Behind the gates of Longboat Key Club in Bay Isles, a collection of residential neighborhoods, lies Fairway Bay. Combining a resort-style vacation, exceptional amenities, and tranquil island living, its name refers to its location at the southern end of a 27-hole golf course and on Sarasota Bay.
Comprising 288 homes in mid-rise condominium towers and attractive two- and three-story townhouses, Fairway Bay boasts a lush, well-manicured tropical landscape. Two- and three-bedroom residences are airy and spacious, ranging from 1,192 to 2,632 square feet. Many offer spectacular water views. The southernmost townhouses have boat docks with easy access to the bay.
The 5-story condominium buildings feature white exteriors and clean, elegant lines. The townhouses have a quaint quality to them, with bright blue awnings on some of their windows and dark blue tiles on the sides of exterior stairways leading to entrances above the ground floor garages. Two guarded entrance gates – one on Gulf of Mexico Drive, the other on Bay Isles Parkway – guarantee peace and privacy.
The whole area was created by Arvida Corporation, which was founded in 1959 and quickly became one of Florida’s largest real estate companies (now owned by Disney). Beginning with the development of Bird Key, he quickly turned his attention to the south end of Longboat Key.
Judy Kepecz-Hays, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, worked for Arvida during the construction of Fairway Bay from 1982 to 1988. “Arvida was a great company to work for,” she recalls. “Everything they built was stellar.”
Over the years, she’s sold a lot of real estate in the area and has a listing at 1930 Harborside Drive Unit 121. The two-bed, two-bath condo with 1,442 square feet of living space is on the third floor of a tower condo looking south across Sarasota Bay. The asking price is $850,000.
“It’s a phenomenal place. As a corner unit, it has more sky, more sun, and more sunset afterglow than some of the other condos,” Kepecz-Hays said. “You can watch sunrises, boaters, birds and fish from the two balconies.”
She added: ‘There is a large dining area which can be converted into a study or an extra bedroom for the children. The second bedroom has been built with fitted wardrobes and contains a desk and a Murphy bed.
The condo comes with a parking space under the building – not all units have one, although there are plenty of exterior parking spaces available. Buyers have the option of buying the condo furnished.
Fairway Bay residents enjoy using the two heated pools and hot tubs, fitness center, tennis courts, clubhouse, kayak launch with storage racks, and miles of bike trails and pedestrians.
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There are three condo associations in Fairway Bay, called Fairway Bay I and II, and The Atrium. Quarterly dues of $3,225 cover maintenance of building exteriors, grounds, all amenities, cable TV, insurance and escrow reserves.
The neighborhood is pet-friendly, allowing one small animal with a maximum weight of 15 pounds. Residences can be rented twice a year with a minimum rental requirement of two months.
Everyone in Fairway Bay has access to the Bay Isles Beach Club on the Gulf of Mexico next to En Provence Condominiums. The private beach has an attendant on site and includes picnic areas, grills, shaded areas, volleyball, showers, restrooms, and storage facilities for folding chairs and other beach items (there is a waiting list). The annual membership fee is $519.
Although membership in the Longboat Key Club is not mandatory, many Fairway Bay residents take advantage of the different levels of membership to access the championship golf course, a marina – the second largest on the Gulf Coast – and several restaurants. Other nearby amenities include a Publix grocery store and CVS Pharmacy conveniently located just outside the gates in the Shoppes of Bay Islands.
Fairway Bay’s demographics are a mix of vacationers, retirees, and some families with children. “The smaller the residence, the fewer homeowners live there year-round,” Kepecz-Hays said. “The older ones tend to be busy for up to six months.”
She continued: “Now we have shoppers who have loved vacationing here with their mums and dads and want their kids to have the same experience they did.”
As of this writing, there are three sales pending in Fairway Bay and another active listing next to Kepecz-Hays – a three-bed, three-bath townhouse with an asking price of 1,145,000 $.