Dolphin Tower Tracks a Strong Comeback


Dolphin Tower surely can’t steal the thunder from the rich mix of new condominium construction in downtown Sarasota, but it is certainly experiencing an upsurge of market interest following the recent completion of its $9 million makeover. Residents vacated this 40-plus-year-old condominium in 2010 to set in motion engineering and construction works to address various structural problems which surfaced that year.

The cornerstone to this extensive rehabilitation, which restored Dolphin Tower among prime choices of Sarasota condos for sale, was the addition of a new and stronger layer atop a faulty concrete slab. This two-inch thick slab had cracked open which led city authorities to order an evacuation of the condominium building in June 2010.

Amenities upgrade included

Dolphin Tower Tracks a Strong Comeback

A thorough structural review of the 116-unit Dolphin Tower likewise called for engineering works to stiffen the building and prevent it from swaying in hurricane-strength winds. The makeover of the condominium also included replacement of most of its plumbing and the installation of new fire sprinklers.

The building’s common areas for residents, including the must-have clubhouse for choice Sarasota condos for sale, have also been included in the building renovation. Returning residents will be welcomed too by an elegant new lobby and enlarged hallways, plus new washer and dryer hookups. To finance the rehab work, assessments ranging from $80,000 to $100,000 per unit were collected from condo owners.

With all the major building improvements already finished, residents of Dolphin Tower have been looking forward to reoccupy their units starting June 2015, just in time for summer setting in. As exciting for condo owners who held on to their units despite the serious debacle the property encountered, prices of Dolphin Tower residences have recovered remarkably well.

Prices pick up

In 2012-2013, when rehab cost estimate was still pending and scrapping the building altogether may happen, some owners put their units at $70,000-$80,000 among Sarasota condos for sale, but nobody was buying. Prices, as a result, bottomed to $30,000-$40,000.

Notably, an investor which reportedly bought a 965-square-foot unit for $30,000 in 2012 sold the condo recently for $275,000. As of April 2015, there were already six recorded sales at Dolphin Tower at a $257,500 median price. Eight sales were notched at this condominium in 2014, with median price at $145,000.

The MLS of Sarasota condos for sale, as of early May of 2015, lists the cheapest Dolphin Tower unit at $175,000, offering a living area of 985 square feet with one bedroom and two baths. Current sales-listed Dolphin Tower two-bedroom units with floor plans upwards of 1,200 square feet are priced from the $200s up to the $400s.

Unit makeovers

More new listings can be expected as some fence-sitting owners and investors may list their units among Sarasota condos for sale once the condominium is reoccupied. Prospective buyers though have to anticipate some individual unit remodeling as the Dolphin Tower units have been vacant for five years and most were subjected to sanitary pipe replacement.

Any fine-tuning chore, however, can easily be overshadowed by the advantages and benefits of the superb bayfront location of Dolphin Tower along Gulfstream Avenue. This condominium, for one, is walking distance to Island Park, the city marina, historic Palm Avenue and McAnsh Square which all teem with downtown Sarasota’s premier lifestyle offerings.