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Cooperative solutions to old art center

by Roger Pettingell

Next chapter is written for arts center

Last piece of a puzzle includes moving old Whitney Cottages

Abandoned studio
Many memories were started in the old studio, now abandoned on the grounds of the arts center.

This is a good story how a housing development dream comes true, there is a strong commitment to the preservation of history, a local government works closely with other governments and organizations to provide funding sources for a cause, there is a passion for the arts and a college sees strong value in supporting its local residents. And it all is happening here on Longboat Key, with the Longboat Key Center for the Arts at the apex to benefit from all the cooperation. But now it’s a race against time.

Many problems matched with many solutions

The Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota merged with the Longboat Key Center for the Arts in 2007 so the center could continue its long tradition of providing art projects and exhibits to the residents of the island. This year the college worked with the city of Longboat Key to expand and announced on March 3, 2017 that it would close the center for the arts at the end of the 2016-17 season in May. The solution between the college and city, purchase land that has been the site of a highly respected restaurant. The Amore Restaurant solution, move to a location on the mainland.

Whitney Cottages built in 1930s
Moving Whitney Cottages - These homes were built in the 1930s and moved to the art center grounds in early 1950s. Now there is a movement to find a new location, fund the project and do it quickly.

Another problem, what was to become of the old art center property? Solution, sell it to a home developer, Jim Clabaugh, that has a good history for building quality homes. Since the land was already zoned for residential use, voters would not be required to approve the project. Two referendums were soundly defeated in March that would have changed residential density on the island. Jim Clabaugh is ready to roll with his construction plans.

But yet another problem, and potential solution. The center for the arts has a long history packed into 65 years. Two historical homes were moved to the property of the arts center in the early 1950s to preserve the last homes of the Whitney Beach Resort, originally built in the 1930s. Would it be possible to save the homes and for what use? Enter more residents with solutions to two problems. City organizers had always wanted a welcome center but did not have a building or property. The Longboat Key Historical Society President Michael Drake stepped in and offers another solution, move the two Whitney Beach cottages to a new property. At first an old gas station on the north end of the island was reviewed, but last week a better property across the street was announced.

New location for Whitney Beach Resort homes
Proposed location for Whitney Cottages on north end.

Both Drake and the property owner at 521 Broadway Street, Greg Ciccolo, agreed. Land developer Clabaugh has a short time to build 12 homes in the space vacated by the arts center. His 18-month time frame does not fit into the historical society plans, but he is giving some allowance for the move. He is even going so far that he is donating the homes. Now it’s a race against time to fund the project, acquire the property and move the buildings.

Are there any other potential problems? I’m sure some will appear, but if the past is any indicator it looks as though city and organizers can come together in short time. The fact that these properties are located in two separate counties hasn’t been addressed and hopefully won’t be an issue. The Welcome Center will greet visitors on the north end in Manatee County and the new art center will be centrally located on Longboat Key in Sarasota County.

Digital studio
Digital production studio - The progressive arts center included a production studio for digital arts.

All is a matter of timing, and all just this year. Even the old gas station across the street at 6990 Gulf of Mexico Drive is in contract to purchase. There has been no plans announced for its use, only a city report that it will be used as a new restaurant and gas station. Amore Restaurant owner Howard Rooks announced that his new restaurant will be in the surging Burns Court district at 443 Pineapple Avenue in Sarasota. It will be opening next month in the old Villa Toscana restaurant. So much has occurred since I first reported on the closing and plans for the new center on April 6 in my REALTALKplus™ article, an update was needed to cover these most current events.

