55+ community offers central location and excellent amenities
Age-restricted retirement communities first started in Arizona in the late 1950s when Delbert Webb, the owner of the New York Yankees, built Sun City there. After he brought his “Del Webb” community to Florida in the early 1960s, a wave of 55+ neighborhoods inundated the Sunshine State. Village Plaza on the east side of Beneva Road between Webber Street and Bee Ridge Road was part of that decade-long groundswell.
Developed from the mid- to late 1970s, Village Plaza has it all — central location, affordability attractive landscaping, and excellent amenities. Its 150 units are nestled among palms, oak trees and Norfolk pines, and surrounded by well-landscaped shrubbery, providing a quiet atmosphere and sense of privacy. The buildings feature appealing, Spanish Mediterranean-style architecture, with white stucco exteriors and red barrel-tile roofs.
Village Plaza’s residences come in two types. There are 62, apartment-style condominiums with one bedroom, one bathroom and a carport. The 88, two-bed, 2-bath attached villas have two-car garages. Floor areas range from just under 1,000 to nearly 1,700 square feet.
“The villas have very nice floor plans. You feel like you’re in a single-family home,” said Joe Cleary, an associate broker with Re/Max Alliance. “Their high ceilings were ahead of the time when they were built.”
Cleary has been selling homes in Village Plaza for the past four years and currently has two active listings. His 2-bed, 1-bath condo at 3647 Puerta Court, Unit 424 has 995 square feet of living space and an asking price of $139,000. The two-story unit is bright and airy, with a large window in the dining room. A rear, screened patio overlooks a lush, tropical green area with lawns and flowering bushes.
Cleary’s other listing, at 3613 Naranja Way #8508, is an attached villa with 1,680 square feet under air and priced at $255,900. A vintage chandelier graces the vaulted living room, and there are plantation shutters and crown molding throughout. The updated kitchen has black, granite counters and black appliances.
Homeowners association fees in Village Plaza vary from $340 to $400 a month, depending on square footage and pay for landscaping, exterior painting and roof repair. “The community is well-funded. There have been no special assessments in recent years,” said Cleary.
The demographics are mostly retirees, with a 50/50 ratio of year-round residents to snowbirds.
They all take advantage of a variety of activities at the large clubhouse with meeting rooms and a large library. Other amenities include a heated swimming pool, sauna, exercise room, shuffle ball and pickle ball courts, and a community BBQ grilling area. The billiard room inside the clubhouse has just been redone.
Because Beneva Road is one of Sarasota’s main north-south arteries, running from 12th Street all the way to South Tamiami Trail, Village Plaza lies smack in the middle of commercial shopping and restaurant venues. Starbuck’s, a Publix grocery store, Webber’s Hot Dogs, and Guerrero’s Bakery and Mexican Restaurant are all within easy walking distance.
“The location is right in the middle of everything,” said Cleary. “A secret, backdoor entrance takes you right to Walgreens on Bee Ridge Road so you don’t have to walk around on Beneva Road.”
Residents also love the proximity and easy access to everything Sarasota has to offer. Interstate 75 and Siesta Key beaches are three miles east and west via Bee Ridge Road, respectively. Downtown is just a 10-minute drive. Banks, shopping malls, fitness centers like Crunch and YouFit Health Club are nearby.
The Village Green Golf Course is right across the street. One of Sarasota’s older links, the popular, 18-hole facility has been in business since the 1960s when it was built on an orange grove. Open to the public, it offers enjoyable play to rookie and veteran golfers alike, as well as professional instructions, pro shop, chipping and putting practice areas, and a snack bar & grill.
Because of all the benefits, homes don’t stay on the market for long. Currently, there are four listings, ranging in price from $139,000 to $284,900.
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