In 1949, just months before Naples officially became a city, development began on a waterfront residential neighbourhood in the stretch of land between what is now 14th Ave S and 21st Ave S. Out of mangrove-mired marshland, Forrest Walker & Co. sculpted several deep-water canals and carved approximately 350 home sites, creating a centrally located, nautical community. Today, very few of the original, modest ranch homes and quaint fishing boats remain; instead, the avenues are stately parades of august estates and a pageantry of yachts – a visual testament to Aqualane Shore’s metamorphosis into one of Naples’ most desirable locales.
Like its Herculean neighbour Port Royal, Aqualane is bound by Naples Bay to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west, which only enriches the recent buoyancy of the market and widens its appeal. Aqualane’s original target clientele were avid boaters and each avenue accordingly has its own micro-economy largely determined by the canal’s width and depth, with prices increasing eastwards towards Crayton Cove. However, the area also embraces a few blocks of properties between the dually prestigious Gordon Drive and Gulf Shore Blvd S that march straight into the sands. This small enclave attracts residents who enjoy proximity to Third St S, yet cherish privacy and quietude. These landlocked properties can rival their canal-side counterparts and current list prices reflect the growing attraction of this well-located yet exclusive beachfront region. In fact, some of these non-waterfront properties are the most expensive residences currently available in Aqualane. Thus, the land has tremendous value and appeal whether by bay or by beach.
Current inventory includes a $2,459,000 ranch house on 0.27 acres at the beginning of the 15th Ave S canal and a handful of Tuscan and in-betweener homes that offer opportunity in the $3-7 million price range (depending on location). Several new construction properties are also available, starting at $5.9m for a 4,635 sqft home with northern exposure on 18th Ave S and soaring up to $9.975m for a neoteric, intrepid structure on 0.75 acres of lakefront property. Market activity has demonstrated that there is a considerable amount of liquidity in this $2-10m price bracket: there were twenty-seven sales in the last 365 days, compared to current inventory of twenty-eight listings - impressive absorption for this level of luxury market. With five new construction sales in the past year, new construction commands a smaller market share than in areas such as the Moorings; however it is likely that the eight spec homes currently available will be met by demand in an area that craves the latest and greatest.
Aqualane’s six decade-long rise in value and stature has been well-received and looks set to remain robust. Driven by scarce land both to the east and west, ever-increasing prestige and exclusivity and optimal boating and beach access, it is a source of opportunities.