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Business Observer Friday, Jun. 18, 2004 18 years ago

Real Estate Briefs (Sara/Mana edition)

This week's items: Capstan plan changed, less property includedDevelopers starts San Marco condominiumPartners gear up for Villas at Point PleasantBeckett Whitney plans to renovate Commerce building

Real Estate Briefs (Sara/Mana edition)

Capstan plan changed,

less property included

John Cox and Russ James, the principals of Capstan LLC, have backed off on the purchase of the Farm & Garden Supply Store in the north end of downtown Sarasota. In January, the partners announced plans to buy the store, the former Salvation Army homeless shelter and the Blue Line Inc. shop, which run along Fruitville Road, Lemon Avenue Central Avenue and Fourth Street, to develop a 100-room hotel, 78,000 square feet of office space, 24,000 square feet of retail space and a 419-space parking garage.

"We couldn't find a use that would justify the purchase (of the Farm & Garden site)," says John Cox, CEO of Sarasota-based general contractor Halfacre Construction Co. "Right now was are still weighing our options. We are planning to sit back and wait. There is still a high chance that we will build a three-story office building and a parking garage on the (former Salvation Army) site."

Cox says the development plan is somewhat fluid at the moment, but the partners hope to have the project details nailed down in the next few weeks.

Cox and James are presently working with Sarasota's The ADP Group to develop a workable site plan. Halfacre Construction is already committed to building the project.

Developers starts

San Marco condominium

Construction has started on the first of a new wave of large-scale developments just north of Fruitville Road and the downtown Sarasota core. The five-member partnership San Marco LLC, headed by JM Communities President James Moynihan, is building a 6-story, 23-unit condominium development along U.S. 41, just north of The Broadway Promenade site.

The development also features 5,000 square feet of retail space and meeting rooms on the bottom level and 2,300 square feet of office space on the second floor. The lease rate for the office space has not been determined, but the retail rate will start at $20 triple net.

According to Ellen Ross, broker/owner of Partners Realty of Sarasota, 15 units are already under contract. "Sales are going really well," she says. "We are probably looking at a completion in the fall of 2005." The remaining units are priced from $569,900 to $773,400 and range in size from 1,843 square feet to just under 4,000 square feet.

"We are targeting boutique shops for the retail space," Moynihan says. "Maybe a candy and nuts type of shop. We have internal parking for the condominiums and outside parking for the shops. We are going to have backlit signage for tenants on the street. They will also be able to put signage on the canopies. We are starting now to entertain possible tenants. If they get in with us early we can design the interior for their use."

Moynihan says price and location were the key components for the development being located outside the more traditional area of downtown. "When we first started looking into Sarasota," he says, "we found that the price point for downtown was just too high. The north trail area, on the other hand, had a lower cost and was ripe for development. We are in a designated redevelopment area, which also means we can qualify for certain tax credits and other nice incentives. We also saw that RMC (Property Group) was assembling property nearby (for The Broadway Promenade), which was a good sign."

For the immediate future, Moynihan says his company also plans to develop the 39-unit Palm Breeze and the 19-unit townhome Bayside Breeze project.

Partners gear up

for Villas at Point Pleasant

Gary Schmeichel, owner of the Berkshire Family Office LLC, and development partner Marvin Slovacek have announced plans to build 17 townhome units in the Villas at Point Pleasant, just west of downtown Bradenton.

"This is going to be a walled, gated community on two different parcels," Schmeichel says. "We are expecting the price point to be somewhere in the high $400,000s to low $600,000s." The new townhomes units will run about 3,000 square feet each.

The development follows demolition of several older dilapidated single-family homes. So far, two of the buildings have already been demolished.

"We are already in the approval process," he says. "We are hoping to start in late September. We should have the entire thing done eight to 10 months after construction begins."

Beckett Whitney plans

to renovate Commerce building

The Beckett Whitney Group LLC of St. Petersburg purchased the 20,000-square-foot Commerce building, at 529 13th St. W. in Bradenton and has announced some significant renovations.

"It was built in 1922," says Blake Thompson, co-chairman and executive manager of acquisitions for The Beckett Whitney Group. "We are planning to do renovations to bring it back to its original look. We are also planning to clean up the bottom-floor to make it more pedestrian friendly. We will probably relocate a snack shop or a pizza place there. We are renaming it the Beckett building."

A subsidiary of Beckett Whitney, Office Enterprises Inc., will handle management of the second floor, which Thompson says will be made up of small office suites sharing common utilities, a receptionist and a phone number. The building's third floor will have a total of five office units.

The rental rate for the office space will run from $9 to $12 modified gross.

"We definitely want to establish a presence in Bradenton," Thompson says.

Sarasota investors buys

Avenue of Flowers east end

W. Howard Rooks recently purchased the eastern section of the Avenue of the Flowers, at 525 Bahia Isles Parkway, on Longboat Key from Town Plaza 2 Investment Ltd. for $1.4 million.

"I can only see Longboat getting better and better," Rooks says. "Particularly as it increases in residential population."

Businesses in this 11,200-square-foot section of the Avenue of the Flowers include the Nosh A Rye Deli, Network Video, Panache Beauty Salon, LHS Enterprises, Postnet Postal and Business Services and the Safe Harbor Yacht Sales.

As in the rest of the Avenue of the Flowers, the property includes a significant portion of empty business space. Going into the slow summer months, there are three empty storefronts in the Town Plaza 2 that comprise 3,000 square feet.

Rooks says he is offering rental rates that are significantly less than what Town Plaza 1 is currently charging for rent. Town Plaza 1 charges $18 per square foot.

"There are a lot of factors involved," Rooks said. "Including the tenant and the length of the lease."

The broker for Town Plaza 2, Lee DeLieto of Michael Saunders and Company, says he has been contacting past renters to let them know about the improved rates. Rooks says he hasn't looked into purchasing the Town Plaza 1, but he says he might consider it if it were for sale at the right price.

The assessed value of Town Plaza 1 is listed at $7.1 million. It was purchased in 1983 for $5 million.

Town Plaza 2 Investment Ltd. purchased the Town Plaza 2 in 1991 for $490,000.


× Barbara Ackerman, a Realtor with the Longboat Key office of Coldwell Banker Previews, has sold the highest-priced single-family home and the highest-priced condominium ever to be recorded by the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) on Longboat Key. Both properties were on the south end of the island, behind the gates of the Longboat Key Club. Together the two properties totaled in excess of $12 million.

Ackerman represented the sellers in both transactions.

The single-family home was located on Lighthouse Point, on the south end of Longboat Key. The 7,200 square-foot home sold for more than $6 million. The past record for a single-family home sale on Longboat Key was $5.8 million. Ackerman's condominium sale was for a penthouse at L'Ambiance, boasting over 5,100 square feet overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. It sold for slightly less than $6 million. Previously, the highest-priced condominium to sell on Longboat Key was another L'Ambiance penthouse, recently closing at $4.999 million.

× Clark Road Properties purchased a 16,000-square-foot medical building at 3355 Clark Road, Sarasota, from Charles Ball, as trustee, for $2.64 million. Carl Wise, of Preferred Commercial Inc., was the listing broker and Kristy Tingle, of Acorn Management LLC, acted as the buyer's agent. Clark Road Properties LLP mortgaged the property to SunTrust Bank for $1.9 million.

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