Bridging the History between the Mainland and Casey Key

In the United States, only 83 swing bridges remain in existence, 9 of which are in the state of Florida. One such bridge is the one-lane swing bridge located on Blackburn Point Road.  Not only is this bridge one of four historic bridges left in Sarasota County, it is the only swing bridge in Sarasota County that connects the mainland with a barrier island.  However, this bridge is more than just a means of transporting you from the hustle and bustle of mainland life to the serenity of island life on beautiful, 8-mile Casey Key; it is a key player in the 90+ year history of Sarasota County. 

Photo courtesy of Center for Architecture Sarasota and State of Florida Archives

The bridge’s history traces back more than 130 years, to 1881 when Iowa homesteaders, John and Belinda Blackburn, settled along the bay.  Their son, Benjamin later settled 80 acres of land, which today is known as Blackburn Point.  Early homesteaders used to take boats out to Casey Key for hunting and collecting wood.

By 1920, the Florida land boom and the popularity of the automobile were in full “swing” (forgive the pun), and better transportation infrastructure was a growing need.  During that time, the area was governed by the county seat in Bradenton — modern-day Sarasota County was once included in the southern portion of Manatee County.  Residents of Sarasota and Venice felt that their demands for better infrastructure were not being taken seriously and thus, in 1921, residents took matters into their own hands and formed Sarasota County, citing improved transportation as one of their primary reasons.  To give you an idea of how important an issue transportation was at the time, the bond for new roads and bridges passed a year before that of the construction of the new county courthouse.

The contract for building the bridge was awarded to Champion Bridge Company of Wilimington, OH (the company still operates today) and the swing bridge was built in 1925.  A little more than 9 decades later, the bridge, while having undergone many repairs, still retains its original physical integrity and character and is still operated on demand by a bridge tender 24 hours a day/7 days a week.  

In 2001, the bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places

If you have been considering a move to our beautiful and historic area, contact me today!

“Up On The Roof” at the Newly Opened Westin Sarasota

Photo Credit: Westin Sarasota guest

Photo Credit: Westin Sarasota guest

According to one Associate Editor for Sarasota Magazine, the views from atop The Westin Sarasota will leave you awe-struck and with a vocabulary full of “Ooohs, Aaahhhs, and WOWS!” Perhaps it was The Drifters who said it best in their 1962 hit song, “Up On the Roof ” – “Right smack dab in the middle of town, I’ve found a paradise that’s trouble proof (up on the roof).”

The newly opened, pet-friendly Westin Sarasota Hotel, sitting adjacent to the picturesque Sarasota bayfront and attached to the VUE, features 18 floors, 255 luxurious rooms and suites, a salon/spa, a fitness studio with state-of-the-art equipment, 26,000 square feet of meeting space, the new Evoq restaurant that is open daily to the public for casual elegant dining, and the literal crown of this jewel that is also open to the public, The Roof Bar and Eats with comfortable couch seating, poolside dining, and spectacular views of Sarasota. 

If you are looking for a piece of Sarasota paradise for your out of town guests to stay or just need to unwind for an evening and take in a more panoramic view of Sarasota, visit The Westin Sarasota today, located at 1175 N. Gulfstream Ave.

If you have been considering a move to our beautiful area, contact me today!

US Pending Home Sales are the Highest in Almost a Year

National Association of Realtors logo (PRNewsFoto/National Association of Realtors)

National Association of Realtors logo (PRNewsFoto/National Association of Realtors)

The National Association of Realtors reported on Wednesday that the pending home sales index climbed 5.5% in February to 112.3%, which is the highest point in almost a year and the second highest point since 2006.

Lawrence Yun, the Association’s chief economist, suggested that a combination of a rising stock market, an uptick in consumer confidence and warmer weather have all played a part in encouraging prospective home buyers.  It was also suggested that rising median home prices may be urging people to make offers now rather than wait and risk price increases.

Additionally, the Association reported last week that even with the sales of existing homes falling in February after a strong January surge, sales are still solidly ahead from a year ago.  Similarly, local pending sales experienced a slight decrease in February, but 2017 started out strong with a 9% increase in Sarasota County and a 6.4% increase for Manatee County and overall, sales are still up from where they were at this time last year.  Even despite a sharp rise in mortgage rates since last November, the U.S. housing market as a whole is looking very strong.

For the full story from Herald Tribune, click here.

If you have been considering buying or selling a home, contact me today!

Sarasota – The Cultural Capital of Florida

Photo by Cliff Roles – Cast of Asolo Repertory’s production of West Side Story 

When we say that Sarasota is full of “arts and culture,” what exactly does that mean?  Well, aside from being internationally recognized for our beaches, Sarasota is also gaining “arts and culture” notoriety not only in the state of Florida, but nationally and even internationally for being one of the “few communities in the nation that have the depth and quality of arts and cultural offerings” that can be found in Sarasota.  Those offerings include live theater, concerts, ballet, opera, galleries, museums, exquisite architecture, art walks, festivals, and of course, our beloved circus. 

John Ringling

John Ringling

In fact, the foundation of our community lives within the arts and circus magnate, John Ringling of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.  When he decided to bring the circus’ winter headquarters to Sarasota, he also brought with him a keen vision for real estate development and an incredible passion for arts and culture.  Thus, “with the seed of arts planted in prominent style, a community was created where artists were valued and creativity was cherished. Today, that legacy lives on.”

