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Longboat Key Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021 1 month ago

New developments, newer resales help drive condo market up on Longboat

Sage and St. Regis sales progress past milestones.
by: Eric Garwood Managing Editor

With more than half of the units spoken for in the Sage Longboat Key condominium development and still more in the upcoming Residences at St. Regis Longboat Key, sales and prices of condos on Longboat Key are surpassing some of the region's record gains made in 2020.

Demolition was approved last week at the site of the former Sea 'n' Sun Resort at 4651 Gulf of Mexico Drive, making way for a spring groundbreaking on Sage. The 16-unit luxury condominium is expected to be ready for occupancy in the fourth quarter of 2022.

At least nine of the four-bedroom units are under contract, including all four penthouses that sold for between $5.8 million and $6.3 million each. Lower-floor unit prices range from mid-$4 million to about $5.5 million. Sales are being handled by Premier Sotheby's International. 

Down the beach at the St. Regis, which expects to break ground this summer, broker Michael Saunders and Company announced late last summer it had passed the halfway point in reservations for its 69 units ranging in price from $2 million to $20 million. As of last week, about 35% were under contract, said chief marketing officer Randall Graham.  

And existing condos are selling, too, continuing a 2020 trend that drove Longboat Key's median condominium sales prices -- the point at which half sell for more and half sell for less -- up 7% to $545,000, according to data from the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee.  Median single-family home prices on Longboat rose as well, but not to the same degree: up 2.7% to $1.2 million. 

Already in 2021, a penthouse in the Aria community (2251 Gulf of Mexico Drive) sold for $5.7 million and a beachfront townhouse in Bonaire (5005 GMD) sold for $7.13 million. For comparison, the highest-priced residential real estate to ever close in Manatee and Sarasota counties was a Regents Court home behind the gates of the Longboat Key Club for $16.9 million in 2020. A mainland Sarasota home took the second-place spot on that list earlier this year at $13.25 million.

One of the common factors driving the surge in Longboat's condo volume and prices: age. Sage and St. Regis are new construction with the latest features and technology. Bonaire and Aria are two of the newest developments on Longboat. Of the 27 gulf-front condominiums and condo complexes in the Sarasota County portion of the Key, two-thirds of them (18) were developed 30 years ago or more. Aria opened in 2016, along with Infinity. Bonaire began selling in 2017. 

Aging condo units were one of the main concerns of town officials last year when taxable property values on the island dropped for the first time since 2013. Traffic and mainland competition were also cited, though a consultant hired by the town assured commissioners the slip of less than a percentage point was just a blip.

Sage units are now selling.

"The significant sale price indicates that the demand for luxury real estate — particularly waterfront residences — continues to be strong in Sarasota and Manatee counties,” said Gigi Silverberg of Premier Sotheby's International Realty, who listed the Aria penthouse. Reid Murphy handled the Bonaire sale. 

Dan Kaplan, Managing Partner of PMG, which is co-developing Sage with Floridays Development, said Sarasota and its waterfront communities are ideal for high-end developments. PMG also helped develop The Concession in Lakewood Ranch. 

"Kevin Maloney, our senior principal, spent a good portion of time down in the area and just really loved the area,'' Kaplan said. "So he felt as though there was a market for high-end condominiums there, so it's an area that he feels special about. That was really it. And then obviously, there was an opportunity.''

The developers purchased the 3.4-acre Sun 'n' Sea Cottages and Apartments in September for $13.25 million. The family-owned resort, which dates to 1948, had been closed in preceding months and was one of the town's 46 grandfathered vacation rentals not regulated by current rules requiring no less than 30-day stays. The wooded property is now ringed with fencing in preparation for demolition. 

The 3.4 acres of the former Sun 'n' Sea Cottages and Apartments are now fenced off in preparation for demolition.

Kaplan said his project's customers are largely from the North, split evenly between the Midwest and the East. The St. Regis clientele hail from similar locations, as well as London, Graham said.

"Just personally, I actually just moved from New York to Miami full time,'' Kaplan said. "So I can tell you the tenor of the cities up North is a negative vibe. In Florida,  right now, it's just a very positive place.''

Another common factor: amenities. The St. Regis residences will share 800 feet of beachfront with a hotel wing and offer all the features of a five-star resort. "This will be the most idyllic place to live and relax in an island enclave located close to amazing arts venues, shopping and dining,” Michael Saunders said last year. 

At Sage, each unit will span the width of the five-story building, offering bay views to the east and gulf views to the west. Elevators will deliver residents into their homes. 

"So it feels very much like a single-family home, other than the fact that it's not,'' Kaplan said. "It's really meant to be focused on people who are looking for a single-family home experience, but don't necessarily want the trials and tribulations of the upkeep. And they want to be able to come and go as they please, but the condo association takes care of it. It will not feel like an apartment building at all."


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