Condo community spruces up its grounds with a project to replace the original bricks laid decades ago.
If there’s a little pride in Connie Lang’s voice as she drives a visitor around the Sanctuary’s manicured property in her general manager’s golf cart, it’s pretty evident why.
In every direction, dozens – no, make that hundreds of thousands – of new paver bricks form an earth-tone vista in the parking areas, driveways, walkways, porte cocheres and pool deck.
Pretty much everywhere.
Proud? You bet.
“I think we all are,’’ she said, listing off the unit owners, along with John Rook, president of the Sanctuary board of directors, the community’s staff, and the contractors and the crew who did the work.
There’s barely been time to sit back and appreciate the forethought that led to that craftsmanship. In five phases, more than 120 tractor-trailer loads of bricks were hand-fitted on the property’s 200,000 square feet of drivable areas and about 10,000 square feet around the gulf-front swimming pool.
Mostly in the summer.
And at times during the height of the red tide bloom and its smelly effects.
If you’re a DIY enthusiast, consider: those tractor-trailers each carried 14 pallets of bricks. That’s 1,680 pallets, and when work was really underway, trucks were arriving several times an hour for more than a few hours a day.
The $1.13 million project to replace the original 30-year-old bricks launched in May and wrapped up near the end of the year. But the planning and hardscape designing, with the help of Sarasota’s Kimley-Horn, took months as well.
Lang, who has been the general manager at the 181-unit Sanctuary for about three years, said the project was blessed with good weather — except for one brush with a tropical storm — but workers in the late summer had to endure the often-intolerable smell connected to dead fish nearby.
“The owners would look out their windows and couldn’t believe they were still working out there,’’ she said.
When all was done, Lang said, it was contractor R Webber Inc.’s largest single job and the paver supplier’s largest order.
Lang said the community has been saving for decades for such an improvement, for repaving expenses are part of a condominium association’s required reserves. It’s just that the original interlocking, key-shaped, coral-ish-colored stones lasted a long time.
Ultimately, a majority of the community felt it was time for a change.
“We heard from the owners who didn’t want to be trendy,’’ Lang said. “They wanted it to be conservative enough that you didn’t only see the pavers.’’
Three varieties ended up making the cut: one shade for the intersections, another for the roadways, laid out in a herringbone pattern, and a darker variety for the areas immediately in front of the entrances to the complex’s five towers – dark to better hide the inevitable oil that will drip from delivery trucks and waiting cars.
Along the way, drainage was improved and storm drains cleared. More projects are in the planning stages now – plumbing, elevators, perhaps some roof deck work. Maybe some landscaping updates, too.
It’s all part of keeping up appearances. Condominiums on Longboat Key often were built decades ago, and styles change.
Lang said her previous job was on north Florida’s gulf coast, where vacation rentals were king. There, matching pace with new construction was the goal.
On Longboat Key, it’s all about values and common-area looks. Recently, the Sanctuary redid lobbies and hallways. Individual unit doors were freshened up.
“Here, it’s more pride and making sure value is maintained,’’ she said, adding the catch-phrase around the grounds is a simple one.
“Best in class.”
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