WELCOME! Feel free to search for a single family home, villa, or condo through our ADVANCED SEARCH feature. This feature allows you to search by specific areas, including Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice. If you are a golfer, simply select "Top "5" Golf Communities" and you will be directed to a sampling of some of the area's best golf course communities. Or, if you just want to be in the "Ranch" check out Lakewood Ranch. Happy home hunting! Close
Page Summary

“Go West” of Trail! A Sarasota Rebuilding Renaissance near Ringling Museum

Posted by Robert Casella on Thursday, January 12th, 2012 at 5:52pm.

Some of you may be familiar with the historic district near the Ringling Museum. Truly, it is one of the most unique real estate areas of the country that I have seen (for better or for worse, I have lived in 5 different states). Why such an emphatic statement? This area has an incredibly diverse and eclectic assortment of older and newer homes ranging from the low 100’s to the millions of dollars. At first blush, maybe this actually turns you off. I get it. However, if you have the moxie to give a little love to an older home—or tear down the existing home and start afresh—then take a look. A somewhat quiet rebuilding renaissance is occurring in the Ringling Museum district, and now is the time to buy.

The historic underpinnings of the area stem from the influence of John and Mable Ringling, of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus fame. The couple hired an architect in 1925 to build what is now known as Cà d’Zan, a dazzling 56 room mansion with rooms adorned with original art and furnishings. During their travels, Mable had apparently developed an affection for Venetian buildings, and such affections were indelibly infused into the Italian architecture of the mansion. Or so the story goes. Either way, this magnificent mansion, with its collection of art and furnishings, is the foundation for what was to become a prominent historic district in Sarasota.

Not surprisingly, more residential development would soon follow. Like Cà d’Zan, the homes along the waterfront have breathtaking views that can only be personally experienced and not imagined. The same could be said for some of the prices! Nonetheless, a cropping of homes, slightly inward from the waterfront, also began to pop up. Many of these homes were built in the 1950’s and certainly show their age—indeed, a common theme has been to tear down the existing structure and rebuild. Nonetheless, there are still several older homes that are ripe for remodeling and have such en vogue flooring like terrazzo, which is a feature consistent with the Italian influence brought to the area by John and Mable Ringling. With a little grinding and polishing, the original terrazzo floors will exhibit their original splendor and give your home a fresh and exciting look.

Aside from the prominent historical foundation, the residential development in the area benefits from a superb location “west of trail.” The “west of trail” phrase simply refers to those homes west of US 41 (and on or near Sarasota’s famed waterfront). Travel a few minutes on US 41 South, and you are in the heart of downtown Sarasota. Alternatively, travel a few minutes east on University Parkway and you will find yourself on the precipice of Lakewood Ranch, with an abundance of new stores, boutiques, services, and restaurants. So go west of trail, and become a part of the rebuilding renaissance near Ringling Museum—a historic residential retreat that doubles as the gateway to Sarasota awaits you.

Robert Casella, CLHMS - Licensed Realtor
Certified Luxury Home Specialist

Leave a Comment