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World Class Nathan Benderson Park

by Roger Pettingell

Rowing Park Officially Opened in 2014

2015 Modern Pentathlon World Cup #1 held this weekend

Nathan Benderson Park on 600 acres south of the Mall at University Town Center.
Nathan Benderson Park - The park serves the community as a county park when not used for competition. The Circus Sarasota tent was set up this weekend in the background.

Nathan Benderson Park south of the new Mall at University Town Center is hoping the venue will be considered as one of the top locations in the world for rowing and other world-class events. From the reception of the Pentathlon last week they are well on their way.

The 2015 Modern Pentathlon World Cup #1 was held in Sarasota Tuesday through Sunday with 201 athletes from 35 different countries participating in five sports of swimming, fencing, equestrian jumping, and combination of running with laser pistol shooting. It was the first modern pentathlon world cup final the United States has hosted since the 1970s. The Selby Aquatic Center in Sarasota hosted some of the events including preliminaries for fencing and swimming.

Benderson Park was built around the purpose for being a world class event center and team training site. When there are no world class events there, the 600-acre park is enjoyed by local residents as a county recreational, jogging and biking facility.

Equestrian events at the 2015 Modern Pentathlon
Equestrian events at the 2015 Modern Pentathlon #1 this past weekend at Nathan Benderson Park

The park is already booked for international rowing events. Starting June 12 the 2015 USRowing Youth National Championships will be held there. Next year the 2016 FISA International Regatta is scheduled for a Spring-time event. However, the best is yet to come. In two years, September 1 through October 1, the 2017 World Rowing Championships with the top athletes from around the world will be participating there. The following year, the 2018 NCAA National Championships for rowing will be there.

Leading up those events there are many running, rowing, sculling and triathlons scheduled, almost one every weekend. The training schedule is almost as complete with universities using the facility to practice their rowing skills. Already scheduled are Yale, Columbia, Harvard, Michigan, Georgetown, Northeastern, Washington, Bryant and Dayton universities this year.

Most of the activities center around Regatta Island with the finish lines for the 1500 and 2000 meter rowing events on the Albano Course. A TV lane runs parallel to the course. Warm-up and cool-down lanes are there for the athletes just south of Regatta Island. A total of 500 acres of the park are water. A 5 KM track is opposite Regatta Island and also runs parallel to the rowing lanes.

All these activities are promoted by the Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates (SANCA), falling squarely on the shoulders of event coordinator Sarah Kupiec. SANCA is the non-profit organization that promotes Benderson Park. There are local outreach, safety training and education programs mostly staffed by volunteers from the community. Even the Benderson Park website is set up for world class, Considering the park officially opened in June of 2014, a lot has been scheduled to make this a top location for world-class athletes.

Rowing and sculling
Rowing and sculling championships are scheduled on the 2,000 meter Albano Course in the foreground

Longboat Key Club membership

by Roger Pettingell

You may never want to leave Longboat Key

Premier Facilities for Golf, Tennis, Boating and Dining

Juliette Valin, director of membership, Longboat Key Club, with Roger Pettingell, REALTALK #36
REALTALK™ #36 - I discuss Longboat Key Club dining and recreation offerings in this REALTALK™ interview with Juliette Valin, director of membership.

The luxury lifestyle on Longboat Key can be impressive if you add a Longboat Key Club membership to your property purchase. The amenities are great enough that you may never want to leave the island for recreation or dining. We made this conclusion last week when I spoke with Juliette Valin, director of membership, for a REALTALK™ #36 video. In her standard elevator speech she will tell you of the 45 holes of golf, 24 Har-Tru clay tennis courts, 6,500 square feet of fitness center with 65 fitness classes a week, mostly within three minutes of each other.

Longboat Key Club also has over 250 member events annually, with special occasions for holidays. There are weekly fitness and wellness classes in the Mind & Motion Studio. Members also have access to the beach and pool facilities that overlook the Gulf of Mexico. Add to that private catering and concierge services, and special room rates at their AAA four-diamond hotel and resort for guests, and it is no wonder why members would never want to leave the island.


The 18 holes at the Links of Longboat and 27 holes at Harbourside Golf Course combine for Golf Digest's "Best Places to Play" award. A priority of Ocean Properties after their purchase of Longboat Key Club a couple years ago was to improve golfing in all 45 holes. One improvement was a resurfacing of the greens with a new grass called Paspalum, which is salt tolerant. Trees line the Harbourside Golf Course along Sarasota Bay for a challenging round. Comprised of three courses of red, white and blue, the par-5, 580-yard, number five hole of the “Blue Herron” course could be the signature hole for the entire Harbourside experience. Over 5,000 palm trees and oleander line the course fairways of the renamed Links of Longboat (formerly Islandside Golf Course) with signature holes at two and 15.

Longboat Key Club
Longboat Key Club Moorings on Harbourside

The deep water Longboat Key Club Moorings has 291 weather protected boat slips for sail or motor yachts with telephone, cable TV, electric and water services. Although the marina privilege is a membership amenity available for lease or purchase. A full service marina designated as a clean marina by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for its environmentally friendly practices and management systems, the moorings is close to many of the recreation and dining offerings of the club. Complimentary daily dockage is available at Longboat Key Club Moorings with full membership.

