Located south of Clark Road and comprising more than 1,500 homes, Gulf Gate is a pleasant, residential area with attractive properties, quiet streets and a great central location. Developed in stages, it features several subdivisions between Beneva Road and Tamiami Trail, including Gulf Gate Estates, built in the 1960s, and Gulf Gate Woods, developed in the ’70s. Gulf Gate East, on the other side of Beneva Road, followed in the 1980s.
At a time when Sarasota extended southward, there was a smattering of houses dating back to the 1940s. But serious development didn’t occur until the Bispham family, which owned Bayside Dairy, sold their large property holdings in 1957 to First Development Corporation (FDC). The family’s stamp remains: Bispham Road runs through Gulf Gate Estates.
After the creation of the Gulf Gate Community Association in February of 1963, FDC opened its sales office at 2100 Gulf Gate Drive (now in Gulf Gate Village) and offered a variety of single-family, Florida ranch-style homes to prospective buyers.
Lots were generous, at least a quarter acre. Preserving the remnants of the original orange and lemon groves, almost every homesite had one or more citrus trees. At harvest time, homeowners often left the extra fruit curbside for passersby to take. Unfortunately, in the 1990s, canker destroyed most of the trees.
Still, Gulf Gate is blessed with lush greenery – mature Norfolk Pines, live oaks and a variety of palm trees, as well as ample shrubbery. With small ponds, meandering roads, and well-kept properties, reflecting pride of ownership, the neighborhoods project quiet tranquility and a comfortable living atmosphere.
“It’s a great area,” said Robert Krasow, a realtor with Michael Saunders and Company, who has lived in Gulf Gate Woods for the past few years. “When I moved down here, I discovered the neighborhood and fell in love with it. People are friendly. You can walk everywhere.”
He continued, “It’s a true neighborhood in the old sense – everyone knows one another, says hello, respects each other’s privacy, and socializes when they want to. It’s a special kind of place.”
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Residents include retirees, working professionals, and families with children. Parents send their kids to Gulf Gate Elementary, located in the middle of Gulf Gate Estates, and Sarasota Middle and Riverview High School.
The Gulf Gate Library, the busiest branch in Sarasota’s library system, was started in 1977 in a storefront. Six years later, it opened its doors at the current location on Curtiss Avenue. That building was replaced in 2015 by a good-looking, brand-new, two-story edifice.
Gulf Gate used to be a starter home community for young families, but in recent years it has become more expensive. “Prices have risen sharply in the past few years,” said Jay Mitchell of Coldwell Banker.
The listing he and his wife, Kyle, have at 6758 S. Lockwood Ridge Road is a three-bedroom, two-bath ranch-style residence, built in 1968 on 0.32 acres. It has a covered lanai and swimming pool. Its interior was remodeled and upgraded in 2018. The third bedroom can be turned into an office, ideal for working from home.
In 2017, it sold for $260,000. Now, the asking price is $735,000.
“People coming from California, Michigan, New York and New Jersey have the money to pay that kind of price after selling their home there and save on their property taxes,” he explained. “And, there are houses available that need to be remodeled in the $300,000s and $400,000s.”
Membership in the community association is voluntary, but the fee – just $75, not monthly, but annually – is a bargain compared to most newer neighborhoods.
Krasow’s listing at 7336 Biltmore Drive in Gulf Gate Woods is one of the larger homes in the area. The 3-bed, 3-bath home has 2,502 square feet under air with a pool out back was completely replumbed in 2012 – all the old iron pipes were replaced. The interior has been remodeled, too, sporting high ceilings with crown molding, a wood-burning fireplace, and a large kitchen and dining room with sliders to the covered lanai and swimming pool.
The asking price is $714,000.
“This area has become of interest for a lot buyers because it used to be so affordable and you have so many amenities at your fingertips,” said Krasow
Everyone loves the proximity of Gulf Gate Village in the northwest corner of the area. “With its shops, boutiques and eateries, it has a funky vibe,” said Krasow. “There is no other place like it in Sarasota, and a lot people don’t know it exist.”
There are stores and restaurants aplenty along the Tamiami Trail as well. For grocery shopping there are several Publix stores and a Detwiler’s Farm Market just minutes away. The Gulf beaches on Siesta Key are just across the Stickney Point Bridge. Downtown Sarasota, the Interstate, Osprey and Nokomis to the south are all within easy driving distance.
Currently, there are 11 active listings in Gulf Gate ranging in price from $362,000 to $799,000.
This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Market Snapshot: Gulf Gate has a lot to offer families