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Business Observer Friday, Mar. 12, 2004 18 years ago

Real Estate Briefs (Sara/Mana edition)

This week's items: Casto, Meshad buy, renovate former Jacobson's RMC Property Group buys Beachway Plaza Aer-Flo Canvas Products to build new facility Kauffman, partners plan University retail building

Real Estate Briefs (Sara/Mana edition)

Casto, Meshad buy,

renovate former Jacobson's

Operating as Yankee Traveler LLC, a partnership of Brett Hutchens, managing partner of Sarasota-based Casto Lifestyle Properties Inc., and Sarasota lawyer/developer John Meshad purchased the four buildings that used to be the Jacobson's store on St. Armands Circle from the Sam Idelson family, Simon Tobian and Frank and Lois Appleby for about $6.4 million.

Hutchens says the partnership will gut the interior of the 26,000-square-foot structures immediately, with the intention of spending about $2 million on improvements. The buildings will house a new Starbucks Coffee shop, the relocation of the two St. Armands' Chico's stores, a Brighton leather goods store and a yet-to-be-named restaurant.

The Sarasota firm of Kellog & Kimsey is the contractor for the renovation; Sarasota architect George Palermo has handled the designs.

The project should be completed in August or September, Hutchens says. Chico's is expected to open in September, occupying 6,700 square feet and including in that space one of the company's new concept stores - Soma by Chico's. Soma, a new women's casual clothing chain, targets women 35 to 55 with annual incomes of $100,000 and up.

Starbucks has signed a lease to occupy 1,000 square feet and Brighton, a California-based merchant of leather handbags and other accessories, will occupy 1,200 square feet.

That would leave about 4,000 square feet available on the ground level. "We're not sure about (the remaining space)," Hutchens says.

The second floor of the building will be remodeled to accommodate a restaurant and additional retail stores. Hutchens said the group is in discussions with three national restaurant operators. "That's not to say we won't do a local restaurant," he says.

"We believe second-floor retail can work if it is done properly," Hutchens said. That would include installing floor-to-ceiling vertical glass to expose both floors and providing adequate escalators and elevators. "We'll wait on the second-floor retailers," Hutchens said. "We want to finish what we have first."

Hutchens said the St. Armands project is smaller than what Casto typically develops. But he decided to invest in the property because of the optimistic outlook for St. Armands and Sarasota. "Certainly if I didn't live in Sarasota, I wouldn't have done this," he says.

Meshad, a prominent Sarasota lawyer who also has become one of the region's largest developers and property managers, said he invested in the partnership because "St. Armands is a great place. It's not as good as it used to be. But it can be better if you get involved and try to make it better."

Jacobson's shut down about two years ago, after the Michigan-based retailer filed for bankruptcy. Prior to becoming Jacobson's, the original retailer was known as the Yankee Traveler.

RMC Property Group

buys Beachway Plaza

Tampa-based RMC Property Group purchased the ailing 125,000-square-foot Beachway Plaza, on Manatee Avenue near the intersection of 75th Street in Bradenton, from Beachway Associates for $3.5 million. The main focus of the new ownership is to replace the former Beall's Department store. "We will be demolishing that building," says Michael Leeds, chief operating officer for RMC Property Group, "and we will be putting a 45,000-square-foot Publix there. We will also be refurbishing the entire balance of the center. We are making it a class-A retail property. It is just a good piece of real estate."

Demolition should start within the next five days. Leads says the goal is to have the new Publix facility completed before the end of the year.

RMC Property Group mortgaged the retail center to Wachovia Bank for $11.1 million.

Aer-Flo Canvas Products

to build new facility

Bradenton-based Aer-Flo Canvas Products Inc. has a site plan to develop a new manufacturing facility at 4455 18th St. E., Bradenton. The majority of the facility, 38,000 square feet, will be warehouse and manufacturing space, while 6,000 square feet is reserved for office space.

"We are waiting on final permitting," says Bill Henning, president. "We were hoping to get started in January, but now it is looking like we will break ground in March. We are currently in a building adjoining the new building. We are currently growing at about 40% a year." Henning expects to complete the new facility by November.

Aer-Flo Canvas Products' primary product is turbidity barriers for erosion settlement. The company just introduced a new specially made tarp cover for pitching mounds. "Manatee Community College was one of the first groups to use and evaluate it for us," he said. "We have sold them to the Yankees, the Dodgers, even Washington State University.

The new facility will be built by HalfAcre Construction Co.

Kauffman, partners

plan University retail building

An investment group called MBKK Properties has filed a site plan to develop a 10,500-square-foot retail building on University Parkway just west of Honore Avenue called Center Ring Boulevard. The managing partner for MBKK Properties is Dr. Mark Kauffman, the Sarasota developer of Courthouse Centre downtown.

"It was really because of the growth we are seeing out in that area," says Diane Lawson, of Sarasota Commercial management Inc. "The south side of University is just a good spot for retail. There is a lot of activity out there. It's going to be a spec building."

Lawson says the developer is expecting to break ground in the next four to six weeks. The rental rate is $23 triple net, excluding CAM costs. The building is initially being designed with five leaseable units.

FGP Creations invests

in two North Port buildings

North Port-based FGP Creations Inc. purchased two commercial buildings at 2630 and 2600 Bobcat Village Center in North Port from Hallsey Enterprises Co. for $1.25 million. One of the two 5,000-square-foot buildings is occupied by Achievements Learning Center, while the second building is leased by InterMedic Health Center and National Recreational Properties of Port Charlotte.