Home to the Sarasota Open, the Tennis Gardens at Longboat Key Club feature 20 Har-Tru tennis courts. The premier men’s professional tennis tournament in Florida, the Sarasota Open will be held this year the second week of April on the U.S.T.A. certified stadium court in the gardens. The resort conducts a summer class for budding tennis players under the age of 18 as well as personalized lessons, daily strokes and strategy clinics by U.S.T.P.A. professional instructors. The pro shop has a full line of accessories.

Dining and Lounging:

The Court 21 Café and Lounge that overlooks center court at the Tennis Gardens is one of eight restaurants and lounges spread out over the 500 acres of Longboat Key Club. The lounge is open during the prime hours of tennis with brunch, lunch or a late afternoon snack.

Window service in the Tavern & Whiskey Bar opens at 7 a.m. each day and dinner is served until 9 p.m. with simple dishes created with local seasonal ingredients. The Tavern & Whiskey Bar is located on Harbourside by the golf course.

Also on Harbourside by the moorings is Portofino Ristorante & Bar where we were on location for our REALTALK™ video last week. Portofino features Italian cuisine and is open late Tuesday through Saturday. L'Ancora Bar, inside Portofino’s, is open until 10 p.m. weekends and 9 p.m. weekdays, including Sundays.

Over to Islandside, if you are looking for sophisticated cuisine daily in an elegant atmosphere, Sands Pointe in the resort center is the place for your next encounter. Featuring an award winning wine cellar, fresh seafood is brought in daily at Sands Pointe. Reservations are recommended for dinner, but the restaurant is also open for breakfast or lunch.

Socializing is one of the main pastimes at Longboat Key Club. One place is after dinner in the bar at the Point Lounge in the resort center by the Sands Pointe Restaurant. It is open until midnight daily. Spike'n Tees overlooks the Links of Longboat golf course. Relax at the bar after a round of golf or grab a quick breakfast or lunch seven days a week. If you prefer the beach atmosphere, Barefoot's Bar & Grille is also open seven days a week with casual dining and live music on Saturdays while relaxing on the sands of the Gulf of Mexico.


Longboat Key Club Links on Longboat Golf Course
Overlooking Links on Longboat - I have four residences for sale at Grand Bay that overlook the Longboat Key Club golf course on Harbourside.

This social club has been one of the premier private memberships in Florida for the past 30 years with four levels of memberships that begins with a full membership. This level offers the highest level of member recreation and dining amenities. With the golf membership you would have full access to the course, full access to all the private dining and lounges, with limited use of the other facilities during peak usage. Likewise, a tennis membership offers unlimited use of the courts, dining, lounge and beach locations, with limited use of other facilities. A social membership limits the use of marina, golf and tennis courts but includes access to restaurants, bars and lounges. Throw in a Childrens' Camp and special programs for youngsters and the entire family can enjoy a Longboat Key Club membership. To send an inquiry to join visit the Longboat Key Club membership page.

Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy. We are marketing a home in Country Club Shores as a new listing at 609 Halyard Lane, Longboat Key.

609 Halyard Lane, Longboat Key $799,000   Photo Slideshow


Marketing Properties on the Internet

by Roger Pettingell

Marketing Property Listings on the Internet

We promote properties in areas where the buyers gather

Grand Bay 245 single property site - We start our marketing by creating a single property site.

When I talk to prospective clients about the sale of their home we discuss the factors that affect their home so that we can arrive at a price that will sell, depending on how aggressive they want to be. Fortunately homes here in Sarasota and on Longboat Key hold their value, so selling a home here is more than just establishing a price in this competitive market. Rather than list a home, we market a home. The word listing is a passive way of saying that we will put your home in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), leave it there and hope that it’s priced right to sell. We market the home, after we list. We market the home, before we sell.

Marketing implies that we are going to promote and advertise the home in areas where we believe the buyers are looking. The sales process involves more marketing as I point out the features in a showing that make the home enticing to buyers. Otherwise, the sales process would just involve the definition version in which currency is exchanged for goods or services.

In today’s market we have more avenues to market your home. According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, 90% of home buyers begin their search online. I keep up with current trends to best evaluate where buyers might be looking on the Internet so we can best market to them. Our Internet strategies will complement our direct mail and newspaper advertising.

We start with good quality photos and video. Most of the online services accompany us quite well where we can upload these images or YouTube link. It starts with the MLS, dare I confirm it is a listing service. We then start our marketing prowess and we build a single property site for each home.  These individual web addresses are distributed to over 40 real estate portals including Trulia, Zillow, and

Our homes are featured on the home page of in a variety of ways. We rotate through featured videos on the home page. Each property also appears in the featured listing on the home page. Our home page is consistently the top page viewed by online visitors so we want to make sure these homes are well represented there. I think it is fair to say that visitors are on my site first to look for homes or to get advice on how to buy property. Each week I also highlight four properties with revolving images. We review our keywords so that our homes are best presented to search engines such s Google, Bing and Yahoo.

