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Business Observer Friday, Jan. 2, 2004 18 years ago

Real Estate Briefs (Sara/Mana edition)

This week's items: Lowe's buys land for Venice storeSarasota's Rooks buyscircle's Bottle Shop Wal-Mart Stores closes on land for new University big box Michael Saunders & Co. office tops in Englewood.

Real Estate Briefs (Sara/Mana edition)

Lowe's buys land

for Venice store

Lowe's Cos. Inc. purchased several acres at 1745 Tamiami Trail S., Venice, from USAA Real Estate Co. and SouthTrust Bank for $7.1 million. Construction on a new Lowe's Home Improvement Center will begin in the fall and the store is expected to open in 2005.

The 119,000-square-foot big box retail center will also offer an adjacent garden center. Construction is expected to cost about $9 million. The new store should employ about 175 people.

Lowe's, based in Mooresville, N.C., now has 55 stores in Florida, with new stores under construction in Pembroke Pines, Lake Park and Crestview. It employs more than 9,000 employees in the state.

Sarasota's Rooks buys

circle's Bottle Shop

Sarasota real estate maven Howard Rooks and his daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Bob Morris, purchased the Bottle Shop building at 29 Blvd. of the Presidents N. on St. Armands Circle from Huse & Huse Properties LLC for $2.57 million.

"I just like St. Armands property," Rooks says. "It is one of the most unique shopping areas in the entire country. That area is progressing very well."

The two-level property was the site of the Osteria restaurant, which closed about a year ago. Rooks plans to renovate the facility in a more contemporary style. He hired Sarasota architect Guy Peterson to redesign the building.

"I am going to make it into something that will be very special," Rooks says. "We are going to change everything. The Bottle Shop will be staying. There will be an upstairs ... maybe with an upscale wine bar on the first floor." Renovations, scheduled to begin in early spring, are estimated to cost about $1 million.

The new owners mortgaged the property to 1st National Bank & Trust for $2.3 million.

Commercial Plastering Inc.

plans new, larger headquarters

Bradenton's Commercial Plastering Inc. is growing. After 22 years, Commercial Plastering Inc. plans to build a 23,000-square-foot office/warehouse building at 4613 19th St. Court E., Bradenton. "We have just outgrown our space," says Bob Waldron, vice president of Commercial Plastering. The company, which provides subcontractor plastering services for commercial and municipal properties, now operates from an 8,000-square-foot building at 212 7th St. E., Bradenton.

In the last few months, the company has experienced major layoffs, but Waldron says that once the new building is completed, Commercial Plastering should return to full staffing - about 140 to 150 people. The general contractor for the new facility is Delta Southern of Sarasota.

"We are hoping to start in the next two to three months," Waldron says. "We should be in it by December. We are hoping to occupy half of the warehouse and divide the space into five or six rental units."

Wal-Mart Stores closes on land for new University big box

The biggest of the big boxes - Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart purchased 30 acres for a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter on University Parkway and Honore Avenue. Wal-Mart bought the property from VE Associates LLC, Ranger-1 LLC and FBBT Associates for $11.89 million.

Wal-Mart has faced some strong opposition regarding the new University center, primarily from nearby homeowners worried about traffic and noise issues. The Manatee County Planning Commission is scheduled to continue its public hearing on the project at its Jan. 8 meeting. Wal-Mart plans to build its standard 224,000-square-foot store.

Michael Saunders & Co.

office tops in Englewood.

The Englewood branch of Sarasota-based Michael Saunders & Co. broke new records during the last calendar year. Through November of 2003, the 30-person sales team recorded more than $50 million in sales and another $59 million in booked contracts.

Michael Saunders doubled sales associates in Englewood to 30 during the same period. Office sales were 50% higher than last year and closed contracts were up by 61%. Listing production has grown to 72% over the same period last year with $67 million in listings.

Elaine Tomanek, manager of the Englewood office, attributed the growth to the training the company gives her sales team and her associates' "keen ability to price our listings correctly." During the same period, expired listings for the Englewood office fell by 63%.

Tomanek's goal is to increase the office's sales to more than $75 million in 2004.


× The Astuto family, owners of the Longboat Key restaurant Ciao, purchased several commercial and retail properties at 1610 11th Ave. W., 1003, 1011 and 1015 17th St. W. in Bradenton from Gerald Snyder for $725,000. Carmine Astuto says the properties are occupied by government entities. The Astuto family, which purchased the property under the corporate name of Astuto Enterprises Inc., mortgaged the new properties to Coast Bank of Florida for $525,000.

× The Sarasota Collection leased 3,100 square feet of retail space from BT Partners LLC at 616-622 Central Ave. Ian Black of Ian Black Real Estate handled the transaction.

× Sarasota-based Dooley & Mack Constructors Inc. entered into a joint venture agreement with Royall Construction of Longwood to build the $40 million Emerald Beach Resort in Panama City Beach. The 25-story, 280-unit beachfront condominium will include a six-story parking garage, a four-story amenities/retail building, two beachfront pools and a day spa. The garage and amenities/retail building will be located on the north side of Highway 98 and will be connected to the resort by an overstreet, covered walkway. Emerald Beach Resort was designed by Phillip Shepherd Architects Inc. of Dallas.

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