Seeking diamonds in the rough, polishing them to perfection and then presenting them in affordable packages — this is the strategy of Montecito Investment Co.
Recently, the Jacksonville-based real estate developers applied its transformation expertise to what is now Waterford Luxury Condominiums.
In Palm Harbor’s the Waterford property originally was established as an apartment complex in 2002. Montecito repositioned the property for condominiums and sold nearly half of its units on opening day, Dec. 4.
Comprising attached villas rather than traditional high-rise condos, Waterford’s gated community offers maintenance-free living in what Montecito President Chip Conk considers a highly desirable area of Pinellas County. Close to major highways such as U.S. 19, the community has convenient access to shopping, dining and recreational sites including the Pinellas Trail and Lake Tarpon.
From Waterford, it’s an easy drive to Clearwater Beach and Tampa International Airport.
Amenities planned for completion in March include a clubhouse complex featuring a fitness center, catering kitchen, social room, private pool, tot lot playground and a fully-equipped business center with computers, fax machines and conference room.
Conk said renters often are surprised to find Waterford well within their budgets.
"A lot of people who are renting have realized they can own their home at Waterford for about what they’re paying in rent," he said. "That has tax benefits. They’re building equity and they have the pride of ownership. We’re providing the consumer a lot of lifestyle for the price."
Condominiums at Waterford are priced from the mid-150,000s to the low 200,000s. Floor plan options include one-bedroom, one-bathroom units with a den, 1,029 square feet of living space and a one-car garage; two-bedroom, two-bathroom condos with 1,154 square feet of living space and either a one- or two-car garage; three-bedroom, 2½-bathroom units with 1,559 square feet of living area and either a one- or two-car garage.
The two-story, three-bedroom, 2½ bathroom condos feature open stairwells and enclosed bedrooms and bathrooms. All floor plans feature attached garages and ground-floor master bedrooms and entries.
Noting security and convenience benefits, Conk said: "If you come home with groceries, you’re not walking up three flights of stairs just to get your groceries in your door.
"Also, first-floor master bedrooms are convenient for those who don’t want to be going up and down the stairs a lot. First-floor master bedrooms and attached garages are two of the most sought-after amenities in the home market."
Other Waterford features include vaulted ceilings, walk-in closets, screened patios, island kitchens and full-appliance packages. Buyers can customize their condo with upgrade packages that offer hardwood flooring in living rooms, granite kitchen countertops and tile floors in the bathrooms.
About 70 percent of Waterford’s condos face a conservation area. Moreover, large landscaped areas that serve as buffers between buildings to eliminate clutter and enhance visual appeal. "It’s a very green and beautiful property so you’re not looking at a lot of concrete in your community," Conk said. "Waterford is like a community of homes."
Of the value homeowners enjoy, he said: "For the money you pay at Waterford, you’re getting a resort lifestyle. Montecito tries to provide all its customers with high-end living at down to earth pricing. We’re trying to give the average home buyer affordable resort living."
Montecito also owns residential properties in Sarasota, Palm Beach, St. Augustine and Jacksonville. Conk said the company favors the Bay area market. "We’ve found [the Tampa Bay area] to be one of the most attractive areas in the state, and Montecito is actively seeking more properties here."
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