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City of Sarasota, ST Armands and LongBow Key..
Old 04-07-2019, 04:45 AM   #1
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City of Sarasota, ST Armands and LongBow Key..

It appears my Florida post gleaned some interest. Im still there (obviously) I thought for some a city retirement might meet their need/desires.. why not?

Years ago I worked for a great guy who old me he wanted to retire in the city. As a country boy at heart It was always difficult for me to understand. The city to me was crime, congestion and expense and of course no fishing (yeah I am that simple guy). I can see the lure of it now... allow me to explain.

Yesterday (Saturday) we went to a Chalk Art festival in the city of Sarasota. My BIL drove US into the city and were lucky to find parking on coconut street (yes really), a 10 minute walk from the event. I stepped out of the car and saw we had parked next to where a new residential complex “Starting in the mid 4’s” ($450,000) was being built. I then took a look around and the city is humming with new construction. New buildings, and construction cranes are everywhere. There are blocks of low rise stores and restaurants that actually make for a real downtown. It turns out there is also a big farmers market on Saturdays and the place was full of people and booths where ART, Sea Food, Baked Goods and Produce were being sold.

We reluctantly paid the $10 per person entrance fee and were a little disappointed. Slow moving crowds, and much of the art was ‘in progress’ but what was there was amazing. The artist came from around the world I’d rather have come on Sunday to see the finished work. I have attached a decent phone picture ... for some reason the ability to get more than 1 picture on a post eludes me.

I know it was only a brief glimpse of a city but it was vibrant and attractive. Give me a fat tire bike with a basket up front and Id never start the car.

MY BIL then took us on a bit of a drive to find a good restaurant and drove over the bridge onto St Armands (island) and then Long bow key and were transported into another world. It was like driving from NYC Greenwich Village to south Hampton in 5 minutes. We saw blue water and many boats “rafted up” (tied together over sandbars) where crowds were ‘partying’. Mile after mile of diverse beaches and diverse housing.. Not the high towers of Miami but single it two story beach complexes. Funny but there was actually was space between the buildings. The place we ended at was an open air place on a beach with a dock that went out into the bay. Bobbing at the end of the dock was boat Ive only previously seen in magazines. Built in NE (Maine I think) it is a bit retro looking like a cross between a ‘down easter’ lobster boat and a cabin cruiser but a work of art none the less. The woodwork inside was showed amazing craftsmanship. Im thinking easily a million for a boat about 40Ft. This area has a reputation for wealthy people.20190406_123917.jpg
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City of Sarasota, ST Armands and LongBow Key..
Old 04-07-2019, 05:20 AM   #2
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City of Sarasota, ST Armands and LongBow Key..

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City of Sarasota, ST Armands and LongBow Key..
Old 04-07-2019, 05:21 AM   #3
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City of Sarasota, ST Armands and LongBow Key..

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Old 04-07-2019, 06:03 AM   #4
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Yes, that area is nice. DW and I stayed on Santa Maria Island, north of Longboat Key and cycled down to Sarasota many times in the past. The whole area gets congested in the winter months but still nice.
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Old 04-07-2019, 07:56 AM   #5
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When evaluating Florida as a destination in our 2nd year of retirement, we enjoyed the Sarasota area and stayed on Lido Key. We were also impressed with Longboat Key as the most desirable place to live. But then we are from Vancouver so that kind of exclusiveness does not seem out of the ordinary to us.

But we are pretty sure that most of us would end up on Santa Maria Island or Siesta Key.
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Old 04-07-2019, 10:30 AM   #6
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OP, I've been reading your "FL reporting" threads, and those of others, with interest. Keep them coming!

Sarasota is on our short list for retirement. I grew up not too far from there and it still feels like home even after more than 30 years.

I'm anxious to get back and see if living there is as great as my memories and our vacations to the area. Only a couple more years...

In the meantime, I continue to devour posts like yours.
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Old 04-07-2019, 12:56 PM   #7
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It's a wonderful area -- Sarasota and Siesta Key. As others have mentioned a lot of snowbirds and the traffic that goes with that. There are a number of nice developments/communities between the Manatee River and Boca Grande. Sarasota/Long Boat Key can be a little pricey.
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Old 04-07-2019, 01:21 PM   #8
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We went back into the city today - we went to the spice store. Different city entirely 1/5 the number of people and we found Parking no issue.
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Old 04-08-2019, 06:49 AM   #9
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OP, I've been reading your "FL reporting" threads, and those of others, with interest. Keep them coming!
Also devouring. Appreciated.
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Sarasota a nice place to escape the winter but...
Old 04-09-2019, 07:26 AM   #10
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Sarasota a nice place to escape the winter but...

Years ago a friend of mine visited an over 55 community and told me he didn’t like the quality of the construction. He didn’t think it would last 20 years. Vic was 66 at the time I said “Vic wont that be someone else’s problem?” I could see it in his eyes when he realized Yeah it probably will. Im 64, Sarasota is already uncomfortably crowded and is growing way too fast fueled by 10,000 boomers retiring each and every day looking to escape old man winter. Its April 9th many of the snow bird boomers have left still the roads are quite crowded.

(https://www.sarasotamagazine.com/art...arasota-growth)

“It’s been dubbed “the billion-dollar boom”—“although it’s well exceeded that amount by now,” says Sarasota city manager Tom Barwin. Since 2015, the city has approved plans for 1,700 apartments, 1,400 condominiums and 1,000 hotel rooms. Those projects and ones to come are expected to swell the city’s population of about 55,000 people by nearly 20 percent—around 11,000 more people—over the next dozen years, and that does not account for the growing number of visitors and workers who now push the city’s daily population to 100,000 or more.”

