Beachside Resort Style at Sarasota Surf & Racquet Club
By Roger Drouin
Built on over 13 acres of beachfront property, with four tennis courts (including two clay courts) and one of the Key’s few beachside pools, Sarasota Surf and Racquet Club is a resort-like condominium community, located mid-island at 5900 Midnight Pass Road. And in fact, most of the owners at the 189-unit community rent their units for the majority of the year, and the community is operated more like a resort than a condominium, said Carlin Strouse, General Manager for Sarasota Surf & Racquet.
The vacationers who end up renting at Sarasota Surf & Racquet Club enjoy the beachside location and amenities. About 70 percent of those renters end up returning, Strouse told Siesta Sand.
“You can’t beat it,” added Realtor Ty Bruno, who has a 1,352-square foot, two-bedroom tower unit listed for sale in the community. “You literally walk out the door and are at the beach.”
“It is a beautiful area, a beautiful beach,” said the realtor with Horizon Realty.
The direct beachside location is the biggest draw, added Realtor Bob Ruiz, with Key Solutions Real Estate. “Fabulous Gulf views and the ability to walk out your door and be on the beach without crossing a road is a huge factor in the desirability of this community,” Ruiz said.
Bruno said the community’s on-site rental office and minimum three-day rental period make it convenient for investment seekers to rent their units. Owners who participate in the on-site rental program take advantage of having everything taken care of for a percentage of the charged rent, Bruno said. From scheduling rentals to maid services, the office makes renting out units easier for owners, Bruno said.
The minimum three-day rental period is less common on the Key, and offers more flexibility to owners who are renting their units. “They can rent to someone coming into town for business for just a few days,” Bruno said.
Most renters who vacation at the Sarasota Surf & Racquet Club opt to stay for longer than three nights, however. The average rental period at the resort is a five-night rental, Strouse noted.
Operated as a resort
Of 189 units, 155 owners take part in the community’s rental program and rent their units approximately fulltime, Strouse said. Those owners typically only use the unit for one month or less at a time, and rent it out for the remainder of the year through the rental office. The other unit owners are seasonal residents who rent for a shorter period of the year or are fulltime residents.
“It is a beautiful property and beach,” Strouse said. “It’s a great community that offers things like live music, yoga and organized tennis tournaments.” Tennis aficionados are drawn to the four courts, and especially the clay courts, Strouse noted.
The community is operated like a resort; it has a fulltime staff of 36 — from yards maintenance to maids who clean rented units weekly and after renters check out.
Palm Bay Club, located next door, is also operated in a similar fashion.
Units at Sarasota Surf & Racquet Club range from tennis court villas (at the front of the property next to the tennis courts), a 3 story building with views of the grounds, 2 five story buildings with Gulf views, and the Tower – a 12 story, 83 unit building, with Gulf views. Amenities include: two heated pools, including the Beachside pool and a Courtyard Pool; Four Tennis Courts (two Har-Tru courts and 2 Laykold courts); fitness center; business center with complimentary Computer Access and Printers; Wireless Internet throughout the property; Recreation Room available for small gatherings; beach pavilion and beachside BBQ grills; beach cabana chair rentals, canopies and umbrellas available for rental.
Most of the units have some degree of water view, with only about 40 not having a water view, Strouse said.
“As is the case on all of Siesta, units with direct Gulf views come with a higher price tag than others – the nearer the beach and the better the view, mean relatively higher prices,” Ruiz said. “All things being equal, larger units are in greater demand and carry a higher price tag.”
There have been eight sales in the past year. Recent sales have ranged from $645 to $520 a square foot. The sale price was influenced largely by type of water view and location on the property.
There are two units listed for sale:
The unit listed by Horizon Realty is a two-bedroom, two-bathroom with 1,352 square feet. It is listed for $765,000, or $565 a square foot. It has a Gulf view from the enclosed sunroom. The unit is owned by daughter and son-in-law of Jack Hanna, Zookeeper and TV host, and the couple is selling the unit so they can purchase a unit on Florida’s east coast, Bruno said. “The unit is very clean and well kept,” Bruno noted. “It’s nicely furnished and set up for someone to move in or rent it out, or do both.”
Another, larger tower unit with panoramic water views, including from the interior living areas, is listed for $1.55 million. Its center-tower location affords the direct water views. The completely renovated unit has two bedrooms and two baths, with 1,789 square feet. The listing price comes out to $866 a square foot.