Touring Sapphire Shores in Sarasota from the water is similar to taking a boat trip along the Mediterranean coast off Civitavecchia in Italy: you simply cannot take your eyes off the magnificent real estate. This was the intention of the late circus magnate John Ringling, a man who fell in love with Italian coastal villages so much that he wanted to replicate them in Sarasota.
Sapphire Shores, also known as Indian Beach, is where Ringling chose to build Cá d’Zan, his very own Venetian palazzo, in 1926. Completion of this palace was all it took to encourage others to take advantage of the scenic waterfront location and build more Mediterranean mansions; as a result, Sapphire Shores now possesses the most sumptuous collection of historic real estate in Sarasota.
The properties in Sapphire Shores are among the most valuable in Southwest Florida, and this has a lot to do with its location. Aside from being a historic waterfront subdivision, this neighborhood is where the Ringling Museum, the College of Art and Design, and the downtown USF campus are located. Walking to all the galleries, museums and performance spaces of Downtown Sarasota takes just five minutes, and everything else you can wish for is also in proximity: shops, restaurants, cafes, parks, a public kayak launch, golf courses, and the white sandy beaches of Siesta Key.
Available listings in Sapphire Shores do not come on the market as often as prospective buyers would like. As of mid-2018, pricing started under $750K for a three-bedroom Florida ranch-style house built on 1,724 square feet of interior on a lot measuring more than 8,200 square feet. A three-bedroom Modernistic mansion with four bathrooms and separate guest quarters was listed at $1.3 million in July 2018.
Real estate investors should keep in mind that Sapphire Shores was one of the few Sarasota neighborhoods that was virtually untouched by the housing market downturn of 2008. This is a community where values can be safely projected to continue appreciating.