Market snapshot: Amberlea, Sarasota



Since ancient times, amber, a fossilized tree resin, has been prized for its natural beauty and made into attractive jewelry and other decorative objects.

Taking its name from the yellow-gold substance, Amberlea, a charming, gated community of 94 homes located on at McIntosh and Proctor roads in Sarasota, certainly lives up to its promise.

Beautifully landscaped, the neighborhood is a small gem. Three palm trees adorn the center median of the road leading to the entrance gate off Proctor Road.


Brightly colored flower beds on either side, below the two stone walls with the name of the subdivision, welcome visitors with a taste of what’s inside. A variety of large palms, citrus trees and lush shrubbery throughout, as well as well-cared-for properties, make for an appealing atmosphere.

amber2In addition, ample foliage behind the stucco walls that run along the bordering roads hides the neighborhood from outside view, giving it a sense of privacy and peace.

There are five lakes and ponds. One of them has a sparkling fountain in the middle. Another is covered with water lilies, currently in bloom. All of them attract a variety of wildlife, including ducks, coots, egrets and other wading birds, not to mention turtles and fish.

Amberlea was conceived by a small developer who put up only three houses before selling it to Arthur Rutenberg franchisee M. Pete McNabb. The custom home builder developed the community in two phases. The first section of 76 residences was finished in the late 1980s. Amberlea II, consisting of 18 homes, followed a decade later.

All of the houses, ranging in size from 2,350 to 3,500 square feet, have high ceilings, and spacious kitchens, dens and master-bedroom suites. Many have paver driveways and corbeled tile roofs. All of them have their own swimming pools.

“There are a lot of four-bedroom, three-bathroom homes, which is unusual for a Sarasota neighborhood,” says Carmen Baskin, a Realtor with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty.

She and her partner, Mary Warren, have the only listing in Amberlea at this time, a four-bedroom home priced at $375,000. Situated on a large corner lot, it has a stand of slender palms growing through an opening in the roof of the exterior entry, and an attractive rear view of the pond with the fountain.

Amberlea was not gated to begin with. But in 2006, discussions within the community and a survey made it clear that homeowners wanted a gate. The following year, after a vote was taken and 75 percent opted for the change, a special assessment of $1,800 per home made it possible to install walls and gates without incurring any debt.

There has been only one hike in dues since the founding of the neighborhood.

Residents continue to be involved in making sure their community is attractive and suits their needs. Homeowner fees of $900 a year cover maintenance of the private roads and gate. While a professional management company service maintains the lakes monthly for water quality, each homeowner whose property abuts a pond or lagoon is responsible for upkeep of the banks.

According to Baskin, 70 percent of the residents live in Amberlea year-round. It has a mix of retirees, snowbirds, working professionals and families, who love the fact that their children can play in a safe environment of minimal traffic. They also appreciate close proximity of district’s schools — Ashton Elementary and Sarasota Middle Schools just around the corner, and Riverview High School.

With the average age of residents between 50 to 59 and a median annual household income of $75,000 to $100,000, Amberlea is an activity-oriented community. It’s not unusual to see people walking or jogging around the neighborhood. They also take advantage of nearby parks at Twin Lakes, Red Bug Slough and Urfer Family Park.

Shopping and restaurant opportunities abound along Bee Ridge and Clark roads, the Beneva Village Shops and stores at Cattlemen Road near Interstate 75. Both Westfield Southgate and Sarasota Square malls, and Siesta Key’s world-renowned beach, are within easy driving distance.

With such a plethora of benefits, it is no wonder that people who move into Amberlea stay awhile. Last year there were no real estate transactions. Currently, two sales are pending, with just three other listings.

“I really love the location,” says Baskin. “If someone wants a gated community, close to schools and other amenities, Amberlea is it.”


Last modified: July 11, 2014
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