The Preserve and Banyan Village Estates under construction on island's north end.
On the surface, construction of 19 single-family homes might not raise an eyebrow.
But on the north end of Longboat Key, two residential developments, Banyan Beach Estates and The Preserve at Longbeach, are in the process of being built, giving homebuyers a option in a neighborhood that doesn’t typically see much new development.
What makes these two single-family projects unusual are that they are located practically beside each other and are the most recent single-family residential development in the Village area since Conrad Beach was constructed in 2000 west of Gulf of Mexico Drive, said Allen Parsons, director of Longboat’s Planning, Zoning and Building Department.
The developments can also meet a pent-up demand for new home construction on the Key, said Roger Pettingell, a Longboat-based Realtor with Coldwell-Banker.
“As long as they are good products, then they will sell,” Pettingel said. “It shows confidence from the developers.”
Pettingel said buyers like new construction because building materials conform to the latest codes and usually fetch 20% more than comparable existing homes.
“Also, no one has ever walked on the carpets before,” he said.
The Preserve at Longbeach
The larger of the two residential developments is the 12-home Preserve, which is being constructed on the triangular site of the former Longboat Key Center for the Arts at the corner of Longboat Drive South and Hibiscus Way.
The 2.3-acre site was purchased last year by longtime local developer Jim Clabaugh for $1.85 million. The price included two 80-year-old cottages, which were preserved and moved in August 2017 to one day become the headquarters of the Longboat Key Historical Society.
Before the property was subdivided, demolition of the arts center took place in July 2017. Since then, the island’s arts offerings have been scattered to various locations while the town begins the process of developing its proposed Center for Arts, Culture and Education near Town Hall.
Lots in the Preserve range in size from 7,000 to 8,000 square feet.
Clabaugh and his Elevation Development Partners associate John Shkor said the Preserve houses will be 3,000 square feet and have buyer options to put in a pool or elevator. Each home will be three bedrooms with three and a half baths.
And one other selling point: “The Village is unique with its water options,” Shkor said.
To accommodate buyers who might also be boating enthusiasts, the garages in The Preserve are large enough to accommodate two vehicles and a boat. Plus, two kayak launches are nearby.
To date, no homes have been sold. Shkor said there has been interest, mostly from recent retirees from New York and New Jersey. Prices at the Preserve start at $1.3 million, Shkor said. The Preserve should take two years to complete.
Banyan Beach Estates
This seven-home, single-family residential project is being developed by Mason Martin Builders of Anna Maria, which recently assisted with the demolition of the Anna Maria City Pier.
Erik Abrahamson of Mason Martin said the Banyan Beach homes will be more than 2,000 square feet.
“We did not want to build boring ‘big-box houses,’” Abrahamson said. “We spent considerable time ensuring that the houses have significant architectural features, decks, large outdoor living space and Florida style that was compatible with the community.”
Abrahamson said it was important that Banyan Beach homes have a feeling of spaciousness.
“The outdoor living space, views from the house, and backyard pool areas are amazing,” he said. “All houses are oriented in such a way that you have privacy and unobstructed views of a native tropical foliage … and amazing daily Florida sunsets.”
Mason Martin has not set prices for the homes, nor have any been sold, Abrahamson said. The lots, on the west side of Longboat Drive South, were purchased in May 2017 for about $168,000 each. Permits to clear the once densely wooded lots to prepare for development were granted a few weeks later.
Abrahamson said he wants to get a few of them just so before launching an effort to sell them. The first interior should be completed this month, he said.
“We want to finish some before marketing them,” Abrahamson said.