Longboat Key’s Aria Condominium holds retail value of near $62 million

Construction of the newest condominium project on Longboat Key in eight years has commenced. Developers began construction this month on Aria, a 16-unit luxury condo on the southern end of Longboat Key. The new condominium units are said to have a retail value of $62 million.

Thirteen of the units are already under contract according to an agent for Michael Saunders and Company who is now director of sales and marketing for the project.

The project marks a new dawn for Longboat Key, which has not been the site of a new residential project since the 29-unit Positano condominium was completed in 2006.

Aria isn’t the only project expected to come out of the ground soon. Developers also are getting ready to build Infinity, an 11-unit luxury condo on the former site of the Holiday Beach Resort.

The Aria site is a five-acre parcel at 2251 Gulf of Mexico Drive, and sold for $18 million in 2006 to a developer that planned to build town houses.

The market fell before anything was built and BBC Key LLC of Northbrook, Illinois, bought it.

Developer Jay Tallman of Ascentia Development Group had been looking at the property for years and was approached by BBC about developing it.

The Aria property is known as Villa am Meer, and it’s occupied by a 1935 estate home designed by John Phillips, the architect of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

The developers have spent nearly $1 million to restore the villa as the residents’ club, containing a gathering room, caterer’s kitchen, private wine cellar, guest suite and outdoor terrace with beachside fire pit, plus a caretaker’s apartment. The original stone entry gate was also restored.

Tallman developed such luxury communities as Orchid Beach Club, Beau Ciel and The Founders Club.

When sales began, the units were priced from $3.44 million to $4.25 million, with floor plans ranging from 3,804 square feet to 3,940 square feet. The three remaining residences are priced from $3.6 million to $3.85 million.

Crossgate Partners LLC, a real estate investment firm in Suwanee, Georgia, is developing Infinity, which is located on a vacant 2.5-acre tract at 4765 Gulf of Mexico Drive.

The company had proposed a condominium called Bleu Claire in 2005, but those plans came to a close during the economic downturn.

Units in the five-story Infinity building are priced from $2.9 million to $4.95 million, and range from 3,638 square feet to a 6,370-square-foot penthouse. A clubhouse, fitness center and beachfront pool and spa also are planned.


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