While on the subject of charm and history, last week I listed a well-maintained, updated three-bedroom plus office at 1222 Center Place in Sarasota. It was designed by famed architect Erwin Gremli II and was once the guest quarters for Dr. Marion Hoppin, a founding member of New College here in Sarasota. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

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1222 Center Place $1,549,000   Photo Slideshow


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


Powerboat Grand Prix returns to Sarasota

by Roger Pettingell

Festivals, Powerboats and Fireworks

Enjoy your 4th of July holiday with plenty of events in the Sarasota area

Superboats make their way out to the Gulf of Mexico
Powerboat Grand Prix - There will only be one day of racing this year as powerboats motor past Lido Key on Sunday

Although the annual Powerboat Grand Prix hailed its two preliminary events the past few days, the kickoff party on Wednesday will start the trend of thousands to visit Sarasota for the full festival and the traditional fireworks in the area. The crowds will descend downtown and Lido Beach will come alive for one full day of racing off Lido Beach on Sunday.

As part of the Powerboat festival, eight days of events were initiated with the 4th Annual Bob Rizi Memorial Golf Classic on Saturday at The Meadows Country Club in Sarasota. Also completed was the Boat & Personal Watercraft fun run yesterday. It started at Marina Jack with a shotgun start and a variety of boats with travels to the Salty Dog, Bridge Tender and Tarpon Bay Grill. Proceeds benefited the Suncoast Charities for Children. A private event “The Friendliest Catch” fishing tournament is another Suncoast Charities for Children at the Sarasota Outboard Club on City Island on Tuesday.

Many powerboat fans will be visiting the Grand Prix Kickoff Party in the grand foyer of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Wednesday starting at 6 PM. The Caribbean Chillers, an international travelling Jimmy Buffett tribute band is the live entertainment for the night. Wear your patriotic apparel for this evening of fun and island style food.

One of many firework displays this week, the Bayfront Spectacular is part of the Grand Prix Festival. Prime viewing is from Bayfront Park, but anywhere downtown will be good with an open view of the bay. Should be great if you can find a location on a rooftop. The fireworks start at 9 PM on Thursday.

“Meet and Greet Who’s in the Driver Seat” is an autograph signing event by the race team pilots. Those 18 and under are free, a five-dollar donation will be accepted for all other guests. It starts at 1 PM on Friday in the Hyatt Regency Ballroom downtown. The “Boats on the Block” follows at 6 PM and will be held on Main Street from Orange Avenue to South Palm Avenue. The powerboats will be on display for pictures, live music and great food will keep you busy for hours.

Two events on day seven start at 9 AM, the Car & Motorcycle Show at Rossiter’s Harley-Davidson, four hours of some of the best-in-show four-wheel and two-wheel vehicles. Remote Control race boats is a charity event on Saturday where competitors of all ages pilot their own boat modeled after those in the big race festival. It takes place at O’Leary’s Tiki Bar & Grill on the Bayfront from 10 AM to noon on Saturday.

Miss Geico returns, a crowd favorite, kicking off a single-day of racing in the Class 1-7 course off Lido Beach at 10 AM on Sunday. Also entered in the Class 1 performance boats are Victory, 222 Racing, Lucas Oil and Scuderia Cazzani. Superstocks, Super Vee Extreme and Prostock Vee begin their races at 11:30 AM. The Supercat style boats race at 12:30 PM, while the Class 1 and Vee Extreme finish the day of racing at 2 PM followed by an awards ceremony at 6 PM in the Hyatt Regency ballroom. Viewing is free on the beach, a special VIP area at the Sandcastle Resort has been sold out.

In 2018 the impact of the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival generated an estimated $20 million to the local economy with over $2.657 million in hotel spending. Of the $721,753 sales tax collected, $69, 670 was reimbursed to the county. Sarasota County collected its own sales tax of $120,292.

Other Area Fireworks and Festivals, Wednesday and Thursday schedule

Get an early jump on fireworks Wednesday at dusk with two local displays in Manatee and Sarasota counties. The Bradenton Marauders take on the Jupiter Hammerheads on Wednesday at LECOM park in Bradenton, followed by and Independence Day fireworks celebration. Before dusk at 7 PM, the Fireworks 4 Miler is a prelude to the fireworks that follow at Nathan Benderson Park.

