Market Snapshot: Bay Oaks

Popular condo enclave offers leisurely lifestyle for owners and vacationers alike

Built in 1975, Bay Oaks has been a popular condo-townhouse enclave on Siesta Key for over 40 years. Located at 6157 Midnight Pass Road half a mile north of the Stickney Point Bridge, it offers a leisurely vacation lifestyle among lush, tropical surroundings, as well as easy access to the barrier island’s tourist attractions.

When you take Big Oak Lane from the main road into Bay Oaks, you pass a median strip with shrubbery, palm trees and an American flag. To the right is a tennis court and rows of visitor/guest parking spaces.

From there, the lane divides like a tuning fork, with the two prongs running along the edge of the property, marking the borders with its neighbors. Covered parking spaces for residents line the sides.

From the community swimming pool, a paver stone path winds between the residential buildings to the water. A large bed of trimmed mangroves covers one side of the shore. A fishing pier juts out into the bay on the other, and there are picnic tables and grills under an oak tree.

“The grounds are really pretty,” said Kathleen Griffin, a Realtor with Michael Saunders & Company. “The oak trees near the bay — hence the name Bay Oaks — are big and gnarled. You want to jump up into them and climb around.”

Half of the 96 residences occupy a horseshoe-shaped, five-story condo tower and are accessible by elevator. The other 48 are located in three-story structures. Each has a ground-floor apartment and a two-story townhouse on top. Exterior stairs lead to the latter’s second-floor entrance, kitchen and living room. Interior steps go upstairs to the bedrooms.

The townhouse buildings are partially attached in two- and four-unit configurations. Eight of them close to the water are arranged in a kind of semi-circle. Their screened lanais overlook a lawn area by the bay shore and offer spectacular views of the Intracoastal Waterway.

There are one- and two-bedroom residences, ranging in size from 680 to 1,192 square feet, with a variety of ground plans. “Each unit is different inside — the owners have made them unique,” said Griffin.

Her listing is a two-bedroom, two-bath condo in the tower, priced at $365,000. “My owners purchased it through me 11 years ago and redid the interior then. They used it for themselves while they had young children and rented it out the rest of the year,” Griffin explained.

It also has its own washer and dryer inside. Many other condos do not, although there are laundry facilities on site.

All residences come furnished with refrigerator, dishwasher, and an electrical, self-cleaning oven in the kitchen. Rental fees include cable TV, air conditioning and one assigned parking space. Some condos also offer Internet access.

Some of the owners have purchased their apartments strictly for investment. Others use them part-time for themselves and rent them out the rest of the year. Liberal regulations allow renting units for a week at a time, up to 52 times a year. “A number of renters stay for one to three months in season,” Griffin said.

“In the summer Europeans and Canadians come with their kids,” she continued. “There are also a surprising number of repeat customers. One couple I know has come here for 18 years. They take a different unit each time.”

Bay Oaks offers a lot of amenities for retirees, younger vacationers and families with children. The clubhouse has a pool table and lending library, wi-fi access, and a big screen TV. “Middle-schoolers and older teenagers use it and the pool a lot,” said Griffin.

The Siesta Key trolley to the shops and restaurants of the Siesta Village and the SCAT bus to the mainland stop right by the entrance to Bay Oaks.

And there are the powder white sand beaches, of course, where vacationers swim, walk, jog, collect shells, play volleyball and get a tan. They can also rent bicycles, boats, paddleboards and kayaks, and go windsurfing and sport fishing.

Another reason Bay Oaks appeals is the affordable price range. “They’re lower than on the beach side and more affordable for some visitors,” Griffin commented. “You can get a two-bedroom unit from January to March for $1,500 a week. In summer it goes down to $800 or $900. It’s like staying in a hotel for a week, but you get more rooms and a kitchen.”

Condo fees are reasonable, too, at $1,365 a quarter, and cover insurance, exterior maintenance, roof, pool and other common areas.

Currently, there are 11 units for sale in Bay Oaks, including five in the condo tower. One of them is a one-bedroom condo listed at $265,900. The others are two-bedroom condos and townhouses ranging in price from $275,000 to $429,500.

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Irene Jensen