Over the past few decades, neighborhoods near downtown Sarasota have experienced considerable development. The first came in Laurel Park south of Ringling Boulevard. More recently, the Rosemary District and Gillespie Park west of Washington Boulevard (US 301) have seen dramatic revitalization and gentrification, with house prices soaring.
As a result, developers, investors and other home buyers are turning to Park East, north of Fruitville Road. Perhaps the last well-established working-class neighborhood near the city center, it still has affordable properties. Although home prices have risen 39.6% over the past year in some sections, the overall median price is $224,500 for single-family homes and condos.
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Park East is an eclectic neighborhood that stretches from Washington Avenue East to North Tuttle Avenue. Its northern boundary is 12th Street. The Ed Smith Baseball Stadium is within the boundaries of Park East, as is the Agape Christian School.
There are stand-alone developments like Hidden Lake Village, two-story condominiums like Park View at La Costa Circle and Hunters Glen, and new apartment communities like Cocoanut Bay. A mobile home neighborhood is on the southeast corner of East Avenue and 12th Street.
Shenandoah Park further south on Eighth Street is a pet-friendly and family-friendly spot with a children’s playground and picnic facilities. It also houses a dramatic and modern red sculpture, created by Saul Howard in 1975, which stands over 10 feet tall.
The blocks immediately south of 12th Street, and along Lime Street and the old railroad tracks, have warehouses, industrial stores, and other commercial facilities. Many residential properties have partial commercial zoning established in the 1950s.
The vast majority of properties in Park East are single family homes and duplexes, some dating from the 1940s. The architecture is primarily ranch and cottage style. The dwellings built from the 1950s to the 1970s offer two to four bedrooms.
The residential sections of Park East have sidewalks and mature foliage throughout. You can see oaks, pines, banyan trees and many shrubs, giving the area an attractive and well-lived atmosphere. Still, it’s quiet and friendly, with families and people walking their dogs.
As a growing neighborhood, Park East offers plenty of opportunities for buyers looking for properties they can improve. Many homes could benefit from a facelift and interior upgrade.
“It changes quickly. Lots of turnover and revitalization going on,” said Sherry Johnson, realtor at Coldwell Banker.
His listing at 2171 Eighth Street is a two-bed, one-bath house with 1,362 square feet of living space. Built in 1952, it sits on 0.27 acres and has a small storage area in the back, as well as two RV hookups, hooked up to water, electricity and sewer. The interior has been remodeled. “It’s zoned half commercial/half residential, not easy to find these days,” Johnson said. “You can rent the house or live there and have a business out back.”
The asking price is $499,000.
Park East’s demographics include retirees, working people, and families with children. “It’s a high-rent area because a lot of investors have been buying homes,” Johnson said.
The schools in the district are Tuttle Elementary, Booker Middle, and Booker High.
The main draw, of course, is the convenient location. All downtown amenities – restaurants, shops, galleries and arts organizations – are five minutes away. Lido beach and St. Armands are not much further. As a major north-south artery, US 301 connects to the Tamiami Trail less than a mile to the south. I-75 is just a 10 minute drive east on Fruitville Road.
According to realtor.com, there were 11 condos and homes on the market in Park East at press time, with asking prices ranging from $169,000 to $325,000. An additional property for sale, a home on 1.04 acres directly on Fruitville Road near Tuttle Avenue, is priced at $1,168,950.