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Luxury on the move

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  • | 11:00 a.m. December 16, 2016
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Need any more evidence that downtown Sarasota has pent up demand for luxury condos? Consider this: A local developer plans to buy out all 14 owners in a bayfront complex and pay to knock it down — just to build a new one.

The developer, Seaward Development, plans to redevelop the Versailles, built in 1974, into a new condo tower with as many as 25 units and up to 18 stories, according to a zoning code confirmation letter sent to city officials from Seaward principal Patrick DiPinto. The project was first reported by the Sarasota Observer, sister paper of the Business Observer.

DiPinto, also developing the nearby Seven One One Palm, declined to comment on the project until the deal with current unit owners is complete. But by some accounts, DiPinto is onto something in developing more luxury condos in already condo-rich downtown Sarasota.

“For the most part, there has been excellent absorption of almost everything that's being built,” says Amy Drake, president of Property Perspectives, which handles marketing and sales for Seven One One Palm project and the 18-story Echelon on Palm — which only has two units left. “The demand for new construction is always there — buyers want the latest and greatest.”

Buyers, adds Drake, also want to live in an urban setting on the waterfront, just like the corridor between Gulfstream and Palm avenues provides. Case in point: Drake has four buyers from Siesta Key, one buyer from Longboat Key and a buyer from Casey Key, all nearby, slated to move into the Echelon on Palm.

Another boost for new luxury projects: the open, flowing design buyers favor just wasn't around before the past several years. Says Drake: “Even compared to the last building boom, the approach to architecture is very different now.”


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