But a majority of the fireworks are scheduled for Thursday, following a day of celebrations at parks around the area. A party in Bicentennial Park starts the day on Longboat Key as the Freedom Fest and the half mile Hot Diggity Dog Parade begins at the Suntrust Bank building on bay Isles Road. Dress your pup in the best red, white and blue for a chance to win prizes in this annual event.

While the Freedom Fest starts at 9 AM, so does the Myakka River Kayak Festival as the two early morning festivals. Rent a canoe or kayak, then eat plenty and sample some of 30 different craft beers while listening to live Folk Americana music at Snook Haven in Venice.

Palmetto will hold its 9th annual Fourth of July Festival in Sutton Park followed by fireworks in Sutton Park, a full day of entertainment, music, food and drink. Rare Earth and Mark Farner’s American Band, two oldies rock favorites precede the fireworks over the Manatee River at the Green Bridge with good viewing from both sides of the river.

If you are on Anna Maria Island Thursday you will undoubtedly find the Privateers Fourth of July Parade. The parade is a lengthy one which starts at Coquina Beach, 10 AM, and finishes on the north end of the island at the city pier. Stick around for the fireworks at the Sandbar Restaurant.

The All-American Cookout at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens features food preparations from Michael’s on East, a family dance party, games and other activities before the Bayfront Fireworks Spectacular.

There are fireworks in the area that are not centrally tied to a community festival. The viewing area for the Siesta Key Community Fireworks on the beach opens at 6 PM, and areas around the south jetty in Venice are prime locations for the fireworks there shortly after sunset. The weather forecasts are typical for this time of year as the normal summer pattern spreads across the area, with little rain chances except for an afternoon shower. It shouldn’t dampen any of your plans. But for more local events, check out our updated schedule of events.

Last week I listed a private waterfront residence that is tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac in the secluded Hideaway Bay community at 705 Hideaway Bay Lane. A tropical oasis, this 3BR 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 or if you have a property to sell or buy. Enjoy your Independence Day Holiday festivities.

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705 Hideaway Bay Lane $1,495,000 Video Photo Slideshow


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


Sarasota - the New Hollywood

by Roger Pettingell

Shows filmed or are about this area

From movies to TV shows, the entertainment industry likes Sarasota

The Greatest Show on Earth movie
The Greatest Show on Earth is considered an all-time great by director Cecil B. DeMille.

Sarasota may be the next Hollywood now that the show, Claws, aired on the TNT network last night. It appeared as just another of a string either filmed or are about the Sarasota area. And there are many, beginning as early as 1932, continuing to this year when two shows debut with the Sarasota area as a backdrop.

If you were watching the Tony Awards and didn’t watch the show, Claws, which is centered in a Palmetto salon that is a site for women who make a business of money laundering. And it is getting good reviews as of this morning. It stars some very familiar actresses including Niecy Nash, Carrie Preston, Judy Reyes and Karreuche Tran. It was filmed in other locations but the producers had a crew in the area for 20 days to get background information and some local shots for the series. Local native Ryland Jones is a consultant for the company that is involved in post-production work for the show. It airs at 9 PM on Sundays.

Set to debut in July, the MTV reality series with a preliminary name of Siesta Key, is a show about living near the Number 1 beach in the United States. Its pilot was filmed here with little fanfare about 16 months ago, then followed with subsequent productions around the Siesta Key beach. The show is unscripted, depicting the lives of young adults and the relationships they nurture. A commercial for the show appeared May 7 during the MTV Movie and TV Awards ceremony.

It all started in 1932 with the movie Prestige, starring Melvyn Douglas and Ann Harding. Although the premise of the movie was not about Sarasota, it was filmed in Venice and on the Myakka River. Douglas was an alcoholic struggling with his command of a French Indo-China penal colony.

