Market snapshot: Sarasota's Villa Rosa



As a small, gated, deed-restricted and maintenance-free community, Villa Rosa has a number of things that give it special appeal, including great location, amenities and affordability.

In many ways, it is what easygoing Florida living is all about.

Located just south of Bee Ridge Road past Urfer Park on Honore Avenue, it was developed from 1999 to 2000 on what was then one of Sarasota County’s few remaining cattle ranches west of Interstate 75. A small portion of the grazing lands still remains with a wind wheel on top of a metal tower visible above the tree line.

Villa Rosa has just 177 single-family residences attractively arranged around two large lakes. The main entrance, Boulevard of the Roses, off Honore, is lined with magnificent oak trees.



“They give you a sense of arrival,” said Realtor Gloria Waters, who teams with her son, Tom, with Coldwell Banker.

Another gated access is from Wilkinson Road.

The landscaping is lush, lovely and well-maintained. With water and the next-door park, birds and wildlife like Villa Rosa, too.

The community was laid out by Westfield Homes, which put up the first models close to the entrance and built a number of houses before selling 75 parcels to Merrill Brothers Homes. Robert Suida, the president of Westfield, and David Merrill both lived in the neighborhood while it was being finished.

The two- and three-bedroom homes range from 1,500 to 2,500 square feet. There is a clubhouse with a workout room and a swimming pool and spa. Pets are welcome — owners can have up to three — and the atmosphere is pleasant and relaxed.

“It seems to be a very comfortable place with a feeling of security and privacy,” Waters said.

Initially, residents were a mix of year-round retirees and snowbirds, but in recent years a number of working families have moved into the neighborhood. Parents appreciate having a park with a children’s playground, picnic area and nature trails right next door, as well as the opportunity to send their kids to Ashton Elementary, Sarasota Middle and Sarasota High School.

“Children were late in coming, but we now have a nice group,” said Paul Byrnes, another Coldwell Banker Realtor, who is one of the original owners. He purchased the third lot in the neighborhood, right across from the clubhouse, and has served on the board of the homeowners association, including as president for three years.

He started a community newsletter, appointed a transition committee when the developers were done and worked with the county when Urfer Park was developed.

“I went to meetings and had the sheriff come and talk to our residents about security,” he said. “It has worked out well. We’ve never had any problems.”

Byrnes loves the convenience of Villa Rosa being close to all kinds of amenities. Doctors Hospital, where he volunteers, is a two-minute drive. There are banks, grocery stores, shops and restaurants along Bee Ridge Road, and a Home Depot and Walmart on Cattleman Road. The on-ramp to I-75 is right there, as well.

“It’s a great neighborhood,” Byrnes said.

Dues cover lawn and landscape care; maintenance of the gates, lakes, private roads and walkways, community clubhouse, pool and spa; and basic cable TV. The initial fees were $525 per quarter and have increased by $40 per quarter over the last decade.

Part of the reason for the increase is that the water for the sprinkler systems for the residential and common areas comes from the lakes. “We had to replace the pumps early on, and the system had to be improved because of the extra homes being built, but it functions fine now,” Byrnes said.

“As a small community, Villa Rosa doesn’t get into CDD or golf-course fees,” Waters said.

Homes tend to sell quickly. The average days to contract time is 42.

Over the past 12 months, nine homes have sold. Two sales are pending and four homes are on the market, from $280,000 to $359,000.

“It’s a beautiful community that’s affordable,” Waters said.


Last modified: September 20, 2013
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