Thursday, August 18, 2016

School Days

Sarasota County has many great schools. As a Realtor in Sarasota with Re/Max Alliance Group, I am often asked by buyers about our schools. I am a hometown ‘boy’ who grew up in Sarasota, and I was in the very first graduating class of Cardinal Mooney High School. I began my school days on the very first day of the existence of St. Martha’s School in 1950 and my last year of high school was at the Fruitville Road location of Cardinal Mooney High. It seemed that they were literally building the school right ahead of my class, and in fact, some classes were held in the church pews until the classroom was ready!
Cardinal Mooney High School was established by Archbishop Joseph P. Hurley and first opened in 1959 in temporary quarters at Bell Shopping Plaza with classes held in eight rented stores. We went to nearby St. Martha's Elementary School for physical education classes and did reference work at the public library. 
In early 1960 a 34-acre tract of land on Fruitville Road was purchased as the permanent location for Cardinal Mooney High School. Students moved into the first classroom buildings in November, 1960 and I graduated two years later. Today, Sarasota County Schools have 41,395 students attending 62 schools in grades PK and K-12. My how we’ve grown!
There are many great schools in Sarasota County:

If you are looking for a great home to raise your kids near any of our schools in Sarasota, Florida, I can assist with finding just the right location. Call me at 941-315-1185.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Times Gone By

I have lived in Sarasota all my life and have been with Re/Max Alliance Group for more than 15 years. My hometown of Sarasota has seen many changes over the decades. For a very long time, my wife and I used to shop at the Publix and eat lunch at the restaurants at the Ringling Shopping Center. For now, at least we can still park under a tree and ‘brown bag it’ in the parking lot. It’s a little sad for those of us who remember the good ‘ol days.

In 1955, the excitement around town was the opening of Sarasota's first shopping center on Ringling Boulevard.  The Ringling Shopping Center with Publix Supermarket as its anchor, opened for business on what had been a golf driving range. The first stores in the center were Beauteria Beauty Shop, Belk-Lindsey, Coach Butterfield Toys, Center Shoe Repair, Jimmy Crews Barber Shop, Crowders Bros. Hardware, Darby Cleaners, Diana Shops, Grants Sweet Shop, the S&H Stamp Reception Center, Touchton Rexall Drug Store and F.W. Woolworth.

By the end of the 1950’s, Sarasota shoppers had two major shopping centers to take their business to. The second shopping center, South Gate, opened in 1957, commerce shifted away from downtown, and the once lively downtown area went into a downward spiral.  Except for some cosmetic upgrades and changes in the stores though, the Ringling Shopping Center remained as is had always been until 2010. At that point Publix moved to it’s Tamiami Trail location in the former Sarasota Herald Tribune Building and tentative plans were made to open a neighborhood Walmart at the old Ringling Shopping Center location. Those plans were rejected in 2013 and our little shopping center is now mostly vacant. But the good news is that the Sarasota Downtown has revived into a very vibrant destination to live, work and play.

As for the Ringling Shopping Center, we still enjoy our bag lunches and our happy memories of days gone by. Maybe someday that little former gem of a shopping center will be revived. In the meantime, I am going strong, serving the real estate needs of home town. If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Sarasota, call me at 941-315-1185.

Credits: Jeff LaHurd, Sarasota Patch, The Observer

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Rosemary District

Living in Sarasota all my life and being a Realtor who sells in downtown Sarasota, I am very excited to hear all the news blurbs about the makeover of the up-and-coming Rosemary District. The unique Rosemary District, once known as Overtown, was part of the original plat of the Town of Sarasota in 1885.  If you're somewhat old-fashioned and maybe a bit romantic, you’re likely to fall in love with the Rosemary District in downtown Sarasota.
The Rosemary District holds deep roots in Sarasota. In fact, the area’s historical significance dates back the area’s founding in the 19th Century. The Rosemary District thrived throughout Sarasota’s earliest years, but as shopping malls and new housing developments tore people away from downtown in the 1970's and 80's, the District suffered along with other downtown communities. By the 1980's, many of its buildings were vacant and its businesses dead. Yet downtown Sarasota's redevelopment has spun into Rosemary.
In 1995, residents and local businesses formed a group to raise funds for restoring and modernizing the Rosemary District. As you walk the streets of this charming neighborhood, you can’t help but feel the cultural journey the area is taking. With its dynamic architecture, mom and pop shops, cafes, boutiques, art studios and galleries, the Rosemary District is not just seen as a center for urban development but also one of the roots of the cultural heart of Sarasota.
 Today the Rosemary District is a diverse and thriving community, the setting for a variety of locally-owned small businesses – caf├ęs, boutiques, galleries, and art studios – as well as attractive residential properties ranging from charming bungalows to spacious high-rise condos. The Rosemary District is filled with places to go and things to do.
I, and Re/Max Alliance Group in Sarasota, remain excited and poised to serve you and help you to enjoy the wonderful future that downtown Sarasota is embracing. If you are looking for a great place to live in downtown Sarasota, call me at 941-315-1185.