Owner of Longbeach Village house looks for new owner after large-scale renovation.
A historic home on Longboat Key is for sale, but the owners are half-hoping it doesn’t sell.
James Sebastiano and his sons, Jordan and James, bought the house together. The family is from Holmes Beach, and the kids spent a lot of time on Longboat growing up.
In Longbeach Village at 610 Broadway St., James Sebastiano, other family members and the occasional contractor have been working on the house more than two years to get it to where it is now. The home improvement project was of such a large scale, the elder Sebastiano said they made the decision to sell to recoup the money spent on renovations.
“You can’t stop, because if you do, you’re stuck; you’re not going to get your money back,” he said. “We ended up getting into it too heavy, we rebuilt the whole house. You open one wall up and then this and that and then with the new codes and everything before you know it, we're just crushed.”
According to the Manatee County Appraiser’s office, the taxable value of the property is $237,284, but that number of course reflects neither the state of the real estate market nor the thousands of dollars the Sebastianos put into enhancing it.
Appraiser’s office records indicate that in July of 2017, the house was purchased in Jordan Sebastiano’s name for $290,000. Realtor.com values the house at $725,000 and shows the current home structure to have been built in 1947. A different home had existed on the same property before that year.
Sebastiano sleeps at the house several days a week. He said the family is also attempting to sell a home on Holmes Beach, and he’ll stay in whichever house isn’t sold of the two.
The work to make the home livable was intensive. Perhaps the largest undertaking was replacing the floor, which had to happen after Sebastiano went through an almost-cartoonish travail.
“After about a couple of months of owning the house, I was walking around trying to figure things out for the floor plan, and I fell through the floor,” he said. “I fell all the way down. I scraped up my leg and everything. I'm sitting there and I'm thinking, ‘Geez, I ripped a big hole in the floor.’”
And so he tore out the whole floor down to the dirt, prompting a visit from the town asking for permits and plans.
The front porch and much of the interior – like the walls – were also redone, as was the garage in the backyard. The porch is now replete with new tiles and expensive railings. The front yard features short fencing in the style of northeastern beach areas.
The true appeal of the home doesn’t lie in its tall impact windows or blue and white color scheme, though. In an already historic district, the Sebastianos bought a home with maybe the most history.
“I found out from the neighbors. There's a neighbor there that's been there for a long time, and I thought that she had the first house on Longboat Key,” Sebastiano said. “She’s been there for 30 years and somebody from her family owned it before her. And she said, ‘No, this wasn't the first house, your house was the first house.’”
A sign on Broadway adjacent to the home recalls the story of Thomas Mann, who settled the area in 1882. “He received a homestead grant of 144 acres that extended south to the present Spanish Main Yacht Club,” The town/historical society sign reads. “The titles of all Village properties start with the name Thomas Mann.”
Forms like cookie sheets were used to make distinct concrete blocks that are in multiple Village homes. “Attorney John Walters and eight others built homes of concrete block on Broadway in the early 1900s which still stand today,” the sign says. “These unique concrete blocks were poured on the street with the forms shared by the neighbors.”