Driving to Grand Palm in the villages of Venice, near the Myakka river, is like venturing into a beautiful natural park. A divided boulevard leads from the entrance to Center Road to the south, past 1,000 feet of dense, lush forest on either side before meeting houses.
In 2017, the entrance to River Road became the main entry point, flanked by walls with signage and two beautiful towers. Sidewalks pass under their arcades. Gray stone and white stucco facades, blue rail balconies, and tiled roofs surrounded by shrubs and tall palm trees provide an inviting glimpse of what’s to come inside.
Developed by Neal Communities as of 2012, Grand Palm encompasses 1,005 acres, the first neighborhood approved under Sarasota’s 2050 Plan. “It was a long approval process and had to meet requirements such as saving 30% of open space,” said Leisa Weintraub, vice president of marketing and creative director for Neal Communities. “The development team has done a lot of work to save the tall trees and preserve as much nature as possible, and have woven homes among them.”
As a result, Grand Palms has numerous reserves and wetlands, and 40 retention ponds. All residences have a view of the seafront or of reserves or green belts. For sections of several interior roads, you see no houses at all.
An eight-acre island, covered with flat pines, sits in the middle of a 32-acre central lake. Two wooden walkways connect it to the mainland. With a walking trail, kayak livery, small fishing dock, and a covered observation deck, Lookout Point Island is a popular spot with residents.
When Grand Palm opened in September 2012, it garnered considerable public interest and enthusiasm. “I remember the day because it was so hot,” Weintraub said with a laugh. “About 4,000 people came this weekend. On Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t speak.
She continued, “Initially we had five to six models. At the end of this year, we added four more. We have provided many different options for empty nesters, retirees, and families with children. We wanted to have an integrated demographics.
Buyers could choose from chalets, townhouses, and single- or two-story single-family homes. Living spaces vary from 1,100 to over 3,300 square feet. The roofs are in flat tiles and corbelled in different colors. Many residences have garages for three cars. The current value of homes ranges from $ 300,000 to $ 800,000.
In 2017, Where to Retire magazine named Grand Palm one of its 50 Best Picks for Blueprint Communities in the United States.
Some of the Grand Palm subdivisions are separately closed, have maintenance and have their own amenities. The homeowners association fees range from $ 310 to $ 594 per quarter, accordingly. Membership fees for the Masters Association range from $ 214.84 to $ 572.89 per term. There are also CDD fees.
As a luxury community, Grand Palm offers a wide range of amenities for everyone. Walkers, joggers and cyclists use the miles of sidewalks and trails that wind through the community. Dog owners love the two parks – Big Bark and Playful Paws.
A large picnic park on the large lake has a children’s play area, green areas for children, tennis and pétanque courts, a pond and a large resort-style swimming pool . The long, curved slide is a popular feature.
In the southern part of the community, there is a clubhouse with a recreation area and fitness center, pool and spa, and eight pickleball courts. “I was there four weeks ago and saw a lot of people walking, participating in aqua aerobics classes and working out in the fitness center,” Weintraub said.
Families with children appreciate that the two district schools, Taylor Ranch Elementary and Venice Middle, are within 3.5 km. Venice High School is 11 km away.
The location of Grand Palm is also convenient. Accessing US 41 and I-75 via River Road to the south and north, respectively, takes less than five minutes. Venice city center is just a 15-minute drive away.
To date, Grand Palm is three-quarters complete. Originally, it was planned for 1,999 reception sites, but Neal Communities decided on a limit of 1,736 residences. Sales to date include 1,449 homes, of which 1,341 are closed. “There are still a few sections that can be completed,” Weintraub said.
A new, ready to occupy, 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom home with 2,288 square feet of air is available for $ 665,990. There are also two resales currently on the market. One is a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom single-family residence with 2,273 square feet of living space, priced at $ 574,777. The other, a two-story, 4 bedroom, 4 bath, 3,943 square foot air unit, has an asking price of $ 715,000.
“Grand Palm is one of our biggest developments and we are very proud of it,” Weintraub said.