About Bird Key
As far as exclusive addresses go, Bird Key is near the top of the list. In this community where the weather is always warm and the neighbors are friendly, residents get to experience the quintessential waterfront lifestyle every day. Whether you're looking for a primary residence or a home away from home, a home in this community might be just what you're seeking.
Development of Bird Key truly took off during the 1950s when it was decided that the island was the perfect spot to build custom luxury residences. Those early developers were right. With a combination of an ideal climate, gorgeous scenery and convenient access to Sarasota, homes on Bird Key were poised for success. It wasn't long before home buyers were anxious to put down roots in this desirable community.
Despite having been in existence for more than 60 years, Bird Key remains committed to constantly improving the community lifestyle. Improvement projects are always underway. Whether it's the construction of a new trail or the addition of numerous shady trees, Bird Key just keeps getting better with age. It's able to do so thanks to the active Bird Key Homeowners Association. This joint effort between neighborhood homeowners and the property management group that oversees Bird Key is one of the main reasons that home buyers want to live here. The benefits of living in a community where the residents are instrumental in the evolution of the neighborhood are clear. All potential projects are carefully considered to ensure that they will genuinely improve quality of life before they are undertaken.
On Bird Key, residents enjoy a relaxed lifestyle. The center of the social scene is definitely the Bird Key Yacht Club. Membership here is absolutely indispensable, particularly since it comes with reciprocal memberships in a number of other yacht clubs in Florida. Of course, yachting isn't the only thing on the agenda at this club. Tennis, biking and bowling are just the beginning of the other activities. It's possible to participate in a book club, enjoy a gourmet meal with a spectacular view and attend a gallery showing all without leaving the premises. Golfers won't be able to resist membership, either. Yacht club memberships include privileges at the prestigious Laurel Oak Country Club.
Perhaps the biggest perk to choosing Bird Key is the many gorgeous properties found here. Several homes feature unparalleled views of the bay and the Sarasota skyline. Inside, the custom features are simply extraordinary. Soaring ceilings, enormous windows and thoughtful touches are found throughout. Square footage is generous, offering plenty of room for owners of Bird Key homes to enjoy luxurious privacy even with a house full of guests. With gourmet kitchens, expansive walk in closets and home theaters, homes here are definitely designed to delight.
If you're looking for a community where taste and refinement reside, then Bird Key might be for you. However, this neighborhood is more than just an elegant locale. It's also warm and welcoming with a thriving social scene and plenty of friendly neighbors to go with the spectacular views
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Bird Key Yacht Club
Bird Key Yacht Club is a comprehensive yachting and social club located in a quiet setting on the Sarasota waterfront. It offer boating, waterfront dining with the best views in town, tennis, a fitness center, a full schedule of social events and a wide array of special activities for boaters and non-boaters alike. Golf privileges are provided through an exclusive reciprocal arrangement. Membership hails from throughout the Sarasota area. View their website at Bird Key Yacht Club.
Where is Bird Key Located?
History of Bird Key
In the early 1900's Lindsay Worcester of Cincinnati was vacationing in Florida to recover from an illness. She and her friends took a boat ride to Bird Key for a picnic. She ultimately fell in love with the small island and told her husband that she wanted to spend her final years there. Thomas Worcester, her husband, purchased Bird Key from the state of Florida. Their goal was to build a grandiose waterfront home.
Construction of their new home began around 1911/1912. Worcester added to the 14 acre island by dredging up 30,000 cubic yards of dirt. He also planted trees and other tropical foliage for the island to take shape. Worcester named it New Edzell castle after the ancestral Scottish estate of his wife. The home took 3 years to build at a cost of over $100,000. Unfortunately, Lindsay Worcester died in 1912 prior to the completion of the home.
John Ringling ultimately purchased Bird Key in the 1920's with a plan of building a vacation home for his friend and U.S. President Warren Harding. Unfortunately, that never came to fruition as Harding died in 1923.
Ringling built the Ringling Causeway from the mainland for easy access to Bird Key, St. Armands Circle and Lido Key with plans for houses, restaurants, shopping, hotels and entertainment. This was the first bridge to traverse the Sarasota bay. He even used his own circus elephants to haul timber for the bridge. In the late 1920's the country went into a depression and the real estate market collapsed.
Ringling's sister, Ida Ringling North, moved into the Worcester mansion on Bird Key. In 1936 John Ringling died and bequeathed the island to his sister Ida. She lived there until her death in 1950. Bird Key saw little activity during this time period.
In 1951 Ida's son, John Ringling North, was the President of the Bird Key Development Corporation. They intended on expanding Bird Key to over 300 acres. However, the Sarasota community wasn't excited about the plan. During a contentious public hearing, State Representative James Haley asked the Ringling group's attorney, "Why don't you go back to New York and run your own business?" After several modifications and a number of hearings, votes and court actions, the Ringling proposal was shelved.
In 1959 Arvida purchased Bird Key. The approved plat included 511 lots, 291 of which are bay or canal front properties, and 220 of which are landlocked (now called "garden homes"). Lots were priced from, $9,000 to $32,000 and sold quickly.
Bird Key Community Highlights
- This Sarasota neighborhood features 510 gated, single-family residences
- This is a true boater’s paradise, with over 300 homes being waterfront properties with docks and water entrances
- Located just minutes from the excitement of downtown Sarasota as well from the boutiques and dining found at St. Armand’s Circle
- Known for its private, newly renovated Bird Key Yacht Club
- Popular attractions in the area include the Mote Marine Aquarium, The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Baywalk Sanctuary and more