One of the more interesting Sarasota communities to have watched over the years is the Rosemary District. Neighbors with Gillespie Park, Rosemary has long shown the promise of expanding downtown living to the area north of Fruitville, and it's experienced a number of surges in popularity and controversy in the process. Yet, today, Rosemary seems to be on the rise again.
Early on in Sarasota history, the area prospered from the African-American community and was named Overtown in the '20s. As the properties became more valuable during the real estate boom, the community developed, and the African-American community migrated further north to Newtown. In 1994, the area was renamed the Rosemary District in honor of the Rosemary Cemetery, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.
Ever since, the neighborhood has seen a number of rising moments, morphing to meet the city's needs in creativity, community, and community service. While it's had its challenges and controversies as the home to two of Sarasota's largest homeless services providers and the occasional picketers at the Planned Parenthood building, the Rosemary District also hosts two of Sarasota's most celebrated schools, some of its best music venues, and a number of unique shops, cafes, and restaurants. With the recent development of several new apartments, condominiums, and town homes, the Rosemary District is on the verge of a new awakening as one of the many great places to live in Sarasota.
Bordered on the east by Orange Avenue, the expansion of Citrus Square promises not only more condominiums, but also more retail space. Of course that also means more room for fabulous restaurants like Pomona and The Rosemary. This neighborhood is no stranger to great eateries.
On the west, the Rosemary District is bordered by Tamiami Trail, and the Toasted Mango Cafe at Fifth Street may be one of the tastiest places for breakfast or lunch in Sarasota. In the middle of the district, Station 400, Servandos, and The Blue Rooster have also become really popular places to eat, with the Blue Rooster featuring great musical shows almost every night of the week. If that doesn't scratch your musical itch, just up the alley, Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center offers a great variety of musical acts, film screenings, and a number of other community-oriented events to complement and support WSLR 96.5 LPFM, Sarasota's community radio station.
Split down the middle by Central Avenue, this strip of shops and eateries has changed a lot over the last few years, and often seems to have something new on every visit. For those who are looking for a fresh start, the Rosemary District is primed to be one of the neighborhoods to watch over the next few years. Whether it's condominium living with great views (like the Renaissance and Alinari), or it's the bungalow lifestyle in any of the old Florida homes that give the area its charm, the Rosemary District has a little something for everyone.
Sarasota Area Real Estate Specialist