Real Estate Information Archive


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Mote Marine changing quickly

by Roger Pettingell

Information update on the local facility

Research funding increases and Mote SEA gets closer to a start

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium - The programs started 64 years ago and the facility on City Island is receiving greater recognition at all levels.

Last year I did an update on Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. But events are happening quickly at the research facility on City Island and much of it has to do with the leadership of Michael P. Crosby, Ph.D. The President and CEO of Mote has been out in the community educating the public on the research while lobbying hard at all levels of government to fund programs to help revitalize the oceans and sustain life in the seas through its research.

The Waves of Support effort is a fundraising initiative to solicit the philanthropists of our world with seven different “Waves”, from Friends donating under $1,000 to those who make a significant donation of $75,000 or more and become members of the William R. Mote Guild. William R. Mote and family made large donations to the research facility that was renamed in his honor in 1967. It was founded in 1955 as the Cape Haze Marine Laboratory and a vision of the “Shark Lady”, Dr. Eugenie Clark.

Problems in the seas these past decades is bringing together scientists to research programs, including 30 Ph.D. researchers at Mote studying different programs that require these skills. Florida appropriated $500,000 last year for coral restoration research. The goal was to restore 50,000 corals in the Florida Keys. It was a continuation of state funding for coral restoration. Last November three national organizations partnered to issue $1.5 million to restore 130 acres of coral reefs. The initiative brought attention to the program and multiple grants matched. Coral reefs grow slowly from polyps that attach themselves to subsurface natural structures and provide an environment for other life.

One of the many exhibits at the aquarium open to the public
Educational Exhibits - High quality displays at Mote Marine provide a vast amount of information.

Harmful algal blooms became a big concern in Florida starting with a major outbreak in 2017. Mote has become one of the nation’s leaders in the research because of the effect it was having on our coastal wildlife. Mote became a partial beneficiary of an $8 million federal appropriation and provided research to congress for the legislation to pass. Last year State Executive Order 18-221 directed $100,000 to Mote for its responses to marine mammal, sea turtle and other fishes affected by the outbreak. While Governor Scott was in office last year he directed $2.2 million to Mote Marine Research. Earlier in 2018 the state divided $1.6 million between and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Florida Wildlife Research Institute.

Mote has 22 different programs of research, each receiving its own funding of grants, appropriations and donations. Some of these research programs may seem obscure but are vitally important to the future of the oceans. Consider Benthic Ecology, or the study of organisms on the bottom of sea, led by senior scientist Jim Culter. The Ocean Technology Research program provides a database of local coastal environments and has deployed an optical instrument to detect algal blooms. The Ecotoxicology headed by Dr. Richard Pierce relies on the data to study harmful toxins. The Environmental Laboratory for Forensics in Dr. Dana Wetzel program has studied the effects of petroleum in the water and has received $16 million over 18 years. Dr. Catherine Walsh of the Marine Immunology program is responsible for the health of marine life.

The vast other programs mentioned above combine with different research programs for phytoplankton, dolphins, manatees, fish, rays, sea turtles, sharks: well, just about anything in the oceans. They do this from field stations around the globe.

Upcoming events at Mote support World Oceans Day

An array of events surrounding World Oceans Day starting Saturday will be held at Mote. The day before on Friday the International OCEAN FILM TOUR, volume 6 is a big screen presentation starting at 7 PM, a film for all who have a fascination with the ocean. Saturday events start with the FMSEA/FWC Aquatic Species Collection Workshop, hosted by Mote and held twice a year. It is followed by the World Oceans Day Family Festival 2019 from 10 AM to 1 PM. This is a full day of photo opportunities, vendor booths, presentations and entertainment. Check out all the events at the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium website.

Update on the Mote Science Education Aquarium at Nathan Benderson Park

Mote SEA
Mote SEA - Dream gets stronger for education center

Last month more news of the Mote Science Education Aquarium surfaced when a construction management team was announced for the new site of the Aquarium to be built between the Mall at University Town Center and Nathan Benderson Park off Interstate 75 in Sarasota. The project is proceeding with Willis A. Smith Construction which has had previous projects with Mote. A national firm The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company with an office in Tampa will work with Massachusetts based architect CambridgeSeven as the second and third triad in its construction.

