Upbeat Market Mood Spreads to Bay Island, West of the Trail


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, October 5th, 2015 – There is a current common thread between the community of Bay Island and its West of the Trail neighbors, besides all being older developments host to high-end Sarasota homes for sale. Pockets of new construction, including a good number of luxury spec homes, are sprouting in both of these two localities which are definitely in step with the upbeat tempo of the housing market.

This conspicuous trend is resulting in the demolition of many old homes, some of which date back to the 1920s. For example, at Harbor Acres, one of the West of the Trail pioneer communities of this era, only very few of the original houses are now left and many have been replaced with newer and more contemporary builds. Consequently, aged residences like 1950s ranches that once held sway in West of the Trail neighborhoods have given way to large houses in the mold of Lakewood Ranch patterns.

Heavyweight builders in the fray

Upbeat Market Mood Spreads to Bay Island, West of the Trail

Homebuilders have been busy not only just tearing down old houses but have also found some infill lots as opportunities for potential profits. Even national builder D.R. Horton has lately joined in the fray which for the most part has been dominated by local custom home pros John Cannon, Rob Allegra, and Todd Johnston.

The pattern of old-house demolition and rebirth in West of the Trail communities have also been observed at Bay Island. Recent sales in this community, which is considered as the gateway to Siesta Key, saw some buyers tearing down their purchased properties’ existing structures and building new replacements that are larger and built to the buyers’ exact specifications.

Brisk sales at Freeling

Freeling Drive at Bay Island is where market activity is particularly vibrant. Towards the end of this road’s cul-de-sac just a few feet from the waterfront, the rising framework of two new homes facing each other stand as vivid signs of the housing rebound in this community.

Notably, three of the recent sales at Bay Island are properties along Freeling Drive. Already, 12 sales have been recorded in this community through the beginning of September, with ownership in six changing to the tune over $2 million.

Redevelopment transforms Desota Park

At West of the Trail, one of the epicenters of home redevelopment is Desota Park, particularly at its Datura Street where several house teardowns have been singled out by some smart builders who constructed luxury spec homes at these sites. An old house is generally regarded as a teardown when its lot reaches 85 percent of the entire property’s appraised value.

The valuation of West of the Trail teardowns typically start around the mid-$400s. In this locality, demolished old houses measuring between 1,000 and 2,500 square feet are often replaced by new, custom-build homes ranging in size from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet. These new builds are not only larger but are likewise reshaping the architectural character of West of the Trail neighborhoods.

Luxury home listings

For prospective buyers of potential teardowns, the search may be a bit more difficult now at the West of the Trail with several pro homebuilders already having a headstart. Nonetheless, one which may be worth considering is a 1,360-square-foot home built 1928 at the McClellan Park and currently offered in the high $400s among Sarasota homes for sale.

Another alternative is taking a look at the new residences that the builders have already come up with and currently listed among Sarasota homes for sale. This option is what one buyer took recently, purchasing in May 2015 a 4,035-square-foot home listed for about $1.5 million at the Datura Street of Desota Park.

There’s a current active listing in Desota Park for a four-bedroom residence crafted at nearly 3,400 square feet from the award-winning design of Allegra Homes and priced at nearly $1.9 million. Slightly below this price range, Bay Island currently has an active listing for apre-construction, four-bedroom contemporary home having a floor area of 3,300 square feet and offered at around $1.45 million.