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!

A Seller’s Market Remains for Sarasota and Manatee counties


While the number of overall closed residential sales, median home prices, and inventory are all up from this time last year, the Sarasota/Manatee area continues to be a seller’s market.  Sarasota county residential sales are only slightly up from September 2015 with a 3.3% increase in condominium sales and a 3% decrease in single family home sales. By contrast, Manatee county single family homes sales are up 13.8% from last year, while condominium sales have dropped 6.2%.

Inventory for the two counties is up nearly 20% from last year at this time even though the current levels have followed the expected trend of off-season decline.  According to the September 2016 data, Sarasota county has a 4.2-month supply of inventory for single family homes and a 5-month supply for condominiums while inventory levels for Manatee county are slightly lower; however, neither county is too far off from a balanced market indicator of a 6-month supply.

Pending sales are have also decreased an overall 11% from 2015 but as the Realtor® Association of Sarasota and Manatee reports, this was not unexpected since 2015 recorded a historically high number of residential sales. Additionally, Linda Formella, the 2016 RASM® President pointed out other factors that can slow down the rate of pending sales such as back-to-school activities, storm warnings, and the anticipation of election results.

Click here to read the full report from the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee.

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

Michael Saunders & Company Ranked #1 in Sarasota County in 2015

Michael.Drayton.HeadshotRealTrends recently released its 2015 statistics for real estate brokerages in Sarasota County and Michael Saunders & Company ranked at the top of the list.  Saunders had 3,378 residential transaction sides (representing either the seller or the buyer), with a volume of $1.566 billion. It represented the seller in 1,664 sales and the buyer in 1,714 sides.

We are so proud to share our company’s accomplishments and could not be more proud to work with our amazing team of professionals under the awesome leadership of Michael and Drayton Saunders.

Click here to read the full report from the Sarasota Herald Tribune.

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

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.

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.

2013 Sarasota County Real Estate Ends on a High Note

SARThe Sarasota Association of Realtors® just released the 2013 sales numbers and Sarasota County continued the trend it started early in the year and closed out 2013 with a bang!  I thought I would share some of the year’s highlights with you.

  • For all of 2013, Sarasota County recorded the second highest number of sales ever tracked in the MLS system at 11,184. That is an 8.8% increase over 2012 residential sales.
  • Single family home prices went up 15.1% over 2012 and residential condo prices went up 10.2%
  • Single family, 12-month rolling median prices increased 19.2% and residential condo 12-month median price increased 10.1% over last year’s numbers.
  • While 2013 closed out the year with a 10-month high in inventory of properties for sale at 4,417; July 2013 saw inventory dip to its lowest point in nearly a decade at 3,747.
  • The percentage of sales that were bank-owned or short sales fell from 30.8% in 2012 to 23.3% in 2013.

With such an historic year in real estate, what are we to expect in 2014?  Association President, Peter Crowley says “While no one has a crystal ball, there has been a clear trend in recent years of a mild drop off in January sales, followed by higher sales in February, March, April and May,” said Crowley. “Last year we experienced an amazing spring boom. So, if historic trends continue, 2014 could be another great year in Sarasota County real estate.”

Click here to read the full press release

Sarasota Real Estate Market Gets Boost from Luxury Sales

The Sarasota Herald Tribune reported Sarasota County home and condo sales hit a seven-year high.

Luxury home sales were the foundation to the strong market during March 2012.  In fact, 34 Sarasota County homes and condominiums that sold were valued at more than $1 million.  That’s a 48% increase from March 2011.  The sales of luxury homes continue  through the month of April 2012.  One of my listings, 612 South Casey Key Road recently sold for $5.77 million.  This sale represents the largest sale of the year on Casey Key.

Read more at “Luxury sales boost Southwest Florida real estate market

Looking for luxury property in Sarasota County?

Contact Deborah Beacham at 941.376.2688 to find your dream luxury property in Sarasota!