Market snapshot: Lemon Bay Estates, South Venice


 PHOTO GALLERY: Lemon Bay Estates in South Venice

Some neighborhoods are so well hidden from the daily bustle that almost no one other than their residents knows they exist.

One such out-of-the-way gem is Lemon Bay Estates, a small enclave of luxury waterfront mansions on 35 acres along the Intracoastal Waterway, south of Venice and across from Manasota Key.

The location is both secluded and stunningly beautiful. With two large nature preserves on its northern and southern boundaries, the area is surrounded by lush Florida flora and teeming with birds and wildlife. Panoramic waterfront views of Lemon Bay and the spectacular Gulf sunsets over North Manasota Key add to a sense of living in a remote corner of a tropical paradise.

lemon2You have to wend your way through several blocks of an older neighborhood where Manasota Beach Road takes a 90-degree turn to the south before you get to the large, rust-colored entrance gates topped with metal filigree. Behind them, an attractively landscaped boulevard, lined by mature palms and shrubbery, leads to the estate homes inside.

Each grand home has a similar gate with a tile plaque indicating the street number, and, in some cases, the home's name.

"Tranquility, oasis, privacy and security — those are the keywords I use to describe it," said Laura Pearson, a sales associate with Premier Sotheby's International Realty.

"It's a unique place. It embraces you in a visual feast."

Pearson has three listings in the neighborhood, two resales and a new home under construction.

The nine existing houses, each sitting on a full acre, range from 4,000 to more than 7,000 square feet of living space. The four facing the waterway have long setbacks on elevated ground, high enough to comply with flood regulations. Sarasota County is working to ensure that the conservation easement area, which includes mangroves along the shore, is being appropriately kept.

When Lemon Bay Estates was started by a French developer just before the housing boom and bust, it was platted for 12 homes, but one resident bought a double lot to build a tennis court. Two empty properties are still available.

lemon3The overall atmosphere has a distinctly European flavor. All homes have red tile, Mediterranean-style roofs, patios and balustrades and stucco exteriors.

Inside, each home, though different in style, looks like a designer's showplace, from modern takes on baroque and rococo palaces to clean, contemporary lines.

Pearson's listing on 5850 Jamila Drive rivals John Ringling's Cà d'Zan in its interior opulence. It has marble floors throughout, recessed lighting in the decorative ceilings, tables with wooden inlays in the drawing room, leather-covered chairs surrounding a solid oak dining room table, and ornate brass railings along the upstairs corridor overlooking the spacious living room area.

Outside, an infinity pool with two fountains overlooks a long backyard dotted with palm trees.

In contrast, the other home Pearson has listed, Chateau "Los Suenos," at 5820 Jamila Drive, has less elaborate décor. But the living room has an enormous, built-in aquarium, and a dramatically curved, wrought-iron-and marble staircase leads to the second floor.

Other amenities include a fully wired home theater, four guest suites, each with walk-in closets, and an impressive master suite with a large sitting area and a private balcony. Several large French doors along the rear open to the pool area outside.

The neighborhood's year-round residents, bankers and doctors, appreciate the seclusion and natural beauty.

"They're local professionals who started in ranch houses and take pride in their accomplishments, which allow them to live in these beautiful waterfront properties," Pearson said.

While Lemon Bay Estates is well tucked away, it not far off the beaten track. Manasota Beach and its new public beach pavilion is only 10 minutes away, and shops and restaurants on Tamiami Trail at Jacaranda Boulevard, are within an easy drive.

The neighborhood has two helipads for commutes to the Venice and Sarasota-Bradenton airports. No docks are allowed because of the conservation easement.

Prices for the two resale properties on the Intracoastal Waterway are $1.6 million and $2.5 million. Pearson has the 3,794-square-foot, four-bedroom home currently under construction and a waterfront property listed at $1.6 million. Homeowners' association fees are $1,582 a year.

"In a world where there is so much noise and busyness, the tranquility at Lemon Bay Estates is very soothing," Pearson said. "Once you get there, you don't want to leave."


Last modified: April 12, 2014
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