Home Market Gains Sparks Sarasota Retail Bonanza


A rebound in prices of Sarasota homes for sale, coupled with a bullish stock market, has sparked a sustained surge in consumer spending in Southwest Florida, a development that in turn has stimulated opening of more retail businesses in the region.

Aggregate retail sales in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte have been continuously climbing since November 2013. One of the strongest gains was registered in July this year with an 11.8% year-over-year gain at nearly $2.2 billion gross sales in the region. The increase for this month was sharpest in Sarasota wherein a 14.5% increase to $1.055 billion was estimated compared to last year’s level.

For the first seven months of 2014, Southwest Florida consumers spent close to $17 billion, up 9.1% from the same period in 2013. Compared with those months in 2012, the 2014 gross sales were ahead by 14.6% and by 19% from 2011, the year considered as the start of the U.S. economic recovery.

Samplings of new entrants

Home Market Gains Sparks Sarasota Retail Bonanza

The sprawling 73-acre Mall at University Town Center (UTC) which opened in October 2014 is but one of the many new ventures hoping to cash in on the upsurge in the region’s consumer spending. In November, a Walmart Neighborhood Market opened at the southwest corner of the junction of Beneva and Bee Ridge roads.

This is Sarasota’s second Walmart Neighborhood Market after a sister outlet opened in 2012 at 3500 North Tamiami Trail. Nearby the new 41,000-square-foot Walmart store are a Walgreens retail outlet and a plaza that hosts a Publix Super Market. Among the communities that these retailers serve are Forest Lakes Country Club Estates, Village Green Club Estates and Village Plaza, neighborhoods which count among prime destinations for attractively priced Sarasota homes for sale.

Boutique retailer J. McLaughlin, already with a location on Main Street in downtown Sarasota, is also expanding its market reach with the opening of a store Longboat Key also in November. This new 1,300-square-foot store is an outlet men’s and women’s fashions and accessories. It is located at 525 Bay Isles Parkway just a short distance west of the greens and fairways of Longboat Key Golf Club.

Siesta Promenade at Gulf Gate

Benderson Development, one of the partners in The Mall at UTC, is likewise pursuing plans for the Siesta Promenade, a proposed shopping center at the corner of U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road. Targeted for development starting in spring 2015, this new shopping center is planned as a single building with 250,000 square feet of retail space and a 150-room hotel. It will be competing with two existing Westfield shopping centers at the Sarasota Square and Southgate malls.

These establishments’ main markets include the old neighborhoods of Gulf Gate and the new community of Esplanade by Siesta Key, a development of national home builder Taylor Morrison.

Gulf Gate is an ideal destination for buyers seeking affordably price homes for sale, as many of the available properties here are priced in the $100s.These are typically two-bedroom residences built in the 1960s with floor areas of up to about 1,500 square feet. At Esplanade by Siesta Key, the choices are new builds priced in the $400s, featuring two bedrooms in floor plans of about 1,700 square feet.