The Greatest Shows on Earth

Two of the most well-known movies about the area and filmed here received critical acclaim and achieved box office success. You likely have seen The Greatest Show on Earth, the 1952 fiction film directed by Cecil B. DeMille based on the real-life connection to the circus. The plot, production and the list of stars were enough to earn an Academy Award for Best Picture that year. Cornel Wilde played the Great Sebastion who demoted his girlfriend Holly from her center trapeze spot. The cast was a Who’s Who of Hollywood actors, including some of the best known stars Charlton Heston, James Stewart and Dorothy Lamour. Even circus clown Emmett Kelly had a role in the movie.

In 1993 The Great Wallendas was a made-for-TV production filmed entirely in Sarasota, starring Lloyd Bridges of Sea Hunt fame as Karl Wallenda. It may have been a prophetic depiction of local events, a tragic end of a seven-person high wire act. In February of this year, five were injured in a similar pyramid performance including Rietta and Lijana Wallenda. Nik Wallenda anchored the pyramid but caught himself on the wire and was uninjured.

Now for the Rest of the Movies

Less famous movies included A Flash of Green, a 1985 movie which pitted environmentalists against local land developers. The plot was a fictional account of the struggle in Palm City, a real town near Port St. Lucie and partially filmed on Casey Key.

Back to Palmetto, where Woody Harrelson portrayed a convicted felon who kidnapped a millionaire’s step-daughter, Odette, played by Chloë Sevigny. The 1998 movie was named for the Manatee County town but there are no reports any of it was filmed here.

A movie filmed mostly in the Tampa area, the 1999 movie Forever Mine did include a SCAT Sarasota transit bus when the crew was in town. Gretchen Mol played a politician’s wife who fueled a long standing vendetta between the characters played by Ray Liotta and Joseph Fiennes.

The fishing village of Cortez in southern Manatee County served as the backdrop for the movie Out of Time in 2002, starring Denzel Washington as police chief Matthias "Matt" Lee Whitlock who plotted to steal $550,000 that was confiscated in a recent drug bust. It was filmed in Cortez, Placida and Boca Grande.

Winter in Dolphin Tale
Most of the scenes in Dolphin Tale movies 1 & 2 were filmed on location at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

Two movies about Winter, a bottlenose dolphin fitted with a prosthetic tail, were filmed in and around the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. In Dolphin Tale, a 2011 movie inspired by the actual story of Winter, Morgan Freeman plays Dr. Cameron McCarthy, who develops the mechanical tail from donated parts. Other stars, Harry Connick, Jr., Ashley Judd, and Kris Kristofferson form their own tale around Winter and the fight to keep the aquarium open. In the 2014 sequel, Dolphin Tale 2, the characters reunite to find a suitable companion for Winter so that the dolphin can continue to stay at the aquarium. By then child actors Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff are established stars. There is an exhibit about the two movies at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

In 2011 and 2012 three movies were filmed in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Armed and Dangerous was filmed here, the story of an ex-con who returned to this area to kill the woman who testified at his trial that led to his 20-year incarceration. The documentary, Last Will and Embezzlement, that focused on elder exploitation was filmed in Sarasota and had an appearance by Mickey Rooney. Bradenton was the location for The Message, a movie about a woman who struggled with religion after a serious car accident.

The House of Blood, Parker and Spring Breakers in 2013 were three films that had Sarasota as its backdrop. Although The House of Blood was about a crazed masked man who kidnapped a young stripper in Miami, the set of the movie was here. Parker was filmed on the grounds of the Ringling Museum at the home of John and Mable Ringling, Cà d'Zan. Spring Breakers may not be a movie for the older set, but it was filmed partially at the Ringling College of Art & Design. Other set locations included the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and St. Pete Beach.

Two 2016 movies about Christine Chubbuck

Sarasota WTOG and WXLT-TV reporter and morning show talk host, Christine Chubbuck, ended her life on live television, July 15, 1974. Based on the true story and tragic events that led to her suicide were portrayed in the movie, Christine, that premiered in theaters late last year. It was released in the United Kingdom this year and starred Rebecca Hall as Christine. Video of the original suicide surfaced last year but has been debunked for its authenticity by experts.

