Market snapshot: Cocoanut Bayou, Siesta Key


 PHOTO GALLERY: More photos from Cocoanut Bayou

The bayside neighborhood of Cocoanut Bayou in the northern part of Siesta Key is one of the island’s best-kept secrets. The enclave, bordered by Higel Avenue and Midnight Pass Road to the west and Mangrove Point Road to the south, consists of luxury, estate-sized homes and 1950s beach bungalows with pecky-cypress walls and ceilings, surrounded by lush tropical foliage.

A waterfront home in Cedar Park Circle, Siesta Key. (Staff photo / Harold Bubil)

A waterfront home in Cedar Park Circle, Siesta Key. (Staff photo / Harold Bubil)

The neighborhood actually makes a semicircle around South Cocoanut Bayou, creating a natural harbor with lovely natural surroundings. Mature trees canopy Cedar Park Circle on the northern side. Mangrove Point Place, the southern pincer, ends in a sizable tropical preserve.

Linda Dickinson, a Realtor with Michael Saunders & Co., has lived in the community for 25 years and loves it there.

“It is one of the most beautiful places in Sarasota,” she said. “Everyone has exquisite privacy.”

One of the reasons Cocoanut Bayou is such a magical place is that it was generously laid out by Elbridge S. Boyd, who had created the Sanderling Beach Club farther south on the key a decade earlier, in the 1940s. Boyd was always concerned with aesthetics and ecology in order to ensure the natural beauty of his developments.

A triangular park across from Cocoanut Bayou at the intersection of Higel and Midnight Pass bears his name. It was donated to Sarasota County in 1982 by his daughter, Mrs. Henry D. Sharpe Jr., in his memory. The walk-up park has no parking, but its shady trees and relaxing atmosphere perfectly convey the best of Boyd’s values as a developer.

“He seemed to have had no interest in how much he could extract financially, but stayed true to his values of developing a beautiful, on-the-water community,” Dickinson said.

As a result, most of the properties in Cocoanut Bayou are three-quarters of an acre or larger. Almost all of them have private boat docks with direct access to Roberts Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway. Dickinson’s current listing, for example, a 1.54-acre estate property at 4411 Midnight Pass Road, actually consists of two parcels with a 100-foot boat dock, a two-bedroom cypress guest house and a four-bedroom home.

Karen Cash Greco, another Saunders Realtor, has sold two homes in the neighborhood in the past year and a half.

“I like the quietness and the sense of nature here,” she said.

A large mangrove island in the center of the bayou is a natural habitat for all kinds of birds.

“Dolphins, manatees and mullet love it there, too,” Greco said of the bayou.

“Some people fish off their docks, and occasionally you get someone coming in from the outside to fish,” she said, “but mostly you see no boat traffic unless it’s an owner meandering into the Intracoastal Waterway.”

A waterfront home in Cedar Park Circle, Siesta Key. (Staff photo / Harold Bubil)

A waterfront home in Cedar Park Circle, Siesta Key. (Staff photo / Harold Bubil)

Cocoanut Bayou is one of only a few neighborhoods on Siesta Key that has its own private, gated beach on the Gulf of Mexico, right by Fiddler Bayou. Access to the 100-foot shoreline is just across Higel, and it has a barbecue area with picnic tables and a tiki hut.

One of Greco’s clients, while their house was under contract, called her on the Fourth of July weekend when they couldn’t find parking at the public beach and asked if the seller’s keys were available so that they could enjoy their own private “new beach.”

Along with a sense of privacy, the 54 property owners in the neighborhood appreciate the convenient location. Cocoanut Grove is within walking distance of Siesta Village, with its restaurants and shops, and it’s just a short drive to Morton’s Market on Osprey Avenue, the Publix in Paradise Plaza, Westfield Southgate Mall and Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

With the recovery of the luxury waterfront market, Cocoanut Bayou has become an up-and-coming neighborhood. A number of recent sales have been for land value to make way for new construction. A new modern home was just finished and another is being built.

At the same time, people are upgrading their existing houses. The home next to Dickinson’s is being substantially renovated.

“People are putting a lot of money into their properties,” she said.

The real estate market has been steady. The six sales in 2012 included two teardowns and ranged in price from $1.2 million to $4.95 million.

The two sales this year were for $3.95 million and $5.5 million.

Currently, three homes are for sale, from $1.8 million to $3.3 million.

“It’s just such a great location at the north end of the key — quiet, serene and private,” Greco said.


Last modified: August 17, 2013
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