The 12 acres of Benderson Park was allocated in January by Sarasota County and has a request to fund $20 million of the estimated $130 million cost. Private donations have totaled $34. Manatee County is studying the legality and feasibility of providing $15 million from funds raised by a 5 percent tourism tax on hotel stays.

When finished the Mote Science Education Aquarium will be an icon for the two counties and the state. It will become an education and marine outreach center with displays that have originated from around the world. Over 1 million gallons of water will host aquatic life and technology used throughout the 110,000-square-foot facility to educate with labs and even on-site scuba diving training center.

The location was selected for its proximity to I-75 and the increased traffic that is brought in through shopping mall visits. Last month the Benderson Development Company announced plans for 1,750 apartments, office space and a 900,000 square foot entertainment center with multi-screen theater. Three hotels, restaurants and shopping stores are also planned in the East District.

Last week I listed a fabulous, coastal contemporary home at 658 Mourning Dove Drive with updates found throughout this Bird Key waterfront estate. It should be one of those on your list 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
658 Mourning Dove Drive $1,895,000 Video Photo Slideshow


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


Wide range of pricing in single family homes

by Roger Pettingell

Home Showcase XXVIII - Good variety

Inventory is growing with something for most in price and home type

675 Mourning Dove Drive on Bird Key, Sarasota
Bird Key - 675 Mourning Dove Drive

Last week I discussed new listings that met the criteria set for the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury brand in my Home Showcase XXVII article. This week I highlight three communities and single-family home new listings that show the range of prices, from $779,000 to $6,795,000, and from Sarasota to Longboat Key. Our inventory is swelling to include a wide range of prices, locations and home types.

The paradise centrally located between downtown Sarasota and the beaches

There was a master plan when land fill was used to start the formation of Bird Key and the first home was built. Canals were formed so most homes on this 250 acres of island would have boating access to Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Arvida Corporation, developers of many area communities, purchased Bird Key and began its process of building over 500 homes on the island in 1959.

Automobile access to downtown Sarasota and the beaches was possible by traveling over the John Ringling Causeway and bridge, the second of three bridges that would span the two land masses. The most current bridge that is a landmark for Sarasota was built in 2003. The roads that wind through the community are named after popular Florida birds. Many of the original homes on Bird Key have been replaced with modern mansions. Others have been updated so today Bird Key remains an exclusive luxury neighborhood, complete with a park and yacht club.

Fabulous features abound throughout this designer residence. Ideally situated just three homes in from Sarasota Bay is the home for sale at 675 Mourning Dove Drive, on one of the widest waterways in Bird Key. Offering unobstructed access to the Gulf of Mexico, the avid boater will appreciate the 100’ of bay frontage on sailboat-deep waters, newer seawall and dock with shore power, plus a 16,000-pound lift. Built in 2006, this specially-designed estate of 4,000 SqFt will impress you at every turn, featuring custom, imported finishes inside and out and priced at $6,795,000.

Over 285 homes, most with Sarasota Bay boat access on Longboat Key

592 Ranger Lane in Country Club Shores on Longboat Key
Country Club Shores - 592 Ranger Lane

The same Arvida Corporation that developed Bird Key also was responsible for the beginning of over 285 homes in Country Club Shores. While Bird Key roads are name after birds, Country Club Shores roads are named for nautical and golf terms. Many of the original homes in in this community were constructed as single level, ranch style buildings in the 1960s through five phases of development. On the south end of Longboat Key, this community is popular for its proximity to St. Armands Circle and the Publix shopping center to the north. Across Gulf of Mexico Drive is the Links on Longboat, the very popular championship golf course of the Longboat Key Club. With the exception of Bogey Lane that runs parallel to Gulf of Mexico Drive, the neighborhood is unique in that canals were formed off each street so that nearly every home has boating access to Sarasota Bay.

Wonderful waterfront value! This charming three bedroom, pool home in Country Club Shores is primed and ready to enjoy, rent or renovate at 592 Ranger Lane. Just a stone’s throw away from Sarasota’s open bay, offering deep-water dock and beach access only a sunny bike ride away. Recent updates include a brand-new seawall in 2017, adding great value to this home listed at $895,000.

