Market snapshot: Riverwood Golf and Country Club in Charlotte County


Few communities in Southwest Florida can boast the natural beauty of Riverwood Golf & Country Club, located on State Road 776 in Charlotte County, close to where the Myakka River enters Charlotte Harbor. Three miles of the 1,300-acre property stretch along the river, one of only two in Florida officially designated as “wild and scenic.”


The 18-hole championship golf course, designed by famed links architect Gene Bates, takes full advantage of the magnificent surroundings. The front nine winds through lush woodlands dotted with stands of towering pines. The back nine is replete with salt marshes and wetlands. Riverwood is the only golf course in Charlotte County that is rated 4.5 stars by Golf Digest, and was ranked 15th in Florida by Golf Week magazine as a “Best Course to Play 2012.”

The homes are built on only one side of the fairways, offering attractive views on the other to residents and golfers alike. More than 300 acres of the community are set aside for preserves, wetlands, ponds and lakes, making the Riverwood an ecological paradise for wildlife and birds.

“It’s a well-maintained and manicured community with a natural backdrop,” says Anita Baltierra, the broker of Riverwood Realty, a boutique firm specializing in gated communities.

Baltierra, who has been selling homes in Riverwood for 12 years and has lived there since 2010, is a great fan, as are the other six agents in her office, who all live there. “It’s a very special place,” she says Baltierra. “We are the hidden jewel of Charlotte County.”

When Riverwood got stared in 1992, it didn’t grow as quickly as the original developers anticipated. They sold out in the late ’90s to Centex Homes, which has been building residences at a rate of 80 to 100 units a year over the past decade. Centex completed development in the fall of 2014.

“The place is now officially sold out,” says Baltierra.

The more than 1,300 homes are arranged in 29 distinct subdivisions, giving buyers a variety of options, from twin villas and condos to houses and estates. Prices range from the $100,000s to the $800,000s.

Residents are not required to join the semi-private golf course, but can take advantage of the 12,000-square-foot clubhouse, the fitness center, junior Olympic swimming pool and spa, tennis courts, library, bocce ball and croquet courts, playground, dog park and horseshoe pits.

The master HOA fee of $110 a month pays for use of the activity center, the 24/7 manned gatehouse, irrigation water, lawn and shrub maintenance, roadways, common grounds and street lighting. Some of the subdivisions have additional fees depending on other amenities and services offered.

Most residents hail from all over the United States and Canada; the rest come from Europe. They include retirees, snowbirds, working professionals and families. The number of yearround residents is on the increase. “We’ve gone from 30 percent full time to about 60 percent over the past 10 years,” said Baltierra. “A lot of people purchase second homes here to explore the Florida lifestyle end up retiring here — they enjoy it so much.”

She loves the fact that many residents are willing to share their backgrounds and areas of expertise. A retired pediatrician who is also a talented stained-glass designer volunteered to teach a beginner’s course. It was so successful he had to follow up with intermediate and advanced classes.

“They ended up making Tiffany lamps!” says Baltierra.

The same thing happened when another resident started a tap dancing class. The beginners soon become more than proficient. Now the Riverwood Tappers go out into the community and give performance at assisted-living facilities and other venues.

Larry Lancett leads nature walks for residents and promotes eco-friendly policies and practices, from water reclamation for irrigation to education and outreach regarding environmental issues. According to Baltierra, his efforts were one of reasons why Riverwood won an Audubon Green Community Award from Audubon International in 2013, the first private community in Florida to do so.

While Riverwood offers quietness and serenity, it is also conveniently located. Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda within easy driving distance. “We’re close to beautiful beaches and water; there is not a lot of traffic and commercial development, but you can get to shops at Murdock, or Interstate 75 in 10 to 15 minutes,” said Baltierra.

Over the past 12 months, 104 properties have sold, ranging in price from $150,000 to $770,000. Currently, inventory is low; only 3 percent of the homes are for sale — 32 of them, from $159,000 to $875,000.

“Riverwood is an established, cohesive community. People are happy to call it their home,” said Baltierra.

An open house is at 3336 Pennyroyal Road from 1 to 4 p.m. today and Sunday.

Last modified: January 23, 2015
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published without permissions. Links are encouraged.