Parade of Homes stirs the imagination

The 2019 Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association showcase begins Saturday with 107 homes

Time to don comfortable walking shoes for wandering through dozens of brand new homes that could be yours. Maybe get some ideas on what’s hot in interior styling. Or just enjoy the latest in green construction, smart homes and floor plans.

The 2019 Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association Parade of Homes begins Saturday and continues through March 10. Good luck viewing all 107 homes scattered among seven developments throughout Manatee and Sarasota counties. There’s plenty of free fantasy and entertainment value in these shows, no matter how many homes you hit.

Prices range from the low $200,000s to more than $6 million. Sure, the wow factor comes with the high prices. But even the most modest homes sport appeal, else they wouldn’t have been entered.

Builders are showcasing their best to gain attention from the public and awards they can ballyhoo. This is a competitive event with judges coming from across the state to score the homes on various factors: best curb appeal, kitchen, master suite, floor plan and best architectural detail, all leading up to the ultimate prize, best overall residence in each price range and category. Landscapers, pool builders and interior designers compete, too.

If you attend Saturday’s opening day, you might bump into a small group of judges as we did last year. One telltale sign: the scoresheet.

The coveted prizes will be handed out at a gala dinner on Feb. 28.

Thousands of people took the self-guided tour last year, according to the MSBIA. Apparently, people schedule vacations around the event.

After last year’s parade, John Cannon Homes logged more than 2,100 visits (counting each group or individual tour as one visit). Lee Wetherington Homes reported a 200 percent traffic increase over 2017.

The parade focus, Pat Neal told me last year, is less on sales and more on impressions.

“We do not really look to get contracts from the Parade of Homes,” the president and CEO of Neal Communities said. “Remember, we are introducing our properties to people for the buzz and for Aunt Susie and to show our designs and the interior design.”

That’s not to say sales are rare. Last year, Medallion Home scored with a premium offer on its seven tour models. More than 30 homebuyers took advantage of the company’s parade incentive — a $4,000 custom closet package.

The parade veterans returning this year include Arthur Rutenberg Homes, Lee Wetherington Homes, Mattamy Homes, Medallion Home, Neal Communities and John Cannon Homes. The new entries are American Commercial Construction, E/M Custom Homes, Gator Construction of Manatee County and Toll Brothers.

Like other builders, John Cannon, president of his namesake company, is excited as always to showcase six of his newest luxury models with their on-trend designs. He’s especially energized about the Korina model in Lake View Estates at The Lake Club, which he described as the “perfect blend of transitional and contemporary designs and finishes.”

The 4,536-square-foot Korina model can be found at 14803 Como Circle. This purchase comes with a caveat, a leaseback so the builder can continue to use it as a model. The price? $2,749,000.

Cannon’s enthusiasm for the Korina shows upon entering the home.

“I wanted to take advantage of the lakefront setting and designed the open plan to accentuate both the indoor living spaces and outdoor entertaining areas,” he said. The great room with a soaring, beamed ceiling and the variety of seating areas on the lanai and pool deck beg for a big party.

For those parties, holidays and special gatherings, there’s a prep kitchen for behind-the-scenes food and beverage prep.

Another welcome luxury feature resides in the master suite. There are two separate private baths and distinctive walk-in closets. Couples won’t have to share a shower, unless there’s a desire there.

Chris Wille is the Herald-Tribune’s business and real estate editor. He can be reached at [email protected] and 941-361-4805.

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