The Forest Is Newest Chapter Of Saraota’s Hi Hat Ranch History

Forest at Hi Hat Ranch Main Entry SignThe Hi Hat Ranch has a big place in Sarasota’s history. At one time it was the area’s largest private land holding in the county after Herman Turner assembled three large parcels in the mid 1940s. It encompassed one-eighth of Sarasota County at that time. A Sarasota Herald Tribune article from those days called the Turner Ranch “one of the most remarkable pieces of property in the state.”

An article by Mark Smith in a 1998 issue of the Sarasota Herald Tribune gives an interesting brief insight into the rich history of the Ranch.  It’s worth a quick read to get a better understanding of the significance of this property in the history of Sarasota.

The Turner family still owns and operates the Hi Hat Ranch. Most of its 10,000+ acres remain a real working ranch with active cattle and other agricultural operations. But there is a new chapter unfolding on the Hi Hat Ranch. As the county began to grow to the east after the turn of the 21st century, the family made the decision to do a master plan for a residential community on part of this vast property. The Forest at Hi Hat Ranch is the first neighborhood being developed as part of that plan. It is being managed with the same careful stewardship the family has followed for almost 70 years.

“It’s only natural I guess that we take a little different approach to development,” says Rick Turner who manages the Ranch. “When your family name has been on a property for generations there’s a lot of respect for the land. This is a special place and our goal is to make The Forest a showcase as we introduce residential development on the property.”

The family has succeeded in that goal. The Forest combines one of the most beautiful areas of the Hi Hat Ranch in a low-impact neighborhood of three to five-acre parcels. Development regulations require the builders to take a balanced approach to home building with minimal disruption to native trees and vegetation.

“We want the new families that move here to feel that same sense of pride and ownership for the land,” says Rick’s cousin Jim Turner, who is also part of the management team for the Ranch. “The Forest will set the stage for years to come and it is important to our family that we put our best foot forward. I think that becomes instantly apparent the moment you arrive at The Forest.”

The Turners selected Premier Sotheby’s Realty for sales representation. Representative Brian Wood provides property tours by appointment and can be reached via email at or by calling 941-928-8408.