Sampling downtown Sarasota condos



There’s been a lot of buzz lately about the joys of embracing a chic urban lifestyle in Sarasota. You could move into a high-rise condo with views of either the bay or the city and enjoy strolling to restaurants, the marina, art galleries, boutiques, specialty grocery stores, theater and more.

Suddenly you’re hip and with-it, living a cosmopolitan life in a small resort city full of activities, including a sprinkling of night life.


But maybe you’ll regret relinquishing a garden and grill station on your deck, a swimming pool, quiet, privacy, and the convenience of walking out your side door into your garage. If you’re the type who wants to dip a toe in the water before diving in, leasing a downtown lifestyle could be the answer.

bibi2One option is a new listing on the 10th floor at 1350 Main.

The two-bedroom, two-bath, 1,336-square-foot unit, with some views of the bay, is on the for-sale market at $650,000, or the rental market at $3,000 a month (unfurnished).

Its history is that of the real estate boom and bust.

The apartment mostly has been a rental since 2007, when a Tampa physician bought it pre-construction both as investment and as a possible place of permanent living.

In the meantime, the doctor settled into a condominium on Longboat Key, and he likes it just fine there. Now, he would like to get out of the landlord business and sell his downtown Sarasota condo. But, if that doesn’t happen, he’s again willing to rent the place.

About 30 percent of the apartments in this 134-unit tower are rentals. Owners are allowed to rent four times a year for a minimum of three consecutive months each time. In many cases, snowbird renters have returned to Sarasota the second or third time and bought a place at 1350 Main because they like the amenities and lifestyle.

Bibi-Ann Allard and Kevin Moran are the listing agents through Michael Saunders & Co.. She has sold 25 apartments in 1350 Main over the years. She and her sister own an investment condominium, which they often rent out, in the 1350 tower.

“When my sister comes to visit from Montreal, she has a place to stay,” said Allard, “and other months, we both realize some income from the apartment. This is a popular downtown location, and the amenities in the building are extremely attractive to vacationing snowbirds or to young professionals who can walk to work.”

Residents can keep up to two dogs of any size in 1350, which has a swimming pool, parking garage, club room, fitness center, concierge service and nice views from many of the apartments.

“During season,” Allard said, “these condominiums generally rent for $5,000 a month; there’s a three-month minimum.”

Condominiums in 1350 Main range in size from a one-bedroom, 800-square-foot unit up to luxury apartments that are 3,200 square feet. Seven commercial enterprises take up ground-level space in the building. The 10th-floor apartment currently for sale or rent has limited views of the bay from the living room terrace and master bedroom; the view is expected to get smaller once the Vue condominium, now under construction on Gulf Stream Avenue at U.S. 41, is complete.

The unit has an abundance of natural light and the open-concept floor plan everyone seems to want. The kitchen, dining room and living room flow as one large living space. The master bedroom, with its spacious en-suite bath and big walk-in closet, are on one side of the apartment. Another bedroom, hall closet and bathroom are on the other side.

The second bedroom could be a home office/den; the current tenant has used it that way. The view from that room encompasses unattractive cement roofs of commercial buildings downtown. (Makes you wish a lot of office buildings would invest in rooftop gardens.)

The closets in this apartment are not designed or outfitted for maximizing storage options. Interior designer Lois Ross lives across the hall from this apartment, and, after walking through it has advice for the next owner.

“Invest in closet design,” she said. “I did, and now I’ve got more than enough space. I also converted the closet off the second bedroom into a personal closet for my husband. It accommodates all his shoes and jackets.”

Additionally, the designer reconfigured and added more storage to the laundry niche, which is off the kitchen. The side-by-side washer/dryer are topped with a granite counter.

“And, I installed built-ins in the bedrooms,” she said. “If you’re downsizing from a house to a downtown condo, it’s really important to measure all the spaces before deciding what furniture to bring and what to ged rid of. The kitchens in the 1350 Main building are expertly arranged, and there’s nice storage in them. And, I love the bathrooms. They’re big with lovely modern fixtures.”

Another tip from the design expert is to make sure the condominium elevator can accommodate the height and width of furnishings you want for your new urban place.

“I had to let my big sectional sofa go when I moved here from my house on Longboat Key,” said Ross. “But I was pleasantly surprised to find that my dining table would fit, so I brought it.”

Co-listing agent Kevin Moran can testify to the practicality of measuring spaces, especially elevators, if you move to a downtown dwelling. “A few years ago, I was moving into a new high-rise on the east coast,” he recalled. “I had a big cabinet I really loved, and I put it into the moving van. It was too high for the elevator. I ended up having a crane hoist it up the side of the building.”


Marsha Fottler

Marsha Fottler has been a newspaper and magazine lifestyle, food and design writer since 1968 first in Boston and in Florida since 1970. She contributes to regional and national publications and she is co-publisher and editor of a monthly online magazine that celebrates the pleasures of the table called Flavors & More. (941) 371-8593.
Last modified: September 13, 2014
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