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Longboat Key Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013 4 years ago

ULI report highlights Key challenges

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

“Focus on the future, instead of the past.”

That’s one of the key recommendations the Urban Land Institute made to the Longboat Key Town Commission in its Oct. 25 presentation.

Still, in order to plan for the future, the town has to understand the past. The report details issues such as aging housing stock, demographic changes and traffic congestion that the Key will continue to face as it plans for the future.

70 — The median age of Longboat Key residents
52.5 — The median age of Sarasota County residents
Less than 8% — The proportion of residents who will be ages 25 to 54 in 2017, according to projections — compared to more than 16% in 2000.

The report concluded that Longboat Key’s roadway operates at capacity during season, with two off-Key pinch points: St. Armands Circle to the south and the mini-roundabout at Bridge Street on Bradenton Beach.

18,000 vehicles — The number of vehicles that travel on Gulf of Mexico Drive daily during season.

14,000 vehicles — The number of vehicles that a two-lane highway like Gulf of Mexico Drive is designed for, according to panelists.

Up to 20 minutes — The length of traffic backups when bridges on each end open.

3.5 minutes — The average length of bridge openings.

Home prices

A analysis showed that prices are currently 60% to 70% of pre-2006 highs. According to local real-estate brokers, Longboat Key’s best-selling:
single-family homes are:
$3 million and up for homes with Gulf views
$500,000 or less for north-end homes

Condo starting prices are:
$500,000 Gulf-front units
$200,000 Bayside units

Present and future buyers
Past buyers typically purchased vacation or retirement homes, but according to Realtors, more of today’s buyers are younger people who can work from anywhere thanks to technology. Realtors also reported to panelists that families with young children are relocating to the Key from Anna Maria Island and the mainland. Buyers are seeking new construction that’s in short supply with features such as:
• Ceiling heights of 9 or 10 feet or more;
• Open floor plans
• Larger units/more bedrooms
• Double master bedrooms
• New kitchens with modern appliances
• More closets and additional storage space

The report states that the Key is a market in transition with nearly half of housing stock changing hands in the past 13 years.

Year householder moved into unit % of housing
Moved in 2000 or later - 47.1%
Moved in 1990 to 1999 - 35.5%
Moved in 1980 to 1989 - 12.7%
Moved in 1970 to 1979 - 4.2%
Moved in 1969 or earlier - 0.3%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2007-2011 American Community Survey

Population: Longboat vs. Sarasota
Slight population decreases are projected for Longboat Key, while Sarasota County is expected to gain residents.

Click here to view a PDF of population comparisons.

1. North end entrance to the Key: Construct a roundabout and pedestrian beach access improvements and install land improvements at the intersection.

2. Whitney Beach Plaza, 6800 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive: Endorse mixed-use commercial/hotel development while considering interim uses such as art and a commercial kitchen.

3. Longboat Key Center for the Arts, a Division of Ringling College of Art & Design, 6860 Longboat Drive S. The current location within a residential neighborhood makes it difficult to modify the facility or expand it. Consider the possibility of relocating the Arts Center to a site with more visibility.

4. Bayfront Park: 4052 Gulf of Mexico Drive: Install landscape improvements but don’t build a community center on the property.

5. 500 block of Bay Isles Parkway: Construct a town center/Main Street in the Publix plaza with space for classes, fitness and events. Work with Sarasota County to incorporate medical and library services. Consider an 8,000-square-foot building on a site that’s large enough for expansion.

6. Longboat Library, 555 Bay Isles Road. A larger facility that’s between 6,000 and 8,000 square feet is warranted.

7. Colony Beach & Tennis Resort, 1620 Gulf of Mexico Drive: Institutionalize the constructed density of tourist residential.

Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected]


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