Miss GEICO fine tune its engines in preparation for Sunday's Super Boat race in the Unlimited class.

As for our local Grand Prix there was more hardware and promotions at the GEICO camp to push that budget well over the amount listed above. The boat Miss GEICO sat with its trailer and boat in Centennial Park on Saturday. Fans were greeted with ad promotions and a close-up view of the boat while mechanics toiled away on the boat engines and linkages to the drives. The 44-foot boat requires a driver and a throttleman. Miss GEICO, with its multi-hull catamaran, motored to a win with an average speed of 107 mph and 533 points in the Super Boat Unlimited class on Sunday.

Other winners included the Instigator in the Super Boat Extreme class, Spirit of Qatar in the Turbine class, Stihl in the Supreboat class, Sun Print in the Super Boat VEE class, 2nd Amendment in the Manufacturer Production P3 class and Two Cruel in the Manufacturer Production P4 class. All the boats made a lot of noise and were a great spectacle for viewing. Local owner-operator Dan Lawrence took first with his boat, The Hulk Redline Oil, in the Super Boat Stock class.

With the thousands of people on the beaches and thousands more in boats outside of the race course, the Sarasota area received a big boost to the local economy over the last four days. We’ve been part of the racing circuit here for 30 years so the tradition continues for our Independence Day weekend spectacular.

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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.