Bubil: Mansions are in the news once again


If you own a mansion and are trying to sell it, take heart. Buyers are starting to find them.

The rest of you, whether your house is worth $200,000 or $2 million, are probably saying to yourselves right now, or typing it into the Comments section of realestate.heraldtribune.com, "Bubil, come back to the real world. We don't live in mansions."

Point taken. But there is a reason so many people tune into the red-carpet pose-off at the Oscars: to look at the beautiful people! Mansions are kind of like Reese Witherspoon. You could wrap the lady down the street in that blue gown and no way she looks that good. Same thing with our grand waterfront homes — they inspire a second look.

With three sales of $6 million or more in Sarasota since the first of the year, the mansion market appears to be cooking. It seems that at least some of the flush-with-cash investment bankers and CEOs of the world are finding Sarasota to be a more attractive destination than, say, our competitor to the south, Naples, and we are happy to have them.

But in my reporting of their recent purchases, I made a technical mistake in saying that the $10 million sale of "Snook Inn" on Bay Island was the No. 5 all-time Sarasota home sale by price. And, in fact, according to the Sarasota County Property Appraiser's website, it is. But as the Herald-Tribune reported in 2011, the No. 1 sale is not the $13.2 million transfer of a mansion at 1219 Westway Drive in 2003, but the sale of 4449 Bay Shore Road in 2008. The buyer handed over $18.84 million for that property, but the transfer was handled in such a way that it shows up in the county property records as a $100 transfer into an an LLC.

I know: You might not care. But we in the media are fascinated by who or what is No. 1. So there you have the No. 1 home sale.

Here are Sarasota's top 10 mansion sales:

1. 4449 Bay Shore Road, $18.84 million, 2008.

2. 1219 Westway Drive, $13.2 million, 2003.

3. 1067 Westway Drive, $13 million, 2005

4. 825 Longboat Club Road, $12.5 million, 2011

5. 1127 Westway Drive, $11 million, 2003.

6. 3410 Flamingo Ave., $10 million, 2013.

7. 1804 Casey Key Road, $9 million, 2006.

8. 1255 Westway Drive, $8.9 million, 2004.

9. 1333 Westway Drive, $8.4 million, 2010.

10. 4067 Shell Road, $8 million, 2008.

Buyers of these homes tend to be more interested in finding the right house rather than the right place, says luxury real estate appraiser Don Saba.

"When a person can afford $10 million, they are not usually restricted to one geographical area," he said. "While they may enjoy the amenities of the Sarasota area, they are not necessarily constrained to the area because of employment purposes."


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Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: March 10, 2013
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