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East County Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010 10 years ago

TOP STORY, OCT.: Medallion buys Cascades

by: Michael Eng Executive Editor

Throughout the holiday week, will be counting down the top 12 stories of 2009 (one from each month) from our Longboat, East County and Sarasota Observers. Check back each day for a reprinting — and any relevant updates — of the biggest news items of the year.


CASCADES — Bradenton-based Medallion Home purchased the 450-home Cascades at Sarasota community following a bankruptcy court approval for about $3 million Sept. 25.

The 140-acre active-adult community, located just west of Lockwood Ridge Road between Whitfield Avenue and Saunders Road, had been in limbo since original developer Levitt and Sons filed for bankruptcy in November 2007. At that time, nearly 400 homes already had been sold, leaving those residents wondering what the future of their community would hold.

“This provides closure,” said resident Will Taylor. “We finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. A lot of people had a lot of concern, and Levitt was not popular with a lot of the owners here. There was a lot of unhappiness.”

Now, all that remains as evidence of Levitt and Sons’ presence are the marks the company’s logo left on the Cascades’ entrance signage.

Medallion Home officials said the company will move forward aggressively to sell the remaining 54 lots. In addition to offering three of Levitt’s floorplans, Medallion also will offer three or four of its own designs. Prices will begin in the low $200,000s — a number company officials expect will attract buyers.

“In normal times, we would expect (this inventory) to sell in about 18 months,” said Medallion Sales and Marketing Director Gregg Glasser. “At this price point and with this location, we are expecting an incredible season.”

Glasser said Cascades’ amenities and location were paramount in Medallion’s decision to purchase the community.

“We saw this as a great opportunity and a successful community,” he said. “There’s 450 homes, and 390 already had residents. There’s a beautiful 25,000-square-foot clubhouse, a full-time tennis pro and a state-of-the-art fitness center. This (Cascades) was done magnificently, and we were able to capitalize on it.”

The day after Medallion closed on the community, it reopened the Cascades sales center with new signage and products. Glasser estimates about 40 families visited the community during its first weekend.

“(Cascades) hadn’t seen that kind of activity in two years,” he said.

Once 90% of the homes are sold, Medallion will begin proceedings to transition development control to the residents. Taylor, president of the residents’ Transition Corporation, said he is confident the sale to Medallion will help propel Cascades forward.

“Everything we know about (Medallion) is positive,” he said.

Cascades Homeowners Association President Tim Rhodes agreed.

“We met with those folks, and they are enthused and excited,” he said. “That’s all good news for us.”
Glasser reiterated that it is Medallion’s goal to complete the Cascades and relinquish control.

“Once we have finished (selling the remaining lots), we will turn it over to the HOA,” he said. “In the interim, we will work with the HOA in any way we can to assist them.”

Medallion is the developer behind several other East County communities, including Country Meadows, University Grove and Riva Trace.

Levitt and Sons opened Cascades at Sarasota about six years ago. The Fort Lauderdale-based company filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2007 in response to the collapse of Florida’s homebuilding industry. That year, parent company Levitt Corp. posted a $169.2 million loss.

Contact Michael Eng at [email protected].

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