The condominium is one of three small communities that the Florida Communities of Excellence named as a finalist in its ‘The Comeback Kid’ category.
If “Extreme Home Makeover” had a condominium edition, Windward Bay could be a candidate.
But for now, the community will have to settle for this honor: It’s one of three finalists in the category of “The Comeback Kid” for small communities by the Florida Communities of Excellence, a recognition program for community associations throughout the state.
This award is given annually to communities that were previously viewed as undesirable with poor appeal, poor management and poor financial decisions but have had a major turnaround with improvements and a commitment to furthering the positive change.
“Five years ago, this place was not desirable to live in,” Manager Bob Kresnik said. “Today, we only have four units for sale out of 125, when the usual is 13 to 20. That’s an accomplishment.”
When Lighthouse Property Management took over Windward Bay two years ago, the company decided to improve the community.
Since 2013, the road has been repaved, the south pool was resurfaced, two of the seven buildings were repainted, five buildings’ waste lines were relined, 92 drains were put into the sea wall and different landscaping was put in.
“Four years ago, the property looked like an overgrown jungle,” Kresnik said. “We’ve revamped that and made it with lots of color and more appealing.”
Beginning May 1, the remaining five buildings will be repainted, the north pool will be resurfaced, two buildings will have their elevators modernized, the piers for the two marinas will be replaced and aged windows will be replaced. Updates to remaining villas are in the process of obtaining owner approval.
“Our board and committees worked diligently the last two years to address all the issues of safety and infrastructure and make improvements,” resident Beverly Shapiro said. “They also invested in our curb appeal so as to maximize our assets that had been too long hidden from Longboat Key resident and visitors.”
The Florida Communities of Excellence award gala will take place May 1, in Orlando.
“Being named a finalist is a real honor,” Kresnik said. “I don’t think any association on Longboat Key has been able to claim that before. It’s an honor for Longboat Key as a whole too. That’s what’s fun.”
The property, on 27 acres, has seven multistory buildings with two-bedroom, two-bath units and 25 villas with one to three bedrooms. The land includes two pools, two marinas, shuffleboards and tennis courts and beach access across Gulf of Mexico Drive.
“People are now really interested in staying here, and that wasn’t the case before,” said Realtor Bobbie Banan, of Michael Saunders & Co. “They’ve done a beautiful job.”