Market snapshot: Grand Bay, Longboat Key


For 40 years, starting in 1959, the Arvida Corp. developed some of the most luxurious residential communities in Sarasota. From Bird Key, which it expanded from a small island into a 200-acre, 511-lot community, to Country Club Shores and the Longboat Key Club on the southern end of Longboat Key, it significantly reshaped Sarasota’s landscape.



For its final project, Arvida developed 23.9 waterfront acres on Bishop’s Point. Grand Bay is one of the 22 neighborhoods that make up the community of Bay Isles, within the confines of the bayside Longboat Key Club-Harbourside. Built between 1994 and 1999, the six high-end condo towers have their own guard gate and are separated from the rest of Bay Isles by a lush greenbelt and lagoon.

long2It may have been Arvida’s final hurrah — in the middle of the project, the company was acquired by St. Joe Corp. — but its legacy lives on. Today, Grand Bay continues to offer sumptuous island resort living in beautiful surroundings.

The immediate area is attractively landscaped with royal palms and bougainvillea. Each of the six buildings was designed to provide spectacular vistas of Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico across the key.

“They saved the best for last. It’s an ideal location with phenomenal views,” says Judy Kepecz-Hays, an agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate.

An onsite sales person for Arvida during the planning and construction of Grand Bay, Kepecz-Hays has been selling and re-selling units there ever since, including a condo that belonged to the parents of Monica Seles, the former tennis champion.

Currently, Kepecz-Hays’ listings include a second-floor unit for $1.35 million and a penthouse for $2.6 million. “It has panoramic views, sunrise to sunset, and three deeded parking spaces,” she says.

Grand Bay has 272 condo units. Each of the 10 floors of the four taller towers has six units from 2,250 to 2,925 square feet, and two 4,413-square-foot penthouses. Private elevators serve each residence. Nine-foot ceilings, large picture windows and expansive terraces make for spacious living quarters.

While many of the condos command million-dollar price tags, the two smaller towers have a number of 1,200- to 1,300-square-foot units available from $500,000 to $600,000.

“They’re more of a getaway for snowbirds,” says Kepecz-Hays. “The four larger buildings tend to have second- and third-residence owners who spent as many as seven to nine months out of the year here.”

Most of the owners are from the Midwest, but a good number of Europeans, as well as a Canadian contingent, own apartments.

Grand Bay is a pet-friendly place, which is unusual for an upscale condo developments on Longboat Key. Owners can have as many as two small dogs or cats.

Condo maintenance fees range from $3,227 to $3,838 a quarter, depending on the size of the residence. The annual Bay Isles Master Association fee ranges from $888 to $3,141.11 to pay for the guard gate and maintain the common grounds leading up to it. In return, residents enjoy the safety of a 24/7 manned gate, with onsite management and security staff.

The amenities are impressive, too. The upstairs of the clubhouse has a state-of-the-arts fitness center with changing rooms and a sauna. The large clubhouse, which has a catering kitchen on the lower level, can be subdivided into three separate rooms for events and activities. Outside, residents can enjoy two large, heated swimming pools and two Har-Tru tennis courts.

Owners at Grand Bay automatically become members of the Bay Isles Beach Club — three acres of private beach on the Gulf side of the key belong to all Longboat Key Club residents. Accessible to pedestrians via a tunnel under Gulf of Mexico Drive, it has cabanas, barbecue pits, picnic tables and volleyball nets.

The Longboat Key Club itself offers premier tennis and golf facilities, and a clubhouse with several restaurants. A number of the condo owners keep their boats at Longboat Key Moorings, which is among the largest resort marinas on Florida’s west coast.

Just outside the gates of the club is the Avenue of the Flowers shopping plaza. Its shops and restaurants were razed and completely rebuilt in 2012, while the Publix anchor store was renovated and received a brand-new façade.

Over the past year, 15 units have sold in the four large buildings, ranging in price from $725,000 to $1,395,000. A unit in one of the smaller towers went for $530,000.

Seven condos are listed from $600,000 to $3 million; four listings are “pending.”


Last modified: September 5, 2014
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published without permissions. Links are encouraged.