Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Little-Known Gem Is Much Appreciated

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Little-Known Gem Is Much Appreciated

Article excerpt

Park Trace, in Osprey just south of The Oaks, is one of those tucked-away neighborhoods that few people know about.

"It's a unique place, a truly hidden gem," said Paul Castonguay of Sandals Realty, who has lived there since 2004. "I've had Realtors who sell properties in nearby Rivendell ask me we where Park Trace is when I mention it."

The deed-restricted community has just 138 homes surrounded by a lush natural landscape. The northern boundary is a group of lakes along East Bay Street. To the west and along part of the southern edge are wooded preserves.

A large, L-shaped lake provides the remaining borders and some of the best views in the subdivision. Its southern leg is part of Oscar Scherer State Park. The eastern portion adjoins a section of the Legacy Trail, including one of the main access points through Osprey Junction Trailhead, a 10-acre county park that opened in 2010.

Wildlife abounds. It's not unusual to see great horned owls, river otters and deer.

"It's an area with nature as its neighbor -- a nature lover's paradise," Castonguay said.

Although there are two entrances off Bay Street and a back road to Rivendell to the south, there is little through traffic. Residents appreciate the resulting quiet and privacy.

Park Trace was developed from 2000 to 2004. Five custom builders were involved, including Tivoli Homes, Vision Homes and Petz Custom Homes, whose owner lived in the neighborhood at the time. As a result, the community has a variety of exteriors and floor plans.

"There is great value here that's been untapped," says Castonguay.

The houses occupy generously sized lots and range from 2,000 to 3,500 square feet. Many back onto lakes or preserves. Yards are beautifully landscaped and meticulously maintained, adding to the neighborhood's appeal.

The most coveted homes on Park Trace Boulevard, overlooking the large lake, are the stable core of the community. Only three have changed owners since 2000-01.

"That's not your average stay in Florida," said Castonguay, who has sold seven properties in the community. "People bought, liked it here and settled."

Gina Tripp, one of those original owners, had her house built in 2001. …

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