Privacy and large parcel of land in Hidden Forest near shopping and recreation

4646 Hidden Forest Drive, Hidden Forest community of Sarasota
Hidden Forest - 4646 Hidden Forest Drive

Hidden Forest is a quaint community with lush foliage and larger homes in Sarasota heading toward Interstate 75. Buyer interest increased in this area, first with the building of the Mall at University Town Center just three miles away and then the many shopping plazas that line University Parkway. Homes are close enough to enjoy the many benefits of this shopping mecca, but secluded to avoid the hustle and bustle. Nathan Benderson Park, now a world-class venue for rowing championships is near the mall, and Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium have plans to move most of its activities to this site. The very fine and public, Groves Golf Course, is also nearby.

The private residence at 4646 Hidden Forest Drive is perfectly situated on a one-acre parcel, surrounded by lush vegetation. Completely upgraded, inside and out, this beautiful, custom-built four-bedroom ranch home with nearly 3,500 SqFt of living space priced at $779,000 in Hidden Forest is immediately ready for the entire family to enjoy. It has a three-car attached garage and pool with a screen enclosure for relaxing or entertaining.

Please check my website often in October as I will be bringing on more new listings. Contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing of these properties or if you have a property to sell or buy.



Third annual lionfish derby

by Roger Pettingell

Invasive species dealt with at Mote Marine

Three days devoted to lionfish with derby and education

Lionfish measurements at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium on July 10
Lionfish measurements - Although this wasn't the largest lionfish caught at the derby on Saturday, volunteers who were measuring said it was close.

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium has multiple offices around the state and has scientists in the field all over the world. So it was fitting that the organization that promotes education and research of the world’s oceans sponsor one of many lionfish hunts, an invasive species that threatens other species in the waters around us. Three days were devoted to the lionfish, starting with a captain’s meeting on Friday and concluding yesterday with an awards ceremony and lionfish cook-off by local chefs.

In the wild it is a beautiful fish to look at with its orange, black and white colors. It floats on the floor of salt water oceans and is spectacular to see with its wide pectoral fins spread out to each side. The beauty ends there. Its colorful dorsal fin is a series of 18 spines that contain poison to ward off natural predators. It consumes fish at a voracious rate that threatens the health of reefs. The fish also breeds at an incredible rate, sometimes producing 30,000 eggs every four months and reported to lay up to 2 million eggs a year.

So now it has become an enemy of the state. First spotted in the United States off the east coast in the 1980s, this natural predator indigenous to Indonesia has found its way around to almost all areas of Florida’s saltwater. They are proliferating, the Wall street Journal reported last week that breeding clusters are now off the coast of Turkey and Cyprus.

Volunteers dissect a lionfish
Lionfish research - Volunteers at Mote Marine dissect one of the lionfish brought in by one of the four-man teams to log its maturity and sex.

We may be curbing their proliferation here. Divers in the derby yesterday said they had to go 30 miles out in 100 feet of water, when in the past they had found them closer to shore and in shallower waters. This is the third annual lionfish hunt at Mote but beyond the derbies divers are encouraged to harvest the fish at every occasion. The Reef Environmental Education Foundation, or REEF, an organization that was founded in 1990, sanctioned the event yesterday. It claims derbies like this have removed 12,000 lionfish since it held its first one in 2009 in the Bahamas. The next one on their schedule will be this weekend in Ft. Lauderdale.

The team entered by the name We Be Dreamin’ brought in 349 lionfish during the derby on Saturday for the most caught and turned in the largest at 384 mm. A total of 429 fish were captured among six teams. One of the sponsors of the derby was the ZooKeeper, manufacturers of a holding tube for captured lionfish, created by local diver Allie ElHage. Spearfishermen collect lionfish and stack them in the Lionfish Containment Unit (LCU) for safe transport back to the boat. The standard size can hold up to 60 lionfish at a time. Team ZooKeeper turned in the smallest fish among competitors on Saturday at 112 mm.

Proponents of lionfish hunting have wondered what to do with the fish once they are pulled from the sea. The fish reportedly has the same texture as grouper so recipes have emerged with similar cooking styles. Once the spines are removed they pose no threat for consumption. Four restaurants were represented at Mote to demonstrate how they prepare lionfish.

