Market Snapshot: Gator Creek in Sarasota


PHOTO GALLERY: Gator Creek in Sarasota County

Gator Creek, off Bee Ridge Road Extension east of Interstate 75, is unusual for being both an equestrian and a golf-course community. Situated on more than 500 acres, many of them pristine Florida wilderness, it is bordered by Misty Creek Country Club to the north and Clark Road to the south. Cow Pen South Canal winds its way between the community and Saddle Creek, its immediate neighbor to the east.

This 3,700-square-foot house on 5.75 acres in Gator Creek is being sold by its owner at $895,000. (Staff photo / Harold Bubil)

This 3,700-square-foot house on 5.75 acres in Gator Creek is being sold by its owner at $895,000. (Staff photo / Harold Bubil)

The entrance on Bee Ride Road Extension is framed by dark red brick walls and signage that covey an old-fashioned ambience without being pretentious.

Inside, 69 custom-built, estate-size family residences occupy from 5 to 10 acres. Most of the homes are Florida ranches of one sort or another. Some have additions, and you'll see an occasional second-floor house peeking out from among the trees. Owners can have additional outbuildings, such as barns and guest houses.

Some of the properties are framed by wooden paddock fencing; others have entrance gates surrounded by trees. Most of the houses have deep setbacks and are well-hidden from the roadways behind a curtain of lush vegetation.

There are densely wooded sections throughout, with old oak trees and towering pines, as well as several scenic lakes. Walking and bridle trails front each property. It's not unusual to see deer, wild turkey, foxtail squirrels, raccoons, quail and eagles, wild hogs and the occasional alligator, of course. The overall feeling is one of living in a nature preserve with the houses well-integrated into their natural surroundings.

"It's a lovely nature spot -- beautiful, with a high-end country feel," says Lee Brewer, a Realtor with Re/Max Alliance Group.

His listing at 7250 Chameleon Way is a four-bedroom home on 7 manicured acres with three lakes and a pond that's lighted at night. A separate mother-in-law apartment provides a cozy guest house, bringing the total garage space to three-and-a-half cars. There are master and guest suites and an extra room upstairs overlooking the swimming pool that can be used as a game room, home office or library.

A hedge line of large trees and ample shrubbery hide the adjacent golf course, but there are other homes that look out onto the fairways.

The Gator Creek Golf Club, which opened in 1974, is an 18-hole, par-72 course with rolling fairways. Designed by legendary links architect Joe Lee, and renovated in 2011 by Ron Garl, it has a posh clubhouse, locker rooms and dining area, as well as a 19th-hole, where golfers can relax after playing a round.

Membership is limited to 250 members and is limited to men only. Women are not allowed on the grounds to play or even work there. From time to time, this has brought unwanted attention and criticism for the club, notably in 2012 when the prestigious Augusta National Golf Club in Atlanta finally decided to admit women as members for the first time in its history. But for the most part, the Gator Creek Golf Club manages to keep a low profile and weather the occasional controversy to remain one of a handful of male-only golf clubs in the United States.

It's almost as if the club and the residential area occupy separate worlds. Gator Creek homeowners may join, but are not required to do so. According to Brewer, most of them are working professionals -- doctors, attorneys and writers -- who like the quiet, secluded atmosphere and sense of being in the country, yet close to shopping and restaurant amenities. "It's rare to find a community with such large lots so close to downtown," he says.

Intersate 75 is only three miles away, while the Gulf beaches and downtown Sarasota are a 12-mile drive; but with Clark Road being a main east-west artery, it makes travel easy. Once the widening of Bee Ridge Road is completed, it will be just as convenient to get to Doctor's Hospital, banks, restaurant, Wal-Mart and Loewe's along Cattleman Road.

Residents also like the low HOA fees -- only $600 per year -- which cover the front gate and mowing of common areas. Owners are responsible for the upkeep of their property.

"Most of them do a pretty amazing job," says Brewer.

Over the past year, there have been three sales in Gator Creek, ranging in price from $650,000 to $700,000. Currently, five homes are on the market, from $695,000 to $1.04 million.

Last modified: May 15, 2015
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published without permissions. Links are encouraged.