Want to own a bunch of Sarasota bayfront with a side of local history? Right now, it’s the highest price tag for a residential listing in Sarasota County, but if you consider the scope of what you’re getting, it could be a bang for your buck. It’s big–roughly 7 1/2 acres. Priced at $22 million, it comes to roughly $67.50 a square foot. For context, a single-family home next door on a little less than half an acre is on the market for $5.45 million.
The total property, located in Indian Beach-Sapphire Shores in north Sarasota, includes five parcels: 4619, 4511, 4521, 4600 and 4645 Bay Shore Road. The largest of the parcels, 4645 Bay Shore, can be split into four, one-acre properties on the bay, or the buyer can keep it all together to create a family compound. Under current zoning standards, the minimum lot area is 21,780 square feet. That means the purchase could yield a total of 15 single family homes.
Except for a smaller home on the east side of Bay Shore Road, the property curves along Indian Beach-Sapphire shores and includes more than 700 feet on Sarasota Bay. This neighborhood is one of the oldest in Sarasota and in the ’20s, was written up in promotional materials as having some of the “prettiest located lots to be found on the entire bay, nearby the palatial homes of wealthy northern tourists who spend their winters here.” Those wealthy northern tourists, by the way, included the Ringling Brothers, Col. C.M. Thompson of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and D.L. Wooster, a manufacturer from Cincinnati.
The large property includes two historic homes. The Earle house at 4521 Bay Shore Road was built by George Earle in the 1927 as a winter retreat and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It had been rented out until last month.
The Etowah Hagan-Jackson house, built in 1925, is named after the river in north Georgia, where one of the original owners, Lee Hagan, hailed from. Hagan built the Mediterranean revival home as a winter getaway, and it was part of the first tract of land investors purchased in Sarasota. He sold it to Felix Jackson, who remained a long-time owner.
This house was featured in Sarasota Magazine when it was a Jewel’s on the Bay Designer Showhouse in 2019. It is listed on the Florida Master Site File, a state-level historic registry, and demolition would require approval by the Historic Preservation Board of Sarasota.
But John Cuneo Jr. didn’t live in either of the historic homes, choosing instead to stay in the seven-bedroom, six-bathroom home on the largest parcel at 4645 Ainsley Place, built in 1935.
Cuneo, a Chicago native, had an exotic and somewhat controversial past that involved the circus. His father owned Cuneo Press, one of the largest commercial printing plants in the country, that used to print the Ringling Bros. programs.
In the 1950s, Cuneo married German-born Herta Klauser who performed, along …….