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Longboat Key Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009 8 years ago

Beach Residences unit sells for $2,731,800

by: Kent Chetlain

Despite a slight sales lull during the recording week of Sept. 21 through Sept. 25, two of six keys transactions surpassed $1 million. Both were consummated on Lido Beach.

The week’s largest transaction was the $2,731,800 Theresa and Nicholas Barna, of Mountain Top, Pa., paid for Unit 1004 at the 88-unit, Ritz Carlton-operated Beach Residences, 1300 Ben Franklin Drive.

The sellers, Bridget and Jerome Dobson, of Atlanta, purchased the Gulf-front condominium new for $2.7 million in June 2006.

The three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath condo has 3,550 square feet of living area and was built in 2005.

Further down the beach at 1800 Ben Franklin Drive, Lynn and John Stewart, of Milwaukee, sold their apartment A-105 at the 105-unit L’Elegance, on Lido Beach, to Lisa Holsclaw, of Cincinnati, for $1.05 million. The two-bedroom, two-bath condo was built in 1996 and contains 1,350 square feet of living area.

The Stewarts paid $1.05 million for the apartment in April 2005.

Sea Twig
In the lone sale at the six-unit Sea Twig condominium, 5645 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Tomas Ericson, from Helsingborg, Sweden, bought Unit 102 from Verner Jordan Jr., for $440,000. The two-bedroom, two-bath apartment was built in 1985 with 1,346 square feet of air-conditioned living area.

Country Club Shores
Athanasia Haralampopoulos, also known as Athanasia Polizois, and Eleni Haralampopoulos, now known as Eleni Malamis, of Burr Ridge, Ill., sold their home in Country Club Shores, Unit II, at 501 Schooner Lane, to Joann and Martin Nowak Jr., from Middletown, N.Y., for $430,000.

The two-bedroom, two-bath home was constructed in 1973 with 1,481 square feet of living space. The seller bought the home for $385,000 in May 2001.

Whitney Beach
There were two sales at Whitney Beach condominium, both on the 103-unit bayside of the 139-unit complex.

Linda and Peter King, from Concord Township, Ohio, bought Unit 190 at Whitney Beach II from Vesta Equity LLC, of Sarasota, for $285,000.

The two-bedroom, two-bath condo at 6800 Gulf of Mexico Drive was constructed in 1970 and has 1,377 square feet of living area. Vesta Equity bought the property for $450,000 in March 2009.

In the second transaction, John Casale Jr., as personal representative of the estate of Ann Casale, of New York City, sold Unit 173 at Whitney Beach to Dan Cavallo, from Windermere, for $190,000. The one-bedroom, one-bath apartment at 6800 Gulf of Mexico Drive has 928 square feet of living area.

Origins of Whitney Beach
The late Gordon Whitney, along with his wife, Lora, founded the Whitney Beach Cottages in 1935 on the extreme-northwestern end of Longboat Key, south of the mouth of Longboat Pass and the historic Longbeach Village. Gordon told me he first saw Longboat Key from the air earlier that year, when he and his father-in-law, William Colvin, flew over Longboat Key looking for possible sites for a beach resort along Florida’s Gulf coast.

Recalling those grim days during the Great Depression, Lora Whitney wrote in her informative and entertaining book about Longbeach and Longboat Key, “Hail This Feisty Village!”:

“The years of 1934 to 35, economically grim, became years of change and decision for us. In 1935, we took our two boys, Charles and Colvin, to Lido Beach in St. Petersburg for the winter season to investigate possibilities for a future in Florida.

“During the Depression years, beach property was both plentiful and inexpensive. The idea of a beach community, with housekeeping units directly on the beach, began to take form. Gordon Whitney had been an insurance agent in Chicago and I had been an art student with no background for such a venture — just youth, energy and the opinion that nothing was impossible. We had been living a typical suburban life in Evanston, Ill.

“We toured Florida extensively looking for the right property on the ocean or Gulf ... My parents were staying at the Vinoy Hotel, in St. Pete, living part-time on their boat exploring Florida waters. They frequently included our family on their trips. Father had become intrigued by the skeleton of the hotel on the south end of Longboat Key. He and Gordon drove to the Key for a closer look, exploring the Ringling Hotel (the Ritz-Carlton) and driving the full length (11 miles) of Longboat Key. Gordon was delighted with the miles of soft, white sand, the abundance of shells on the beaches, promise of good fishing and tropical vegetation through which the shimmering blue-green Gulf sparkled.”

The construction begins
“A friend of Gordon’s, a Chicago architect named Ralph Huzak, designed the two-bedroom cottages, a basic plan that Gordon continued to use while he added more two-bedroom cottages. Werner Kannenberg, Sarasota architect, designed our three- and four-bedroom cottages. He and his lovely, little wife, Louise, became friends and companions through the years.

“Upon his return to Evanston, Gordon sold his fine stamp collection and business, borrowed some money and returned to Sarasota to start Whitney Beach. He drove to Longboat Key every day where the carpenters were living in tents, cooking their own meals.”

Hurricane damages construction
“Meanwhile, I remained in Evanston long enough to pack our belongings and close the house. Then Charles, 5, Colvin, 3 1/2, and I took the Atlantic Coast Line train to Sarasota. We arrived soon after a severe hurricane had struck the Sarasota-Bradenton area.

“The storm destroyed some of the work already started and delayed further work on the cottages ... I put our two boys in the McClellan Park School, in Sarasota. Because they took sandwiches for luncheon and were transported by bus, I had time to shop for cottage equipment and furnishings, which were considerable because the cottages were to be housekeeping units, standing 100 feet apart on the beach.

Our first units consisted of five two-bedroom cottages and a linen room. Thus, the story of Whitney Beach began to unfold as a part of the saga of Longbeach.”

Kent Chetlain is a veteran Florida journalist and historian, a former Manatee County commissioner and a holder of a Florida real-estate license. He has chronicled real-estate activity in this area since 1957.


To view a list of building permits issued by the Longboat Key Planning and Zoning Department for the week of Sept. 25 through Oct. 1, please click here.

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