Market snapshot: Sorrento East in Nokomis


Sorrento East is one of several attractive Nokomis neighborhoods sporting the name of a small, scenic southern Italian town on the Bay of Naples. Composed of 700 residences, it occupies most of the triangle north of the intersection of U.S. 41 and the Laurel connector to I-75, all the way to Oscar Scherer Park.

The subdivision was the third community with that name developed by C.E. Pitts and his son, Lauden, after Sorrento Shores and Sorrento South.

They bought the land, planned the layout and developed the deed restrictions.

(FOR A GALLERY OF IMAGES, CLICK HERE.) According to Lauden Pitts, the name "Sorrento" came from the original owner of the land, who was fond of the town in Italy. He also loved painting and started to name streets after well-known artists.

"When my dad bought the property from him, he liked the idea so much that he continued the tradition," Pitts recalled.

Except for large thoroughfares into the neighborhoods, whenever a new street was to be named, Pitts went to an encyclopedia he had at home.

"Under the letter P, there was a list of painters, and I'd pick one. If you look at that volume today, all the names are crossed out," he said, smiling.

As a result, Sorrento East has its share of artistic "drives" and "circles," including Da Vinci, Matisse, Monet, Miro, Chirico and Botticelli.

The subdivision was built in stages, starting in 1966 — five units of single-family homes and four condominium sections — mostly free-standing villas and some two-story condo buildings.

"Anybody could buy our lots — builders, future homeowners — and put up a house, so long as it complied with our deed restrictions," Lauden said.

Most of the two- and three-bedroom homes are 1960s and '70s Florida ranches.

"When we started out, 1,200 square feet was perfectly fine, but soon people wanted bigger homes," Pitts said.

All of the streets were built according to county specs and finished with Miami curbs, which are sloped to help drainage. Sorrento East was one of the first communities in the area to bury electrical cables underground.

While there are main electrical poles in the rear of properties, no overhead lines are linked to the houses.

Many of the homes have their own swimming pools. The community also has a few lakes and canals, and the foliage is mature throughout the neighborhood, with palms and large oaks trees providing plenty of shade.

Because of Sorrento East's close proximity to Oscar Scherer Park, it also has a lot of wildlife.

"My dad lived for a while in one of the condos on Rubens Drive," Pitts said. "He could sit on his back porch and see all kinds of animals — pigs, rabbits, deer — in the park."

Sorrento East has benefitted from a strong property owners association, which was started in the early 1970s and has maintained the community well. With few common areas beside the gate to keep up, the annual fee is low. At the same time, the association is quite active, communicating with its members via a website and a semi-annual newsletter, organizing social and recreational activities and supporting a volunteer security patrol.

Glenn Brown, a Realtor with RE/MAX Alliance, grew up in Venice and watched Sorrento East being developed. In his more than 20-year career, he has sold a number of properties there and has a listing at 305 Degas Drive.

He likes the neighborhood for its relaxed atmosphere and location.

"Sorrento East is quiet, off the beaten path, yet close to Sarasota," he said.

Downtown Venice and the Sarasota Square Mall are within close driving range. You can get to the Interstate and north to Sarasota quickly. Nokomis Beach is a few minutes away across Tamiami Trail.

"There is a nice, big marina there with direct access to the Gulf — it's very convenient," Brown added.

Brown has seen the community change. Originally, Sorrento East was almost exclusively retirees. "Now you see a lot of younger families coming in. Having good schools like Laurel-Nokomis Elementary and Middle and Venice High School in the area appeals to them."

Over the past six months, 14 homes have sold, ranging from $139,000 to $244,000. One of the houses was a bank-owned property and another was a short sale.

Only six homes are on the market now, at $209,900 to $290,000, and one condo at $109,900. Seven sales are pending and two are active with contract.

"As inventory gets less and less, people are expanding their search southward," Brown said. "People who used to migrate to North Port because they weren't able to find affordable housing closer to Sarasota have realized that Sorrento East is sitting right here — with a lot less drive."

Last modified: June 7, 2013
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published without permissions. Links are encouraged.