Market Snapshot: Riverview Landings


A lot of people tout the historic nature of their neighborhoods. "John Ringling developed this." "Owen Burns built that." "Bertha Palmer settled here."

Those are grand names in the region's development history, but they just don't quite have the star power generated by the first historic figure in the development of Riverview Landings in northwest Bradenton.

That would be Hernando de Soto.

PHOTO GALLERY: See more photos of Riverview Landings

The Schulman home in Riverview Landings is listed for sale at $3,995,000 through Kim and Michael Ogilvie of Michael Saunders & Co.. (Staff photo / Harold Bubil)

The Schulman home in Riverview Landings is listed for sale at $3,995,000 through Kim and Michael Ogilvie of Michael Saunders & Co.. (Staff photo / Harold Bubil)

In 1539, 385 years before the epic Florida Land Boom, the Spanish explorer brought an expeditionary force to Tampa Bay, possibly landing at Shaw's Point, the site of the Fort DeSoto National Monument.

Or possibly not. Historians don't know the exact landing spot, so this slightly elevated locale, where the Manatee River meets Tampa Bay, is as good a choice as any.

Native American tribes lived here when de Soto arrived. Their middens, still well-defined after decades of development, attest to that.

The Indians fiercely defended their lands as the Spaniards explored the southern portion of what is now the United States. But they could hold not out forever. Spain controlled La Florida before trading it to the British for Havana. Twenty years later, in 1783, Spain took it back before ceding it to the United States in 1821.

A century later, development reached the Palma Sola peninsula west of Bradenton in the form of flower and palm-tree farms. Gladiolus became a major crop, and farm fields still exist among the subdivisions platted in the past 30 years, as the area became known as "fashionable northwest Bradenton."

Riverview Landings is one of the most upscale of those subdivisions. Bordering De Soto National Memorial off 83rd Street Northwest, where it meets DeSoto Memorial Highway, Riverview Landings has 49 houses, some of them quite grand and all of them beautifully landscaped and well maintained.

Oaks shade much of the neighborhood.

Only two houses are for sale, one of which has an Indian midden in its front yard.

"What a great artifact to have on the property," said Pam Taylor of Michael Saunders & Co., pinch-hitting for listing agents Kim and Michael Ogilvie for a recent tour with the Herald-Tribune.

The mound, punctuated by a stand of trees, is a pile of shells, the refuse of the Indians' shellfish diet. Although it is not known to contain any human bones, it is still protected. Neighborhood kids can climb on it, but not dig into it.

The home, a 9,300-square-footer built in 1995 on 2.3 acres, is listed at a hair less than $4 million. At 2415 Landings Circle N.W., directly on the river, it has five bedrooms and six and a half baths (including the guest house) with a library, game and music rooms, a separate guest house with garage and a swimming pool and patio. North-facing windows look out on the 250 feet of private beach, Tampa Bay and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Steve and Laurie Schulman bought it when it was listed at $2.85 million in 2003. Then they remodeled, giving the interior an Asian contemporary look designed by Rick Livingston, who also did the Schulmans' Tribeca loft in Lower Manhattan.

"We have spent a lot of time in Bali, and have wood sculptures from there" on display in the house, said Laurie Schulman, who is looking to downsize now that all but one of the children are grown.

"If you don't like dark woods, you won't like this house."

Taylor described the decor as "sophisticated and low-key."

As much as a mansion can be.

Or maybe she was referring to the neighborhood, which Schulman described as "just wonderful. It is so quiet, because it is a circle. And we have a community association; there is a big advantage. Everybody has to get approval for any changes."

Schulman also likes the proximity of St. Stephen's Episcopal School, about 10 minutes east of Riverview Landings. Manatee High is the public districted high school.

"Bradenton is great because of St. Stephen's," she said of the private, K-12 school. "A lot of people even commute from Sarasota to bring their kids here."

Schulman said DeSoto Park and the Robinson Preserve to the west are lovely locales for biking and kayaking.

"We moved here because my in-laws lived in Sarasota, and we wanted to get out of New York," she said. "But the in-laws passed away and I only have one son at home. We want something smaller, but I don't feel a lot of pressure. I spend most of my day at the kitchen table and enjoy the view. I think, 'Gee, how would I feel if I had to pack up?'

"It would be hard, but this is not the kind of house you can sell in three months. You have to have it on the market and you have to be able to wait."

Perhaps in the spirit of Hernando de Soto, who brought 200 horses on his expedition, Pam Taylor grew up in Bradenton and remembers "riding horses out here when it was just gladiolus fields. We rode bareback and would wade the horses right out in the river. Nobody bothered us back then. It was a wonderful place to grow up."

"I still think it is," said Laurie Schulman. "Although I do worry because there is a lot of wildlife here."

Including the ravenous real estate bargain hunter. Recent sales have ranged from $389,000 for an interior house to $1.62 million for a 1-acre bayfront estate with a 4,500-square-foot house.

As only five properties are on the water, most home sales are in the $400,000s and $500,000s. The HOA is is $1,400 annually.

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: October 19, 2013
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