Tiffany Profita, vice president of FGP Creations, says renovations are planned. The new owner plans to develop two additional buildings on the existing property and a 12,000-square-foot building across the street.

"Those buildings should start going up in the fall," Profita says. "We are hoping for an August or November completion. We like the growth we are seeing in that area."

Cousins purchase

Sarasota Sleep Inn

Brookville., Pa., hotelier Devin Desai and his cousin Jitendra Patel of Sarasota purchased the Sleep Inn at 900 University Parkway, Sarasota, from CSFB 1998-C1 Sarasota LLC for $1.65 million.

"We are planning to renovate it," Desai. "We are refurbishing everything." Renovations will begin toward the end of April and should be completed in June.

Desai says he and his partner purchased the 80-room motel, across from the airport, because the motel and Sarasota area are attractive.

Desai owns a Days Inn in Brookville.

The new owners, who used the corporate name of J.K.D.K. Inc. for the purchase, mortgaged the motel to First National Bank Northwest Florida for $989,874.

Boston developer plans

Blackburn Point Marina Village

Blackburn Point Marina Village LLC, a Boston development partnership, purchased 3.5 acres at 440 Blackburn Point Road from Betilu LLC for $1.1 million. The developer plans to develop a 19-unit, gated, two-story condominium called Blackburn Point Marina Village.

"They are planning to start construction in next 30 days," says Mike Burkert, sales and market broker with Commercial Clearinghouse in Sarasota. "The condo is being built around a marina and a pool. It's going to be real upscale."

Units in the development will range in price from $410,000 to $450,000. To date, all but four of the units have been reserved.

"Once we get started we can pretty much deliver in 90 days." Burkert says. "We are planning for deliveries by the end of the year."

The new owners mortgaged the property to Gold Bank for $600,000.

Lee Wetherington Homes to

develop 99 sites on Proctor

Sarasota's Lee Wetherington Homes purchased 99 home sites about a half-mile east of Interstate 75 on the north side of Proctor Road from Petz Development for $3.22 million. The development, which is being called Tuscana, will be walled and gated. Petz Custom Homes Inc. will develop six of the home sites.

Homes prices will range from the mid-$400,000s to $900,000.

"We already have 10 sales," says Lee Wetherington, president of Lee Wetherington Homes. "It will be an all-gas community, with block interlocked driveways. It is just a great location."

Lee Wetherington Homes mortgaged the property to SunTrust Bank for $2.2 million.


× The University of South Florida leased 3,736 square feet of office and classroom space at 5333 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota from Nordvik Corp. Michael Witt, with American Property Group, represented the lessor.

× Michael Barrett of Kid Positive Inc. has leased 2,500 square feet in the Children's Educational, Art Supply and Resource Center, 2222 Gulf Gate Drive, Sarasota, from Ting Fong Mak. Barry Seidel, president of American Property Group of Sarasota Inc., represented the lessor, and Michael Witt, also of American Property Group, represented the lessee.

× VIA Auto Sales leased 1,700 square feet of retail/showroom space at 2515 12th St., Sarasota, from Bodie's Automotive. Marcia Cuttler and Jeffrey Rosenthal, both of American Property Group, handled the transaction.

× Sunstate Pest Management Co. leased 2,400 square feet of office and warehouse space from 299 Interstate Court in Sarasota from M&M Management. Barry Seidel, president of American Property Group of Sarasota Inc., represents the lessor, and Jeffrey Rosenthal, also of American Property Group, represented the lessee.

× Old Munich Restaurant signed a five-year lease for a 4,500-square-foot suite in Sara Bay Plaza, 6515 14th St. W., Bradenton, from Southby Inc. The suite was formerly occupied by Sonny's Barbecue. Barry Seidel and Marcia Cuttler, both of American Property Group, handled the transaction.

× John and Jill Illes purchased 2,500 square feet of commercial property at 2615 Mall Drive in Sarasota from G&M Moss Limited Partnership/The Simon Trust for $375,000.

× James Connelly, Roger Beacon and Ray Joelson bought four industrial lots in Triple Diamond Commerce Plaza as an investment from Triple Diamond Commerce Plaza for $525,000.

× Drazmar of Manatee LLC purchased Lot 8 in Peridia Office Park from B. Douglas Fraley II for $330,000. John Harshman, of Harshman & Co. Inc., represented the buyer.

× Mid-America Engine has leased 6,250-square-feet of office/warehouse space at 885D Tallevast Road in Sarasota from Federal Warehouse Corp. #5. the transaction was handled by Federal Warehouse Corps. of Sarasota.

× John Harshman, president of Harshman & Co., represented Fort Lauderdale-based Keenan Development in its purchase of 6.8 acres of land in Lakewood Ranch. Lakewood Ranch Realty represented the seller, Lakewood Ranch Corporate Park.

× Gust Inc. has lease 900 square feet of office space at 1451 Tallevast Road in Sarasota at the Airport Commerce Center. The transaction was handled by Airport Commerce Center.

× Pat Neal and James Schier, using the corporate name of Myakka Ranch Holdings LLC, purchased several acres in Myakka Ranch from Myakka Ranch LLC for $10.03 million.

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