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SRQ DAILY Jan 30, 2016

Saturday Perspectives Edition

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Saturday Perspectives Edition

"It is hard not to be enthusiastic about The Sarasota Real Estate Market's capacity to grow."

- Michael Moulton, Michael Saunders & Company

[The Report]  Paving Paradise
Susan Nilon, susan.nilon@gmail.com

There is much upset this week over the county’s decision to allow Whole Foods Supermarket to purchase and pave over 4.5 acres of protected wetlands at University and Honore.  What isn’t widely known is that in exchange for that acreage, Whole Foods purchased 34.5 acres in Manatee in order to mitigate the environmental impact. This acreage is a beautiful piece of land made up of hammocks and wetlands along the Manatee River.  Although Whole Foods gave the property to Manatee County, it feeds into the same water basin as the Sarasota property they want to pave over. You should also know that Whole Foods was only required to purchase 8 acres in order for the sale to go through.

Purchasing land in one area in trade for another piece of land that would otherwise be off limits is quite common. It is called Wetland Mitigation and is defined as “wetland enhancement, restoration, creation and/or preservation project that serves to offset unavoidable wetland impacts.” It is a federal requirement that the wetland be mitigated in the same "water basin" as the property they are looking to acquire. The property in question is located on the most southern property in the basin, so the only place mitigate was either way out east or in Manatee County.

It sounds wonderful. We give you 4.5 acres and you give us 34.5 acres. Who could complain?  However, what is wrong with this picture is, why did we have to go all the way out to Manatee County to find comparable land?  Gerry Swarmstadt from the Sierra Club called it “death by a thousand stamps” in her testimony before the Board of County Commissioners. It’s really hard to argue for such a small parcel of land until you realize that it is increasingly becoming harder to find any land that fits that description.  

We used to rely on the government with programs like Florida Forever at a state level and The Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program of Sarasota County at the local level to purchase lands that needed to be preserved from development. Sarasota County’s website state that “acquisition and protection of these lands ensures that their environmentally sensitive nature and habitats will be there for future generations.”  More often than not, this program reminds me of what it’s like to designate a “Canopy Road” or the “Grand Oak” protection—it’s protected until it’s not.  

Organizations like the Audubon Society and the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast are now turning to the strategy of purchasing the land for their foundations in order to protect them. They do this because they know it’s the only way to protect the land from our government. Every time a developer knocks on the dais, someone comes along to justify why we need to overlook the designation. It’s a tradeoff that we will live to regret.

Piece by piece, we are slowly killing the land that we all came here for. I haven’t seen a raccoon or possum in my yard in almost a decade. No longer am I serenaded by the frogs at night or by the birds in the morning. My son has never built a fort in the woods like those that were so common in my youth.  

I am thrilled that we are saving 34.5 acres of wetland in Manatee County.  But we are selling Sarasota’s legacy off in the process.

Susan Nilon hosts The Nilon Report. 

[Real Estate]  Persistence Generates Capacity to Grow
Michael Moulton

Sarasota's Real Estate Market enjoyed a second consecutive record-breaking year for sales transactions. Persistent strength throughout the year in all statistical categories gives rise to confidence that our region not only possesses soundness and stability, but also sufficient capacity to continue its steady growth.

Persistent gains in sales, home prices and demand, along with current consumer confidence in real estate as a prudent long-term investment, are just some of the reasons why I feel so bullish about our market. Add to that homebuilder confidence in the need for new inventory—it was reported that Sarasota/Manatee recorded a three-year high in new construction permits issued—leads virtually all industry experts who have weighed in to declare our region as one with great opportunity to maintain its positive path.

A recent survey of all mid-sized markets across the U.S. showed that our metropolitan area (North Port, Sarasota, Manatee) had the highest concentration of Baby Boomers.  This group remains the most prolific within my business activity, and I hear the same from my high-producing peers. Baby Boomers in many cases have built considerable equity in their current primary residences and as a result are also likely to buy a property with cash, eliminating any potential issues related to credit. In fact, data showed that half of all purchases in Sarasota last month were all-cash transactions. It is estimated that approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 years old each day, and will for the next 14 years. Regularly, Florida is ranked the highest of all states as our country's most desirable place to live. As a result, it is hard not to be enthusiastic about The Sarasota Real Estate Market's capacity to grow.