Chef Steve Phelps of the Indigenous Restaurant was on hand. He says the lionfish is similar to hogfish and yellowtail snapper, and claims it is good as sushi or cooked. Although it is not specifically mentioned on the menu at the restaurant , it may be part of the Hook to Fork special on any given night. Indigenous Restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday at 239 S. Links Ave in Sarasota.

Representing its three locations in Sarasota and its catering business, chef Paul Mattison prepared lionfish at one of the tables. Although it isn’t on the menu at the City Grille, Bayside or Forty-One restaurants, you may have to ask if they will prepare one for you on any given night.

The culinary director for the Beachhouse Restaurant at Bradenton Beach, Erik Walker, was on hand to cook his favorite lionfish recipe. It is not on the menu there, nor is it on the menus of their sister restaurants, the Sandbar Restaurant on Anna Maria Island or the Mar Vista Restaurant on Longboat Key.

German born executive chef from the Seafood Shack in Cortez, Gerard Jesse, represented the fourth restaurant. You might “catch” it on their Fish of the Day menu served with Spanish rice and seasonal vegetables, but ask first.

You might want to check out Trash Fish Sarasota at Louies Modern on August 7 starting at 6 p.m., also in its third year. Lionfish will be served featuring preparations by the chefs above and chefs from other local restaurants. Other fish that you thought you may never eat such as rudderfish and Sarasota sturgeon are also on the menu, along with beer from sponsors Big Top Brewing Co. and J Dubs Brewery. Portions of your ticket price will benefit the Chefs Collaborative.

Finding lionfish specifically called out on the menu of any local restaurant is difficult. The Big Water Fish Market at 6641 Midnight Pass Rd on Siesta Key is holding Eat the Enemy Parties every Friday through August 12. They are serving lionfish dinners from 6 to 9 p.m. on those party days. REEF has a list of Florida restaurants that serve lionfish off the menu, mostly in the south and in the keys. There are two in Fort Pierce on the east coast and one on Marco Island.

Dolphin training at Mote Marine Aquarium
Training at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium.

Last month Florida Whole Food Markets began selling lionfish in their seafood departments for $9.99 per pound. If you are really ready to try a recipe on your own, contact the local store at 1451 First Street or call the seafood department first at (941) 316-4700. Their team members will clean and fillet them for you.

If you have never been to Mote Marine and Aquarium on City Island you will find there is a lot going on there for marine research. The aquarium is fascinating and specimens of manatees, dolphins, sea turtles and sharks can be seen up close. There are education programs too that provide a good insight into the research Mote scientists perform for a better understanding of the oceans and the reefs.

The lionfish derby is just one of many fascinating events in Sarasota and on Longboat Key. I listed a house on a sailboat deep-water canal of Bird Key last week, a wonderful home at 646 South Owl Drive. 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
646 South Owl Dr $1,750,000 Video Photo Slideshow


Great Wildlife in the Seas

by Roger Pettingell

Dolphins, and Turtles and Manatees: Oh my!

Year-round water inhabitants accessible this time of year

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium
Mote Marine Dolphin and Whale Hospital - Five dolphins are currently under rehabilitation at the hospital on City Island near our offices.

I was showing a residence for sale last week in Beachplace when on cue a school of 15-20 dolphins made a casual swim near the Gulf of Mexico shoreline outside of the upper-floor property. Beach-goers lined up to witness the splendor of these magnificent animals playing in the surf. Dolphins are plentiful here in Sarasota Bay and the gulf off Longboat Key throughout the year. But with warmer water temperatures approaching the 80s, manatees and turtles provide as many thrills with their annual return to the beaches and shallow surf. The dolphin population is large enough that local boat excursions advertise their businesses with enough confidence that they state dolphins will appear on 75% of their trips. I concur as you can spot dolphins on nearly every recreational boating trip. They are playful and curious, approaching boats with impunity.

Save the Dolphins: It is a great place to study these water-bred mammals. Nearly a half mile from our office, Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium has devoted its mission to the sea and creatures within it. Their hospital for whales and dolphins is known throughout the world. Rescued dolphins are brought to their facility on Ken Thompson Parkway for rehabilitation and eventual return to the ocean. Since 1992 they have been providing this relief effort to dolphins and whales, currently there are five dolphins in rehabilitation.

