By Roger Drouin
It’s difficult when Peter Urbain leaves Siesta Key behind to head back to his home in the suburbs of Chicago. “Going back in the winter is very hard,” said Urbain. “It is like, ‘why am I doing this?’”
In addition to the change in weather — from balmy to cold — Urbain and his wife are leaving behind their second floor unit at Gulf & Bay Bayside, which is just a short stroll from the community’s private deeded beach access. Leaving this winter retreat makes the trip back north even more difficult.
“The unit we have is three bedrooms with a loft area upstairs,” Urbain said. “It is very bright and sunny.” And Urbain notes that the complex, with its Old Key West feel, “is wonderful.”
Each year, the couple spends about four or five vacations at Gulf & Bay Bayside, and for the rest of the year the unit is available for rent. They purchased their unit three years ago, with the intention of renting out the condominium until they retire and are able to spend more time on Siesta.
“We were very fortunate to find Gulf & Bay Bayside because it is a combination of a place that we can retire in, but also a great place for rentals [in the meantime],” Urbain said.
Urbain said the amenities — including good access to the beach, fishing pier, two pools, and a walking path — make the community a perfect place for the future retirement home for the couple, who are in their fifties. But the amenities also make the community a good fit for the couple’s future grandkids as well.
“We wanted a place that also had facilities that were kid friendly,” Urbain told Siesta Sand.
Other amenities include two tennis courts, clubhouse, exercise facility, grills, and picnic area.
Gulf & Bay Bayside has 21 one-bedroom, 54 two-bedroom, and 26 three-bedroom units in a townhome setting. “The setting is definitely ‘Key West Village Style’ with all the beauty and charm that goes with it,” said Bob Ruiz, a realtor with Key Solutions Real Estate who has two units currently listed for sale in the community.
Located on the bay across the street from Siesta Key Beach, the community offers the Intracoastal Waterway views.
“Gulf & Bay Bayside serves as both rental investment property as well as personal use as vacation/seasonal property for owners, with about 60 percent of the condominiums available for rent, and the other 40 percent used for personal use,” said Ruiz.
“The weekly rental policy allows for maximizing rental income, and the choice of one, two, or three bedrooms meets the needs of most families,” Ruiz said. “This also makes it one of the prime investment properties on Siesta Key. On-site management further increases the investment value.”
Urbain said he and his wife often stroll the community’s walking path after dinner. “The walking path is this incredible bonus,” he said.
All units feature interior laundry and a garage. In addition to the parking space, the garage comes in useful, Urbain said, to store beach chairs and other accessories that are left for renters to use.
The units were built in 1988. “HOA fees at Gulf & Bay Bayside are ‘quite reasonable,’ at a range of $1,751 for a one–bedroom unit to $1,936 for a three-bedroom condo on a quarterly basis,” Ruiz noted. The fees include building exterior, cable TV, on-site management, community pools, tennis courts, clubhouse and fitness facility, escrow reserves, flood and building insurance, pest control, trash removal, and water/sewer.
Seven units have sold over the past year on MLS. The sale prices ranged from $289,900 to $560,000, and many of the units have great rental histories.
Here is a sampling of some of those sales:
• A one-bedroom, one bath unit with 959 square feet sold for $289,900, or $302 a square foot, in May, 2015. According to the MLS listing, the unit featured all new kitchen cabinets, new stainless steel appliances that include stove, dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave plus all new granite counter tops in both the kitchen and bathroom. It included new carpeting and was freshly painted.
• In June, 2015, another one-bedroom, one bath unit sold for $315,000, or $328 a square foot.
• A two-bedroom, two bath second-floor unit with 1,280 square feet sold for $472,500, or $369 a square foot in September, 2015. The kitchens and baths were updated in the unit.
• A two bedroom, two bath unit with 1,280 square feet sold for $560,000 in July, 2015. The sale of the first-floor unit came out to $437 a square foot.
Five units are currently listed for sale. The units ranged from $499,900 to $699,000 in list price, as of press time.
• The units for sale include a two bedroom, two bath unit listed by Ruiz, of Key Solutions Real Estate, for $675,000, or $452 a square foot. The 1,280-square-foot, updated unit has a “beautifully renovated kitchen with wood cabinets, granite and brand new stainless appliances,” Ruiz said. Both baths have also been renovated, and the unit is turn-key furnished.
“What sets this unit apart from other units is the Intracoastal views especially from the screened lanai,” Ruiz said.
• Another two-bedroom unit is listed for $549,900, or $428 a square foot. The end unit has southern exposure for plenty of sunlight, according to the MLS listing.
• Ruiz also has a separate, three bedroom, two bath unit listed for sale at $675,000, or $452 a square foot. The unit has 1,495 square feet. “This 3/2 has a beautifully renovated kitchen with white cabinets, granite, and stainless appliances,” Ruiz said. “The master bath has been completely redone and is lovely.” The unit has a main level master bedroom suite with 2 bedrooms, loft sitting area, and bath on the second floor. “The lanai looks out on a peaceful and private setting,” Ruiz said.
• A three bedroom, two bath unit, with 1,645 square feet of living space, with a $699,000 list price was under contract as of press time. The unit’s features include an updated kitchen and solid-oak stairs.