Numerous publications have noticed Sarasota beyond our gorgeous beaches as well.  Here is a list of recent accolades:

  • American Style Magazine named Sarasota as the No. 1 “Small City for Art in the United States”
  • NerdWallet listed Sarasota in the “Best Small Cities for Art Lovers”
  • Sarasota’s iconic Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall has been recognized as the No. 1 “Performing Arts Hall in North America” in the 2,000-seat category by Venues Today five times
  • Movoto named Sarasota among “The Best Cities in Florida for the Arts”
  • said Sarasota is known for “Most Big Cultural Institutions per Square Inch”
  • Coastal Living Magazine named the Sarasota community of Towles Court among the “Top 10 Artists Colonies in North America”
  • The annual Sarasota Film Festival was recently named one of the “Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” by Movie Maker Magazine

From new museums on the horizon like the Sarasota Museum of Art (SMOA) to the expansion of the Ringling College of Art and Design that includes new sound stages scheduled to open soon, our community is committed to keeping Sarasota as a “hub for creativity and culture.”  Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 is one of the most exciting initiatives dedicated to maintaining our status as “Florida’s premier destination for arts and culture” whereby a long-term master plan has been set for re-investing in 42 acres of land along the Bayfront near the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The goal of this project is to create a “permanent expression of Sarasota’s cultural prowess while inhabiting one of the city’s most beautiful and accessible waterfront settings.

Click here to read more on this story from Michael Saunders & Company

If you have been considering a move to our beautiful area, contact me today!

2014 Sales – Another Year for the Record Books




The Realtor® Association of Sarasota and Manatee counties just released the sales numbers for all of 2014 and what an incredible year of real estate for both counties!!

Manatee county missed beating the 2013 annual record for sales by only 28 transactions and Sarasota county finished out the year with a total of 11,550 transactions, breaking the all-time record of 11,482 sales, which was set back in 2004.

“Sarasota and Manatee counties have never seen this level of combined sales activity, which actually surpassed the 2004-2005 boom years of a decade ago,” stated Association president, Stafford Starcher.  He went on to add that the steady rise of home prices doesn’t seem to be hampering sales and therefore, believes we can expect to see home sales continue to soar in 2015.

Click here to read the full report.

If you are interested in buying or selling property, please contact me for further details.

Just Listed: A “Paradise Found” at 1716 Casey Key Rd, Nokomis FL

"Paradise Found" on Casey Key

It is my pleasure to share with you my newest listing on Casey Key.  “Paradise Found,” located at 1716 Casey Key Road, is a delightful Gulf-to-Bay property that greets you with charm as soon as you enter through the gates and once inside, a dazzling view of Blackburn Bay welcomes you home.   This home is light, bright, and spacious while radiating a sincere warmth and sense of contentment.  The privacy of this residence encompasses approximately 140 feet of gulf frontage, approximately 130 feet of bay frontage, and a private setting on one of the best stretches of beach on Casey Key.  Enjoy swimming in the salt-system pool; boating and fishing; beachcombing and watching amazing sunsets on your tropical island paradise.

By far, the best value for a Gulf-to-Bay property on Casey Key, this home offers the unique opportunity to readily enjoy “as-is” or to build new.  With only 3 contiguous homes in a span of over 500 feet of gulf-to-bay frontage and no homes built on the gulf side in this long stretch of the key, you will have forever views from a newly built home; but either way you will join the many others who have called this 8-mile barrier island a “Paradise Found.”  This property is listed at $3,490,000.

For Strong Business Investment, Sarasota is putting Florida on the Map

HuB, the largest private co-work/incubator spaces in Florida

The HuB is the largest private provider of co-work/incubator spaces in Florida.

Recently, the “who’s who” of Florida business leaders visited Sarasota and learned that our beautiful community is more than just a pretty little beach town or just a place to go for fine dining and a night at the theatre. Sarasota County has officially blossomed as a vibrant business environment with a local economy that is reaching well beyond tourism and construction dollars and setting the pace for strong long-term growth. 

During a 2-day meeting, 65 board members of Enterprise Florida, Florida’s leading marketer for inbound business investment opportunities, convened and learned about a number of Southwest Florida’s business developments.  What they learned about Sarasota County pleasantly surprised them and it just may surprise you too.  Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Sarasota County is home to a large number of manufacturers including PGT, Tervis, L-3 Aviation Recorders, CAE Healthcare, Hoveround and Sun Hydraulics.  Having such strong presence in the manufacturing industry allowed for $300,000 in funding to go to the Sarasota County Technical Institute so that proper equipment could be purchased for their precision machining program.   

  • Another eye-opener for the board members was Sarasota County’s emerging life-science industry.  Three local companies Voalte, RPS and Lakewood Amadex received a combined total of $48 million in funding from private-equity firms for the continuation of life-saving work in research and technology.

  • Lastly, Sarasota County is home to the HuB, the largest provider of private co-work/incubator spaces in Florida.  While it is not a new concept, it is a growing trend that works well for freelancers, programmers, and budding business owners by offering them a “workplace” and a chance to network with other business professionals, while keeping their overhead costs manageable.  The HuB, located on Fruitville Road, recently expanded their facility to approximately 15,000 square feet.

All of this progress has put Florida on the radar screen for many significant business-investment projects and is encouraging  more globally competitive companies to consider moving to our state and possibly, to our region.  This in turn, will create more jobs, strengthen our local tax base and bring more support to local services – a true picture of a recovering economy and brighter days ahead for Sarasota County.