Realtors Hail LBK Resort Expansion


Businessmen, particularly those engaged in the tourist industry and in the Sarasota real estate market, are applauding the May 2015 referendum approval for the proposed expansion of the Resort at Longboat Key Club.

This project was previously opposed by some influential associations in the town of Longboat Key (LBK) when it was first presented in 2010. Helping overturn this opposition was the prevailing thinking in the business sector that expanding the resort club will not only be a boon to tourism. Business leaders say this new development will also be a boost to the local real estate market, as many tourists often return as prospective buyers of Sarasota homes for sale.

Hotel capacity need

Realtors Hail LBK Resort Expansion

Sentiment that LBK has been losing hotel capacity and thus becoming less competitive tourism-wise is also widely seen as pivotal for voters in the barrier island’s communities to give their thumbs-up to the expansion project. The decline in LBK hotel capacity started in the year 2000 with the loss of approximately 250 rooms following the closure of the local Holiday Inn in favor of residential condo construction. This was followed by the closing of The Colony Beach & Tennis Club and its 270 rooms in 2010 due to nagging management issues in the 17-acre property.

The expansion of the Resort at Longboat Key Club primarily involves the construction of a new 259-room hotel with 10 to 12 stories at its 45-year-old gulf-front Islandside section. This new hotel capacity will be in addition to Islandside’s existing 223-suite hotel which shares the site with a golf course and other facilities along with condominium towers and single family homes. About 93 new condo/villa units are likewise included in the planned project which is estimated to cost a total $100 million.

Notably, Ocean Properties, owner of the Resort at Longboat Key Club, also began in the summer of 2014 the renovation of the Hilton hotel in the barrier island. Costing some $24 million and with a 14-month timetable, this project calls for redeveloping the existing hotel buildings and their 102 rooms. A new tower with 85 additional units is likewise rising at the Hilton’s site conveniently located near the middle of the 12-mile stretch of Longboat Key.

Hotspot for rental investors

The Hilton’s mid-key location along Gulf of Mexico Drive is one of the leading destinations for investors in search of Longboat Key condos for sale best suited as rental properties. Completion of the Hilton’s makeover and resumption of its operations will certainly help bring visitors’ attention to one of its neighbors, Sand Cay, a 60-unit low-rise condo. A two-bedroom unit here built in 1974 with a floor area of 1,104 square feet was listed among Longboat Key condos for sale just this May at an asking price around the mid-$500s.

At about half this price point, one great place to visit in the Hilton’s neighborhood is Longboat Harbour. There’s a recently listed penthouse unit in this property which was constructed in 1970, also featuring two bedrooms within a floor area of nearly 1,400 square feet and offered just slightly over the mid-$200s.