In Kate Plays Christine, Kate Lyn Sheil portrays Rebecca Hall in a documentary released in August before the release of Christine. Kate Lyn has had roles in the House of Cards and Sun Don’t Shine. In this documentary, director Robert Greene explored the exploitation of community suicide and the public need for creating a movie about the topic. It follows Kate Lyn as she prepares for the role of Christine by visiting friends and co-workers of the late television reporter.

Back to the Real Sarasota

I have a keen interest in movies as of late. My niece, Katie Dippold, is an actress and screen writer with recent credits for her work in movies The Heat, Spy, the new Ghostbusters released in 2016 and the more recent movie with Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer, Snatched. The Heat won two awards in 2014, the American Comedy Award and People’s Choice Award. She has several credits for her work in television comedies including the highly acclaimed Parks and Recreation series.

Professional film credits are going to Ringling College of Art Design students. Teachers, students and professional artists from Semkhor Productions are teaming up to produce movies in and about the area. The most current project is Killroy Was Here, an anthology horror series filmed at Nathan Benderson Park. Rated one of the best film schools in the country, the Ringling College is adding Studios A and B this summer and plan to have the Post Production Facilities finished in the fall.

Winter in Dolphin Tale
A Gulf of Mexico beach view from the balcony at 1000 Longboat Club Rd, #805 on Longboat Key.

Last week I listed a wonderful residence in Privateer South, #805. This eighth-floor residence overlooks the azure colored Gulf of Mexico waters and its sandy white beaches. Everything has been completely renovated including frosted-glass sliding doors that lead to each of two bedrooms. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

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1000 Longboat Club Rd, #805 $699,000   Photo Slideshow


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2017 Sarasota Music Festival

by Roger Pettingell

Concert series begins Thursday

Under the direction of Jeffrey Kahane, festival runs through June 23

Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236
Friday Festivals and Saturday Symphonies will be at the Sarasota Opera House on N. Pineapple Ave.

Today is the official start of the Sarasota Music Festival, three weeks of classical music that attracts fans, 60 students and 40 masters from around the world. Now in its 54th year, the excitement runs high with 50 classic works packed into 12 performances, Thursday through Sunday in each of the weeks. These programs are designed so that no two are alike, giving you a choice of your favorite concerts or an opportunity to see them all with completely different programs each night.

Mondays through Wednesdays, the students learn from the masters in hopes that someday they will achieve master status. These gifted students from 10 different countries auditioned for the privilege of learning and performing the classics. In the morning you may catch a glimpse of these young artists walking the streets of downtown Sarasota as they trek to their assigned classrooms. They are recognizable carrying wind or stringed instrument cases. It all begins today.

But it really began when over 500 musicians from schools around the globe auditioned for the 60 spots of the festival, designated as the Official Teaching and Performing Festival of the State of Florida by the legislature in 1984. Their talent will be observed in three Rising Star ensembles the first two Sundays of the festival and Thursday of the final week at 3 PM in Holley Hall. Tickets are wonderfully priced at $10 for each recital by calling (941) 953-3434 or by visiting the Sarasota Orchestra website.

The masters assemble for symphonies and chamber music Thursday through Saturday. Love Songs on Thursday starting at 4:30 PM is the first Artist Showcase in the pleasant Holley Hall chamber with general admission and balcony seating. Four pieces will be performed, a Quintet for Piano and Wind Instruments, an early work by Beethoven will open the performance. Poems by Toni Morrison were set to music by composer Andre Previn in Four Songs. The program will conclude with compositions of romance for the piano and viola.