Sitting in my SIL’s back yard, by the pool, outside the city the other day we could smell burning. You see they practice a kind of ‘slash and burn’ land clearing here. (The slash part is replaced by giant tractors) Vast tracks of former cattle land are being transformed into countless condos and clubhouses- beautiful to be sure but if going to the Publix 1/2 a mile away takes 40 minutes to me it’s torture. The locals will tell you there is a solution go at 7AM. We all have our pet peves and one of mine is traffic.

Years ago my wife’s grandmother had a house on siesta key. I’m told that house just resold for $1.2 million. It was long before the bridge over to the Key was gridlocked with wood be beach goers. You see theres only so much parking at siesta keys public beach and it gets full early. In past winters we rented apartments in one of the towers on the key. We would sit on the balcony have drinks and watch the dolphins as the sun went down. 30 degrees up north and Im catching spanish mackerel in the surf. I remember hooking something that bent the hook on my Hopkins lure. For a fisherman thats great stuff. That’s our connection to this place. That’s why the 2 SILs built homes here. Its what they know. Its easy to accept “well I know the area” a little more difficult to explore and see if theres a better fit out there. I‘m a guy who traveled alone to Hong Kong, Singapore, London, etc., I like the unknown.

Its our last full day here and I haven’t fully digested how I feel about Sarasota. There’s no denying there is a support structure in place with all the relatives but I am inclined to say “too busy” Maybe the Villages will be more of the same... we will see. I suspect if you can take your golf kart directly to Publix and stay “on site” it may be different. There’s no rush.
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:22 AM   #11
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I agree with you about the crowds and congestion in parts of Florida, Ray. We were in both Sarasota and Tampa once this winter, and I won't be back to either place anytime soon. As you say, sitting in stop-and-go traffic to go a mile or two to the grocery store is not my idea of fun. You might want to consider some areas further north. On the Gulf side, Crystal River is not too bad yet, and just north of there, the amount of development and traffic drops off quickly. It may be a little cooler than south Florida, but I thought the weather this winter in Crystal River was great. The Villages would not be my kind of place at all, but I know that some people really like it. I'm pretty sure you will have to deal with crowds and congestion at the Villages also, though.
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:27 AM   #12
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Venice Florida, just south of Sarasota has what you are looking for. Easy access to Sarasota, siesta key etc. but a lot less crowded and close to the beach. Nice downtown too. 5 minutes to the publix. JMHO
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:45 AM   #13
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Venice Florida, just south of Sarasota has what you are looking for. Easy access to Sarasota, siesta key etc. but a lot less crowded and close to the beach. Nice downtown too. 5 minutes to the publix. JMHO

I liked Venice. There is a local college there so you get some young kids playing volleyball for me, at 37 NOT FIRE yet it was refreshing to see. a LOT less crowded than Sarasota and Siesta Key
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Old 04-09-2019, 12:37 PM   #14
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One of the problems facing all retirees is that our favorite place gets discovered by everyone else with the inevitable overcrowding. We are facing that in PV MX having owned here for 11 years. We are moving into town to reduce dependence on a car. But taxis are plentiful and cheap. Getting to Costco remains a growing problem. But it only happens once a month.

When you think about Keys, the bridges will always be bottlenecks. Our bottleneck is access to Home Depot which is on the only road to the next state. At least Costco has 2 access points.
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Old 04-09-2019, 12:52 PM   #15
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Keith:

Are there any sensible rentals in DT PV? I just looked at a place on Airbnb and it was ~$1000 month in the Tabachines area.

Would it be better to go stay in a hotel and get a rental while we are actually there?
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Old 04-09-2019, 01:33 PM   #16
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We live in Sarasota from Nov-Apr. Traffic is rarely a problem, but I concede that we avoid travel during the morning and evening rush hours.

Now if we try to go to the beach, that is a different story.... so we just don't go to the beach or try to go on off times.

Just today we went out to lunch at the Oak & Stone off of University Parkway... no congestion either way... just normal traffic.
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Old 04-10-2019, 07:54 AM   #17
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We like Cha Cha Coconuts in Armands Cir. We are not sophisticated going out to eat folk, in fact I hate it after living on restaurant food for the last 30 years of my w*rk life. I detest waiting and being waited on. I traveled every week or so. I actually prefer simple food now. But I do Like Cha Cha's.
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Old 04-10-2019, 12:19 PM   #18
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Keith:

Are there any sensible rentals in DT PV? I just looked at a place on Airbnb and it was ~$1000 month in the Tabachines area.

Would it be better to go stay in a hotel and get a rental while we are actually there?
Not being a renter, the following is hearsay: rents have gone through the roof with owners demanding top dollar for mediocre offerings.

Once you accept the lack of ocean view, there are many places for rent. Check out manoamano.com for an idea of what locals pay. It is always hard to get the square feet for those offerings so buyer beware. Check for cupboards in the bedrooms.
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:13 PM   #19
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Venice Florida, just south of Sarasota has what you are looking for. Easy access to Sarasota, siesta key etc. but a lot less crowded and close to the beach.
There have been a couple of "interesting" local real estate transactions recently:
• a doctor bought a mansion down on the coast for $4.9M a few years ago and recently sold it for $3.9M, taking a $1M loss on the deal - ouch!
• a woman bought a place down on the coast near Osprey for $1.9M a couple of years ago and recently sold it for $1.4M, taking a $500k loss on the deal - ouch!

Does this reflect panic selling by wealthy local residents who were shocked by how much the recent 18-month red tide flareup can lower the quality of life for coastal residents? Who knows?

Anyway, you can add the red tide threat to the list of reasons why people should consider moving to TX rather than coastal SW FL.
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Old 04-18-2019, 10:47 AM   #20
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Anyway, you can add the red tide threat to the list of reasons why people should consider moving to TX rather than coastal SW FL.
We get red tide in TX too.
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