Located east of Interstate 75, Laurel Meadows was created with families in mind. The idea was to offer well-priced homes in an area surrounded by more expensive homes. Situated on lots ranging from 10,000 to 14,000 square feet, larger than in most newly built communities, the 3- and 4-bedroom residences sold for prices from $200,000 to the low $300,000s.
Starting in 2000, when the neighborhood was developed, three local builders — Vision Homes, Rinehart Homes and Larry Monaco Homes — offered a variety of models. The design was Florida contemporary with cathedral ceilings. Some homes had 3-car garages, ideal for families whose teenagers were getting their own cars.
Homes sold quickly and, by 2005, the neighborhood was built out.
Today, Laurel Meadows is an attractive community at the outskirts of town. Go to the end of Palmer Boulevard and take the dogleg to the right that turns into Iona Road, and you’ll soon see it on the left across from the Laurel Lakes neighborhood.
It also can be reached from Bee Ridge Road; turn left onto Iona at Rothenbach Park and it is on the right.
Palm trees line the divided entrance and median like sentries watching over the community. The 85 homes are arranged around five picturesque lakes, one of which can be fished (residents only).
Residents include retirees, empty-nesters, working professionals and some families with children.
“It’s a real community,” says Sherri Mills, a Realtor with Michael Saunders & Co. “People walk their dogs and take strolls in the evening. No one’s nosy, but neighbors look out for each other.”
Ana Machado, a broker-associate with Rose Bay Realty, agrees. “It’s a multi-age community with people that care about it — a great place to live and for kids to grow up.”
One of the neighbors who lives next to her listing on 2341 Vintage St., told her, “My kids play outside. I’ve lived here for 12 years and have never worried about them.”
Recently, the parents of the children in the neighborhood playing youth baseball held a breakfast fundraiser for the team. “Six families showed up to support the kids,” Machado says.
“Families do holiday parties,” she continues. “Halloween is the biggest — everybody gets together.”
Parents also love the district schools — Tatum Ridge Elementary, McIntosh Middle and Sarasota High.
“From homeowner’s perspective, it’s safe and close to a lot of amenities,” says Mills.
A Publix grocery store is virtually within walking distance at the intersection of Iona Road and Bee Ridge Road, across from Rothenbach Park. The Big Cat Habitat and Celery Field Park with the new Audubon Center is just down Palmer Boulevard. Shopping and restaurants opportunities at UTC, and Doctors Hospital, Wal-mart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s at Cattlemen Road and Bee Ridge are all within easy driving distance.
For people needing to get to work via the highway, Interstate 75 is easily accessible from the Fruitville Road and Bee Ridge Road entrances. Even downtown Sarasota is only 25 minutes away.
Homeowners association fees are $215 a quarter.
“There is very little turnover in Laurel Meadows,” says Machado. “People stay 10-plus years.”
Since January 2015, five homes have sold, ranging in price from $259,653 to $340,000. The two active listings are priced at $349,000 and $574,900.