Brilliantly Baroque opens the first of three Friday Festivals, four programs of chamber music from two of the Baroque master composers, Back and Vivaldi. Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C Minor, BWV 1060 and Keyboard Concerto in F Major with two Obbligato Flutes, BWV 1057 are interspersed with Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Cellos in G Minor, RV 531 and Summer from The Four Seasons, RV 315. The Friday Festival concerts begin at 8 PM in the Sarasota Opera House.

The festival continues in the opera house on Saturday with full symphonic background to one of the finest young violinists, Angelo Xiang Yu, performing Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26. It is the second concerto of the evening in the program Afternoon of a Faun. The program begins with its prelude by composer Debussy and concludes with a Mozart symphony composition No. 39 in E-flat Major, K. 543.

Rising Stars - Scholarships for Sarasota Music Festival
Rising Stars — Scholarships were offered to 60 students among the 500 musicians who auditioned for the 2018 Sarasota Music Festival. They will perform in the Rising Stars series and ensembles of acclaimed professionals throughout the festival.

Following the Rising Star program on Sunday, it’s back to the classroom leading up to the next round on June 14, Musical Treasures in the Artist Showcase 2. Mozart combined the piano with stringed instrument for the opening of chamber music in the Quartet No. 2 in E-flat Major, K. 493. Wind instruments follow in Ligeti’s Six Bagatelles while a memorial to victims of the Holocaust concludes the program, Piano Trio No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 67 by Shotakovich.

Appalachian Spring is a four-part program for the second Friday Festival on June 15. The full symphony is brought together for the opener, La création du monde, Op. 81, a composition by Milhaud on the Creation of the World. Copland’s Appalachian Spring is followed by a Jonathon Spivey piano solo, Norwegian Peasant Dances, Op. 72 composition by Grieg. The evening ends with a String Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 97 concerto by Dvorak.

An Overture on Hebrew Themes, Op. 34 composed by Prokofiev in 1919 leads the Influence and Individuality Saturday Symphony 2 on June 16. Vijay Venkatesh follows with a solo performance of Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22 by Saint-Saens, followed by Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48.

In the Artist Showcase 3, Life’s Passions is a four-part program on June 21 featuring piano recitals by Robert Levin and Jeffrey Kahane in two of Schubert’s compositions, Allegro in A Minor, D 947 and Rondo in A Major, D. 951. The evening begins with a Gieseking composition, Sonatine and concludes with Beethoven’s Piano Trio No. 5 in D Major, Op. 70 No. 1.

The Friday Festival winds down the series with the Summer Serenades program. This three-part concert on June 22 combines Serenade in C Major, Op. 10 by Dohnanyi, Serenade No. 11 in E-flat Major, K. 375 by Mozart and a Brahms composition Piano Quartet No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 25, nicknamed Gypsy.

Holley Hall at the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 709 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236
Artist Showcases and the Rising Star student series will be held at Holley Hall each week of the festival.

Luminous Bodies, a work commissioned for Robert Sirota by the Sarasota Music Festival makes its world premiere in the final Saturday Symphony as a grand finale to the festival. Luminous Bodies was composed for a Generation Y ensemble of musicians aptly named yMusic, a popular program which made its debut in the festival last year. Kahane begins the program with Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat, K. 595 by Mozart while conducting from the piano. The grand finale to the evening and the festival is Schumann’s composition Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 97.

The entire series of concerts is under the direction of Kahane, now in his second year as the music director of the festival. He succeeds Levine and Paul Wolfe, the only other directors who have guided the program since its beginnings in 1965. Levine will give a lecture on music, June 20 at 1:30 PM in Holley Hall. Enjoy the festival.

Last week I listed a home that is the best of two worlds, you will love the bay and deeded beach access a few feet from the front door of this beautifully private estate. Soaring oak trees and elaborate foliage surround this gated 3BR plus office residence. The home at 6155 Manasota Key Road built by John McIntyre in 2007, boasts superior construction of the highest standards. It includes its own dock and lift. 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
6155 Manasota Key Road $1,695,000 Video Photo Slideshow


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


Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4




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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.