There is a used Spacedeck/Spacearm on the "Gon right now. You won't be sorry.
If it were my scratch I would buy a Linn LP12/Ittok, good used examples are frequently priced in this range. Second choice would be a Michell Gyro SE with a techno arm. The Bix looks pretty interesting, though I have not heard one, yet. Unlike the suggestions that I have actually spent time with, it could be purchased new for well under your budget.
If you look around and are patient, you can sometimes find killer deals. A few years back, i purchased a Sota Star Sapphire ( vacuum platter ) with an ET II air bearing linear tracking arm with damping, Sota Reflex clamp, an external surge tank, an upgraded Wisa pump, the ET set-up jig, etc... for $750. Everything was in beautiful condition and i drove from Chicago to Ohio to pick it up.
Yes, this is a pretty involved set-up beyond what most people want to get involved with. Having said that, it was a phenomenal deal for someone that doesn't mind "tweaking" their rig, which i don't.
For something similar but not as "tweaky" or "pretty" and measurably less money, you can probably find a Maplenoll Athena. These utilize an air bearing platter ( NOT vacuum platter ) along with an early version of the ET air bearing linear tracking arm. Yes, it looks kind of "garage built", but it works VERY well for the money that one would pay for them on the current used market. These can typically be had for about half of what you want to spend.
The money that you save can be put towards a good quality cartridge, a vacuum record cleaning machine and some good quality sleeves to protect your records once they are cleaned. Sean
Probably not what you had in mind, but In the past year I purchased a Technics SP10 MKII for $215 and SME 3012 Series II for $415 (both from eBay). Spent around $40 on birch ply to build a plinth. Mounted a Denon DL103R ($200) and I run it through a Denon AU-320 transformer ($85 from Doc Bottlehead's stash) and Hagerman Cornet (purchased on Audgiogon for around $300.) While I have never used a high-end belt drive, the Technics replaced a Thorens TD-124 which in turn replaced a AR belt drive (mid 80's version); each was a step-up from what it replaced, and I am very happy where I am now with my bargain basement phono set up. The Technics has to be the best bargain around. They still go pretty cheap because they made so many of them (most for broadcasting and studios,) but if they were made today they would probably have to charge at least $3,000.
If you plan to use MM or a high compliance MC, I think the often overlooked SME III arms are great bargains. They don't (yet) attract the collectors who have bid up the price of the earlier SME's.