We have a big presence in social media, it is our social marketing. I have a Facebook personal page to stay connected with friends, but also maintain a Facebook business profile where visitors can also search featured properties and keep up with news of Longboat Key and Sarasota as it pertains to the real estate market. For instance, updates on the new Mall at University Town Center informs buyers that this area is keeping up with boutique shopping. We also stay active on Google+, LinkedIn and all the information we can post within 140 characters on Twitter.

Although some may argue that my YouTube channel is not social media. I treat it as one of the best sites to promote our videos in a social climate, so think it is a very good social media platform. Our REALTALK™ video series on the local real estate market each week receive many views. My helicopter tour of Sarasota has over 1,000 visits. Even this blog accepts comments, so it acts as a good social media website. Each of our properties are represented there and appear with links and description at least one time.

Coldwell Banker has a great presence on the Internet. We start with our properties on This company is shifting their strategy on the Internet and coordinating the markets to combine all the United States areas into one site, will replace the site and become the single source of home searches for the company. I have been told this transition will begin shortly, eventually will become obsolete.

Properties also appear on the luxury sites of Coldwell Banker Previews International, with direct distribution to luxury home sites such as and

Through the mobile site CB Connect, our properties appear with virtual tours and videos. Buyers can see the particulars of a property, watch a video and tour, and with one click on their smartphone can call me while sitting in their car in front of the home. Impulse buying on luxury property? Not really, but I can use that connection to begin our relationship and sell our listing.

Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy. We are building a good inventory of luxury waterfront homes and condominiums to choose, including this Grand Bay residence on the fourth floor of Building II added last week.

3040 Grand Bay Blvd, #245 $929,000   Photo Slideshow


Impact of Foreign Currencies on the Market

by Roger Pettingell

Matching Buyers with the Right Home

Working With the Market in the Global Economy

Exchange Rate For Common Local Currencies, USD, Canada, Pound, Euro, Ruble
Exchange Rate - Comparison of January 21, 2015 to January 21, 2014, and the percentage of change compared to the value of the USD.

In mid-December I created a REALTALK™ #28 video on international buyers for homes in Sarasota. I then followed it up with a blog article with percentages of foreign buyers of real estate here. Since then a lot of discussion has been on foreign exchange rates. How a strong or weak United States Dollar (USD) impacts our sales to foreign investors is my topic for the day. Leading the discussion is the Russian economy which has caused the Ruble to weaken recently. A large part of their economy is based on the sale of crude oil, international sanctions has produced a weaker Ruble compared to the USD. I mentioned last year that most buyers from Russia prefer the Miami area but we do have visitors from that country viewing homes here. The Ruble has plummeted on the international market.

We are aware of the impact this currency difference has on the local market. This time of year we see a larger amount of visitors from Canada who travel I-75 south or from Europe with direct flights into Tampa. They say, “When one of our economies sneezes, the other one gets a cold.” We really are interlinked.

Exchange Rates - REALTALK #35
I discuss foreign exchange rates and the influence on our market in this REALTALK™ video.

A strong dollar compared to these currencies means that we can buy goods at a lower price. So, a bottle of French wine is a good value now. On the other hand, the stronger dollar puts a strain on buying power of foreign investors. A 10 percent drop in currency for the luxury home market is a significant change. A $4 million beachfront property raises the cost of the home to foreign investors by $400,000.

The chart I prepared here compares the dollar to foreign currencies. The exchange rate for the Canadian dollar last month was $1.2086 for one USD. According to a recent report from the National Association of REALTORS®, Canadian buyers lead the way in home purchases in the United States with 19 percent of homes purchased in 2014 compared to other counties. China was second with 16 percent of homes purchased.

We discuss these issues with our sellers and prepare for these fluctuations in the exchange rate. If an offer comes in for a $4 million home at $4,834,400 in Canadian dollars, we would consider that offer as meeting the list price based on the Canadian rate mentioned above. When we have the same conversation with our buyers we take into consideration the buying power of their currency.

There are strategies for dealing with these issues. We avoid predicting the future of the foreign exchange market, just as much as we avoid predicting stock prices as a day-trader.

Although Bitcoin has not caught on fully as yet for purchasing homes in Sarasota, that is an option. Bitcoin acts more like an international commodity than a national currency. One Bitcoin in the United States is the same as one Bitcoin in a foreign country. If the foreign investor has amassed enough Bitcoin in their account, they could fend off the difference in currency rates.

1070 Westway Drive, Sarasota, Florida 34236
This home at 1070 Westway Drive on Pansey Bayou was featured for its light and bright architecture design Sunday by Harold Bubil in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

The market is strong here and that makes this area very attractive for sales, all things considered. Please call me at (941) 387-1840 if you are ready to sell or buy property in Sarasota or Longboat Key. I was recently informed my $66.6 million in closed sales for 2014 continued my streak as the number one Coldwell Banker agent in Florida for the third consecutive year. I work hard to sell your home, including three homes that have closed this year and six that are pending.

Famed architects Don Chapell and Guy Peterson are celebrated for their design of this light Lido Shores home in this article by Harold Bubil of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. The home at 1070 Westway Drive in Sarasota is now for sale as a featured listing.

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
  • 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.