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Business Observer Friday, Nov. 28, 2003 18 years ago

Real Estate Briefs

This week's items: Cortez Storage construction starts84 Lumber files plans to build Bradenton locationFlorida Studio Theatre buys former Theatre Works buildingSMR, DVA Sports planLakewood Ranch arena

Real Estate Briefs

Cortez Storage

construction starts

Ron and Mike Calleja are moving forward with plans to develop Cortez Storage, a self-storage facility at 8915 Cortez Road in Bradenton. Three months ago, the Callejas purchased the 4.5-acre property from CTS Communications Corp. for $630,000.

"We will be developing the project in two phases," Ron Calleja says. Developers will build two 10,000-square-foot, one-story, non-climatized facilities and one 25,000-square-foot, two-story, air-conditioned storage building. Three parallel structures will be built in the second phase of the project. Construction cost for the first phase of development is $1.6 million; while the entire project is expected to cost about $3 million.

Clearwater-based Par Builders has been hired to perform the site work for the facility, but no general contractor has been selected.

"The site work has started," Calleja says, "and we should open in the spring (of 2004). The space will be gated and secured, and we will allow RV and boat storage."

This is the first storage facility the Callejas have run. The venture is intended as semi-retirement for both of them. Ron Calleja owned a copy and computer retail and service company, McClure's Copiers, for more than 10 years. He also had owned Quality Golf, a golf shop, for the past ten years. Mike Calleja was previously hotel district general manager for Belmont Suites.

The Callejas mortgaged the Cortez Road property to First State Bank for $1.6 million.

84 Lumber files plans

to build Bradenton location

A big name in building materials retailing is headed to Bradenton. Based in Eighty Four, Pa., 84 Lumber, one of the largest privately held suppliers in the United States, plans to build a 30,000-square-foot lumber store at 2800 15th St. E.

"We already operate about 30 places in Florida," says Joseph Hardy, chairman of 84 Lumber. On the Gulf Coast, the company has stores in Tampa, Plant City and Fort Myers.

The company has signed a contract to purchase the 10-acre property and has filed a site plan with Manatee County's building department.

According to Hardy, the company avoids competing with big box retailers by targeting construction companies. "In this business you have to develop a niche," Hardy says. "We deal in the really bulky stuff, and they can deal with the guy who wants some plywood and a TV. The market for building materials is just huge. We are really not in competition." 84 Lumber uses trained salespeople to target large builders in a particular area rather than using major media advertising.

"We have 40 to 50 stores under construction all over the country right now," Hardy says. "The company has been growing very rapidly. The builders all know us."

The new location will employ about 30 people. The first year revenue target for a new store is about $12 million. Once the store is established it should average $20 million annually.

In 2002, the company reported sales of $2 billion, with 75% of that attributed to professional contractors.

Florida Studio Theatre buys

former Theatre Works building

Florida Studio Theatre Inc. bought the former Theatre Works building at 1247 First St. in downtown Sarasota from Anita Katzman for $2.6 million.

"It was purchased for long-term growth," says Rebecca Langford, managing director for the theater. "We are still planning how we are going to use it."

The West Coast Black Theatre Troupe will still perform its season from the more than 5,500-square-foot, 156-seat theatre, and in January, the Florida Studio Theatre will perform its first show there. "We are trying to shake down what works and what doesn't before we have major programs out there," Langford says. "We are going to move slowly. This is across the street for the facility. Our facility is tapped out. We are just looking at it to accommodate the growth of our programming. We are very excited about possibilities."

Langford says the theater had been trying to buy the property for a while, principally because of its location in downtown. After Katzman finally agreed to the sale, the Florida Studio Theatre undertook a capital campaign to pay for it. "We definitely still need more money," Katzman says. "This is the biggest step we have taken in more than a decade. It has been an extremely difficult step to take especially because of a drop in state facility funding. Our patrons have been very supportive."

Eventually the theater would like to renovate the recently purchased facility, but the timing of the renovation will largely depend on financing. Florida Studio Theatre officials plan to rename the theater after one of its lead supporters - the Gompertz Theatre.

Florida Studio Theatre mortgaged the property to Wachovia Bank for $1.1 million.

SMR, DVA Sports plan

Lakewood Ranch arena

Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc. (SMR) and DVA Sports LLC (DVA) plan to build a 7,400-seat, multi-purpose entertainment facility in Lakewood Ranch.

The 30-acre site is in the northwest quadrant of the Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, north of State Road 70. The total cost of the project is estimated at $46 million. The facility has been modeled after the TECO Arena in Estero, near Fort Myers. It will also be the same size.

An anchor tenant for the multi-purpose facility has already been identified as ECHL, which plans to bring a professional hockey team to the area.

In addition to hockey, DVA plans to bring other sports attractions and entertainment events to the new facility, including family entertainment such as ice shows and circuses; musical concerts such as large symphonies, popular singers and bands; trade shows and festivals. Special events including graduations, traveling museum exhibits and holiday celebrations are also possibilities. Plans include community and business meeting space, as well as a full-service restaurant and bar.

Groundbreaking is expected to occur in early 2004 pending permits and approvals. The facility is projected to open by September of 2004.

The architects for the facility are Stadium Consultants International of Toronto; and Walbridge Aldinger of Detroit is the general contractor.


× Fawley Bryant Architects, Project Architect, and HOK Architects, Design Consultants (Tampa office), joined forces to design and build the new 109,000-square-foot Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. Currently under construction and on schedule, this facility is Manatee County's first medical school and only the second osteopathic school in Florida. FBA and HOK are also working on the more than $40 million Manatee County Judicial Center Complex.

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