Michael Saunders & Company recently released an article noting that in the Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte region, sales of all properties exceeded last year's activity by 7 percent with an increase in median values of 15 percent.  Michael Saunders said that the growth in values were, "more than four times the region's normal rate of annual appreciation."  According to TrendGraphix, price escalation since December 2010 has grown more than 40 percent.  It is these persistent gains in pricing and significantly shortened list-to-sale time that are encouraging buyers to make their move into the market. While we are still in a seller's market with tight inventories at all price segments, it is my hope that our sales pace does not slow as a result of inventory limitations. Rather, with market conditions expected to continue to be strong through our forecasted record-breaking tourist season, we anticipate more sellers will be stimulated to get into the game to take advantage of the strong demand.

Michael Moulton is a certified residential specialist broker-associate with Michael Saunders & Company. 

[SOON]  Mardis Gras in SRQ

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler! Don't miss Goodwill Manasota's signature Mardi Gras Gala - a very special night of spectacular entertainment, delicious New Orleans cuisine, colorful characters, beads galore and even a traditional crowning of the King & Queen. Arrive at Michael’s on East on February 4th dressed in your Carnival best and let the good times roll! 

Goodwill Manasota

[SCOOP]  Ornish Reversal Program at SMH
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is now offering the Ornish Reversal Program, a proven lifestyle approach to reverse heart disease without medications or surgery. Participants enroll in a 9-week program featuring 18 four-hour sessions with a group of 12-15 people. The program is based on four key elements: a low-fat, plant-based diet; 30 minutes of daily exercise; stress management; and social support. It has been so effective in undoing years of damage to the heart that Medicare and some major insurances now cover the Ornish program under a new benefit category, intensive cardiac rehabilitation. Some conditions that may qualify you for the Ornish program through your insurance include: heart disease, heart or valve surgery, angioplasty and stent placement. The next group begins its first session March 15. For information or to enroll, call (941) 917-6139.

Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System

[KUDOS]  All Faiths Food Bank Welcomes Young Super Sorters

Children as young as three helped sort fresh fruit and vegetables at All Faiths Food Bank to be loaded onto the Sprout Mobile Farm Market truck. Today’s volunteers were families that are part of the Sarasota Manatee Village Learners, a collaborative of home schoolers who have been helping at the Food Bank for close to two years. The group of about 30, more than half of them children, learned about helping others, working as a team, and the inportance of eating fruits and vegetables.  

All Faith's Food Bank

[SOON]  Get Revved Up at FPRA Motorworks Brewing Event

The craft beer trend is an explosive industry and Motorworks Brewing is at the forefront. On Thursday, February 25 from 5:30-7:30pm, join the Florida Public Relations Association, Central West Coast Chapter for a backstage tour of Motorworks Brewing's historic facility in Bradenton. Sample some award-winning brews and learn how they brew beer, promote, and tie it all into the location's storied past.  Cost is $25 for CWCC-FPRA members; $35 for guests and non-members. Fee includes tour, beer flight and pizza from Flame N’ Stone food truck. Register at the link below. 

Florida Public Relations Association, Central West Coast Chapter

[SCOOP]  Legos Used to Help Heal a Child

At Child Protection Center (CPC), serving Sarasota and DeSoto counties, the clinical staff work with children and their family members to help reduce the scars left from abuse. CPC’s therapists use many methods integrating arts and crafts, sand box play, dolls, puppets, music, and  outdoor play when counseling a child. Recently CPC added Legos to their therapy toolbox. With a project funded through Gulf Coast Gives donors, CPC was able to purchase $500 worth of Legos to use at their downtown Sarasota location and Venice, Northport, and Arcadia facilities. These iconic blocks provide an fun way to lower anxiety levels and allow children to open up to therapists about their experiences. Lego blocks have also been known to be used in helping autistic children improve socialization skills in working together.  

Child Protection Center

[SOON]  Circus Sarasota Supports Grade-Level Reading

The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a communitywide effort to help all children read on grade level by the end of third grade, is coming to Circus Sarasota. The February 12-14 performances will recognize the 388 school-level winners of the Campaign's inaugural Attendance Awareness Poster Contest, which was funded by The Patterson Foundation. The winning posters raise awareness about the importance of school attendance as a solution area of the Campaign. Working with the Circus Arts Conservatory, the Suncoast Campaign provided winners with four complimentary tickets to the 2016 Circus Sarasota winter performance. To view winning posters and learn more, click on the link below. 

Sun coast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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