Market snapshot: Sawgrass, Venice



Although Sawgrass in Venice is not technically a golf community, it sure seems like one. Sandwiched between East Venice Avenue and Edmonton Road, with a gated entrance off Auburn Road, it has as its western boundary the semi-private Capri Island Golf Club, one of the oldest golf courses in Venice.


More significantly, nine of the 27 holes of the champion Waterford Golf Course, created by famed links architect Ted McAnlis, are in the northern sections of the neighborhood.

saw2As a result, many of the 580 or so homes have views of fairways, lakes and nature preserves. Mature palms and lush shrubbery throughout the community make for an attractive tropical atmosphere.

“You have all the benefits of the gorgeous views, but not the expense of a gated golf community,” said Marian Metz of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, who has two homes and two vacant lots listed for sale in Sawgrass.

Charryl Youman, her BH colleague, agreed. “A lot of people like the privacy and those endless backyards with undulating hills and lakes — that’s why they live there, not for the golf.

“Somehow, Sawgrass manages to stay off the radar, even though it’s extremely popular with people who know it and live there.”

Residents who do play golf can pay a greens fee for individual rounds at Waterford. Or, if they play frequently, they can become full members and take advantage of reciprocal arrangements with Capri Isles and nearby Calusa Lakes Golf Club.

“Some have golf carts and literally pop out the back of the neighborhood, go up Edmonton Road and right into Waterford,” Youman said.

Metz, who has lived in Sawgrass since 2005, loves it there. “It’s a wonderful neighborhood — beautiful and well-maintained.”

The community was developed by Taylor Woodrow starting in 1997 — the oldest homes date from that year. J&J Builders bought the development the following year and built it out in phases. When the real estate bubble burst in 2006, construction came to a halt, and the company let the remaining 80 lots go into foreclosure.

In 2010, Neal Communities bought them from Synovus Bank and became the exclusive builder for Sawgrass.

“There are only a handful of lots left now, including a few that are privately owned,” Metz said. Several houses are under construction.

Homes reflect the decades in which they were built. Most are contemporary Florida-Mediterranean style — stucco walls and barrel-tile roofs, with open floor plans and high ceilings. They range in size from 1,900 to 3,400 square feet.

Homeowner fees are $1,277 a year and cover the guard at the main entrance (two other access points are for residents only), maintenance of all common areas, preserves and lakes, and social membership in the community clubhouse. Fees are $88 a month higher in the two small sections of maintenance-free, stand-alone villas.

There is a swimming pool, fitness center, tennis court and large activity room. It’s a busy place, Metz said. “We have all kinds of card games, mahjong and dominos, a book club and a social committee that any resident can join.

“It is the most easygoing neighborhood I’ve lived in,” she said. “If you want to get involved, people here are friendly. If you want to be left alone, that’s OK, too.”

While the residents are predominantly retirees, a few families and working professionals live there, too. “I have friends there who are teachers and pharmacists, as well as newly retired,” Youman said.

More than 60 percent of the homeowners are year-around residents.

“There are some snowbirds, but many live here six to eight months a year,” Metz said. “The place never feels abandoned.”

She also likes the convenient location. Sawgrass is inside Venice’s city limits. A straight shot down Venice Avenue leads to downtown, the hospital and the beaches. At the same time, I-75 is easily accessible from the Laurel or Jacaranda entrances. Other nearby amenities include the Publix, coffee shop and stores at the big roundabout at the intersection of East Venice Avenue and Jacaranda Boulevard.

Seven homes are on the resale market, priced from $369,000 to $578,500; two sales are pending. A half-dozen empty lots are for sale; Metz has two, at $128,000 and $69,000. Neal gives a $52,000 credit to a buyer who already owns a lot.



Last modified: June 20, 2014
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