My View


My View


Date: October 21, 2009
by: Marnie Matarese


This book title came to mind the other day while I was sitting across the table from a woman who was angered by my support of the Longboat Key Club project. Upon learning that I was a Realtor, she said angrily, “You’ll never sell real estate in this town again!”

I lived on Longboat Key from 1984 through 2004. During those 20 years I had my own fitness center at Avenue of the Flowers and moved on to manage the Spa and Fitness Center at the Longboat Key Club and Resort. I am currently a Realtor, and I work on Longboat Key.

When I moved here in 1984, much of the building “behind the gates” had not been started.

As the developments broke ground, I found that the traffic did increase, but when has a two-to-three-minute delay in reaching a destination ever been a problem except for people on Longboat Key?

As the buildings became occupied, I sometimes had to park as far as 10 cars away from the front doors of Publix, suffer one or two people ahead of me in any line for any service and make reservations at restaurants instead of just walking in. Somehow, I managed to survive.

I lived in the Harbourside area when Corey’s Landing, Sabal Cove and Grand Bay were under construction, and, again, except for the arrivals and departures of the equipment for the day at the north gate, life went on as usual.

I welcomed all the new owners of all of the new properties. I was happy to have them living here. The buildings were a beautiful addition to Longboat Club Road, as were the incredible homes built just north of them. The new residents brought life and vitality to our restaurants, our businesses and enriched our lives as we made new friends.

I am astounded by the negativity of the opponents of the project. They appear to be living in a parallel universe far, far away, where there are no economic downturns, no plummeting property values, no budget constraints, no closures of businesses and no concerns about the graceless aging of Longboat Key.
Listening to their complaints about traffic, views and density makes me wish that all of us who came here long before they ever did had opposed the construction of the buildings they now call home, instead of graciously welcoming them and accepting the minor inconveniences that we all lived through during the building phases.

This project is about an opportunity to provide an economic stimulus that will be far reaching and will put Longboat Key back in the enviable position of one of the most desirable places to live in this entire country.
It will raise property values, it will pour money into the town coffers and it will bring life and vitality back to a town that is drying up. I say, build it and let them come!

So, I may not ever sell real estate in this town again, but it is not all about me. Too bad that so many of you think it is all about you.

Marnie Matarese is a 20-year Longboat Key resident and business owner, former Longboat Key, Lido Key, St. Armands Key Chamber of Commerce chairwoman and is currently a Re/Max Excellence agent.

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Currently 3 Responses

  • 1.
  • I believe that it is shameful for the Town to close Harry's Restaurant patio saeting. I have been going there for brunch after church since the patio opened, and taking friends. I did'nt come to my home here to spend winter sitting inside on our lovely days. It would seem wise to encourage a good business in L.B.K. since so many are dropping off like flies. Harry contributes generously to all good causes on the Key. He is a true gentleman and should be encouraged not punished.

    Elizabeth Colebrook
    2252 Harbour Court
    Longboat Key
  • Elizabeth Colebrook
    Fri 13th Nov 2009
    at 7:11pm
  • 2.
  • Marni, you said it all perfectly. As far as salivating with new product someone obviously is unaware of the over-abundance of product currently on the market. We are not as Realtors looking to increase our inventory, but rather to create a better environment for the masses rather than to cater to the minority. It was a joke when I arrived on Longboat that I was not to tell others of this Paradise because the then current residents wanted to keep it a secret. This is so much like the uneducated comments about the Ringling Bridge that almost never happened because of the same controversy. So many were against what has become a real asset to all as well as a beautiful sturcture faclitating traffic, much of which comes from Longboat Key.
    If the Longboat Key Club cannot make a profit, the facility will run down so badly that it will become a third rate hotel bringing people who cannot afford property on Longboat Key along with other problems when decay sets in, thus drying up the constant stream of quality affluent buyers that are currently attracted to the Club. Also, whenever there is new construction, the costs are higher than the resales causing the resale older properties to accelerate in value.
    These same people reap the benefits of higher values as a direct result of the Club building. No business will invest one dollar without expecting a return on their investment. It is also important to remember the master entrepreneur of Longboat Key who had a dream and knew how important it was to have a five star hotel before he was able to develop Longboat Club Drive and the entire south end. Is it not wise to follow his lead? He knew what it took to get people to his project and he did what he had to do. Secondly, I was at that meeting last week and was surprised at even our Planning and Zoning people questioning the professional architects and designers choice of building placements and designs. Months and I am sure years went into the planning of this $ 400 million project and to see and hear amateurs questioning and directing the professionals seemed a little absurd to me. When I need a heart surgeon, I don't go to a dentist for a consultation. Also, my understanding is that the residential properties are in the latter phases of development. With the residences over 2,000 sq. ft. with construction tentatively planned in 2014 for the residences, the costs of construction will only go up. I can only venture to guess we will very definitely see prices of $1,000 sq. ft. or more. Sophisticated people of means do not purchase third class amenities or landscaped properties. It must present itself as five star, otherwise there will be no sales. At that point, the amenities and golf course will be completed and will be the draw to the buyers. I suspect the majority of the projects profit will be with the residences. So, the quality of the amenities, landscaping, etc., is silly to even question at this point in time. Of course they will be state of the art, or there will be no sales. The developers don't need to be told that. They have the financial and professional consultants to direct them to a successful end result. Lastly, with this increased price of residential property, it can only cause the surrounding area to skyrocket and the Longboat Key business community will also thrive with new diners and shoppers. It truly is a gift and the developers deserve every penny of profit for choosing our declining island as their choice of where to invest. Can you imagine if they have confidence in our Island what will happen when they complete the project. I would bet my last penny that these business people know exactly what they are doing and we will be the receipients of their wisdom and desire to develop our small Island of Paradise before it declines any further and no business will take the risk of investing. Ho;pefully those who are against this project can stop, get as much information as possible from every source and reevaluate so that they too can see the many benefits to them rather than to see this project through tunnel vision. I don't want anyone upset with me, of course. I am a Realtor doing business on Longboat Key, but when something this important can help everyone, I feel it is time to stand up and speak out while respecting the views of everyone but doing what is, in the end, in the best interests of our beloved Longboat Key.

    Sylvia Babineau, President, My Realty Company.
    St. Armands Circle.
  • sylvia babineau
    Sun 25th Oct 2009
    at 7:34pm
  • 3.
  • It's all about product. What Real Estate Agent is against redevelopment of Longboat Key? New Product has them all salivating. Unless we all realize that redevopment is necessary to maintain the ambiance of our paradise, Longboat Key will slip into a third-rate Community of deteriating properties such as what has become of the Colony. All of our property values will continue to decline and home values will continue to fall. The Key Club must be allowed to redevelop, but not necessarily as a Convention Destination as it's primary use. In the end a compromise between the redevelopers and its neighbors must be worked out to everyone's benefit.
  • Lee Pokoik
    Sat 24th Oct 2009
    at 11:50am
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