Market snapshot: Castel del Mare in Sarasota



Built in 1975 as a complex of vacation condos, Castel del Mare, which means “sea fortress” in Italian, has one of the most attractive waterfront locations west of the Trail.

Occupying 8 acres just south of Stickney Point Road, it sits on the Intracoastal Waterway directly across from Siesta Key and has spectacular, panoramic views of Little Sarasota Bay.

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Palm trees and attractive shrubbery dot the interior.

Castel del Mare has 185 units in an array of two- and four-story buildings. The architectural style is Spanish Mediterranean, with red barrel-tile roofs and off-white stucco walls. The balconies are enclosed with screens to keep the bugs out.

All amenities were designed to enhance a Florida vacation lifestyle. The round Bayside Pool, so named because it overlooks Little Sarasota Bay, allows visitors to relax, float in the water and watch the boats go by. The Garden Pool, surrounded by palm trees and shrubbery between two of the buildings, is a traditional rectangle for swimming and dipping.

Residents can enjoy the boardwalk, tennis court and shuffleboard courts. The adjacent, open grass area appeals to guests with children who want to toss a football or kick a soccer ball around.

A bayside gazebo provides a great spot for fishing, and the clubhouse by the garden pool is a good gathering place for small parties and friendly get-togethers.

Sara Leicht, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomesServices Florida Realty, considers Castel del Mare “a well-kept secret” in Sarasota, where you can get beautiful condos at great prices. The unit she has listed for $359,900 overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway, and comes furnished, decorated and upgraded on the inside.

“It has gorgeous views, a prime location and great value,” she says. “Where else can you get such a great waterfront view for that kind of money?”

Condo fees area reasonable, too — just under $400 a month — and Castel del Mare has strong reserves.

Leicht likes the convenient access to restaurants, shopping and the area’s tourist attractions.

Gulf Gate Village and the Gulf Gate Mall are within easy walking distance; Sarasota Square Mall, Trader Joe’s and Southgate are not much farther by car. Siesta Village and the key’s world-renowned beach are close by.

Downtown Sarasota to the north, and access to Interstate 75 east on Clark Road are both just a 10-minute drive.

For water sports enthusiasts, Siesta Key Marina, just across the Stickney Point Bridge, offers a variety of services. You can rent jet skis, boats and go parasailing. If you want to have your own boat, you can park it at the dry dock storage facility there.

According to Leicht, Castel del Mare is very quiet in the summer because most of the owners are snowbirds who use their condo for vacation or as rental property.

“When you only have 1,000 square feet, it’s not a full-time residence unless you live by yourself,” she said.

Residents hail from Canada, Europe and northern parts of the United States.

“They like that they can walk to Carrabba’s Restaurant up the road,” she says.

An agency manages the rental condos.

“It’s a minimum of one month, which eliminates some of the younger visitors,” Leicht says. “As a second residence and income-producer, you get very good rates. In season, a two-bedroom, two-bath unit overlooking the water will rent from $3,800 to $4,000 a month.”

According to Zillow, sales have been steady, with 13 units changing owners recently, ranging in price from $122,500 to $445,000.

Currently, 11 condos are on the market, from $189,000 to $359,900.

“For a getaway, lock-and-go — a home away from home — it’s perfect,” Leicht says.


Last modified: December 19, 2014
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