Mote scientists catalog nearly every dolphin in the area and at least one scientist there can identify them by sight. One of the most widely known dolphins in the area was Beggar, trained by casual observers to beg for food scraps from recreational boaters. He was studied by Mote and died at an early age of 20, mostly from an unnatural diet of hot dogs, potato chips and even beer. While Beggar was living there were Federal guidelines in place that would have been a great dolphin experience for both man and animal. In fact, boaters were breaking the law. Feeding or swimming with dolphins is dangerous, a federal offense under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Beggar died in 2012 while living his entire life under federal protection.

Passing of Mote Founder: Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium has a great history. It is with sadness that one of the founding members of Mote, Dr. Eugenie “Genie” Clark, died recently at the age of 92. World renown as the Shark Lady, she started the Cape Haze Marine Laboratory in 1955. Twelve years later it was renamed for benefactor William Mote and eventually moved to its present location on City Island, just over the New Pass Bridge by our offices. Dr. Clark had been a strong supporter and researcher for the Mote. She was eulogized at a Mote ceremony today.

There are rules to observe to avoid disturbing sea turtles while nesting
Sea turtles can nest in high traffic areas like this one outside a popular restaurant on Anna Maria Island.

Sea Turtle Nesting Season: And life for the sea continues, refreshed every year. This begins the season for sea turtle nesting under the watchful eyes of 324 local volunteers from Mote’s turtle research program. This is another sea creature protected by law and have their own hospital wing at Mote. Residents and tourists can help with the survival of sea turtles by observing some simple guidelines with nesting turtles, more pronounced during the season that started Friday. Nesting turtles are discouraged by bright lights so closing blinds and turning off lights on waterfront properties is a great way to encourage these turtles to nest in your back yard. The volunteers on turtle watch will see the tracks in the sand of nesting turtles and mark the nest with stakes, caution tape and yellow tag. Although you may not know when they are about to hatch, it is advised that you can also help with their youthful journey to the sea by filling in craters in the sand. It is a great idea to avoid nesting areas so that nature can take its course. The nesting season runs until October 31.

Return of the Manatees: No official dates are set for the return of manatees, only warmer water temperatures. They don’t hibernate during the winter, just move to warmer water in such places as Crystal River or the TECO Tampa Electric plant in Apollo Beach. From the observation deck at the electric plant you can see hundreds of these sea mammals from October to April. One of the best known manatees in the world is Snooty in the Parker Manatee Aquarium in Bradenton. At the age of 65, Snooty is the oldest known living manatee in the world. His life will continue at the aquarium as he has never learned survival skills for living in the wild. The Parker Aquarium is a rehabilitation center for manatees, rescued only to be cured and returned to the sea. These rescued animals share a living space with Snooty during their recovery.

A Female manatee off Holmes Beach, Bradenton, Florida
Manatees - Manatees can make a magnificent presence in the water near swimmers, like this large female off Holmes Beach in Manatee County.

Manatees are docile creatures but curious. For your best experience in the water, their presence may be an alarming figure, but no need to worry. They are likely on their way for feeding, mostly a diet of plants. Although it may be tempting to feed them lettuce or play with them, they are also protected under the same U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act. Manatees like fresh water for a drink, but providing them water through a garden hose is restricted. If you encounter one in the gulf or bay, admire their awesome size as they gently make their way past you. Expect sunbathers to line the shore and envy your position in the water. Boaters should watch for large swirls of water on canals and open seas to avoid hitting them with their props.

Everyone can do their part to help preserve these wonderful and endangered animals. Respect their existence with the guidelines here and if you find an animal in distress, reach out to the rescue hospitals through 911. They are trained to notify the rehabilitation centers I mentioned here.

These animals add to the enjoyment of life here. Nature abounds in the sea, on land and in the air. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy. We have this new listing, an updated 3BR/3.5BA Cayman in building one of Grand Bay.

3060 Grand Bay Boulevard, #123 $935,000   Photo Slideshow


Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4




Why Choose
Roger Pettingell?


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


  • 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
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  • 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.