Market snapshot: Hidden Bay in Osprey Mar26

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Market snapshot: Hidden Bay in Osprey

By Chris Angermann, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Hidden Bay is both a well-established and up-and-coming neighborhood. The condo community in Osprey has been around since 1997, when it was developed. But only two of its three sections were built out over the next four years. The third and final phase, which fell victim to the real estate downturn, is poised finally to become a reality.

Located just off the Tamiami Trail south of Spanish Point in Osprey, Hidden Bay is an attractive community. Behind the gated entrance, a large loop, Hidden Bay Drive, circles a scenic lagoon, which features a picturesque walkway that leads to a small island covered with trees.

Mature royal palms and appealing landscapes surround airy Key West-style buildings with metal roofs, exterior stairwells, white railings and spacious decks and lanais.

One of the built-out sections, Baypointe Vista, consists of three condo buildings, each six stories tall, with spectacular views of the Intracoastal Waterway and Casey Key. A 500-yard, raised wooden boardwalk winds through wetlands and a dense mangrove forest, with a gazebo along the way, and culminating in a fishing pier that extends 200 feet from shore.

Lake Vista has six four-story buildings that, along with the community clubhouse and two tennis courts, face the lagoon.

Altogether, the 96 two- and three-bedroom units range in size from 1,500 to 2,400 square feet. Most of the apartments have interior lake views or backside bay vistas. Parking garages are both on the ground floor or in front of the buildings.

Hidden Bay has seven separate condo associations and one master association for the whole community. Fees range from $497 to $665 a month, depending on the building and association.

Don Micurec has lived in the Baypointe Vista section of Hidden Harbor since 2004. “I like the out-of-the-way quaintness,” he says.

When and his wife moved there from a large house in Venice, he wanted a lot of storage, and Hidden Harbor fit the bill. “How many condos do you see with a three-car, enclosed garage?” he asks.

He also likes the convenience. “As I’m getting older, I’m thinking down the road, and I’m pleased that there is an elevator large enough to accommodate a scooter.”

Ron Suponcic and his wife, Bozena, are both Realtors with Re/Max Alliance Group and know Hidden Bay well. They currently have one condo listed and one pending sale.

“Most of the residents here are full timers or seasonal — professionals, retirees and people who own two or three homes and come here for a good part of the year to beat the cold,” says Ron.

Some of the buildings also have one or two renters, and a few families in residence like the proximity to Pine View School for gifted students.

Recalling the history of Hidden Bay’s interrupted development, Ron Suponcic mentions that the third section was all set to go in 2005. The infrastructure — water, sewer, electric — was already in place for three buildings with 54 additional condos. “They had a sales office in the clubhouse and were selling units from pictures,” he says, “and then the bottom dropped out.”

He is excited that there is renewed interest in finishing the community. The land sale is active with contract, while the buyer is doing due diligence, with an anticipated closing date before July of this year.

Part of the attraction is that so many elements are already taken care of, from the infrastructure to a kayak launch to the clubhouse with its heated swimming pool, fitness center and recreation room — all reducing the cost of development.

At the same time, Hidden Bay’s location is convenient, inviting buyers looking for a quiet place that offers a leisurely Florida lifestyle. Shopping and restaurants are nearby, including a Walmart Supercenter across the Trail and the Westfield Square Mall up the road. For sports and activity-oriented residents, Oscar Scherer State Park, the Sarasota Family YMCA at Potter Park, a number of golf courses and Gulf beaches are all within easy driving distance.

Venice and downtown Sarasota are just 20 to 25 minutes to the south and north, respectively.

As a result, real estate activity has been steady over the past two years, with eight sales in 2013 and nine in 2014, ranging in price from $174,500 to $519,300.

Currently, there are three active listings, from $220,000 to $349,900, one active with contract, and two pending sales.