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Business Observer Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021 1 month ago

Shopping center near university brings more than $7 million

Gainesville real estate investor buys Fowler Plaza North, center adjacent to Rithm at Uptown
by: Louis Llovio Commercial Real Estate Editor

TAMPA — A shopping center near the University of South Florida has sold for $7.73 million.

The center, Fowler Plaza North, is on Fowler Avenue just east of University Mall and about a mile from the campus. The plaza’s current tenants include shops, restaurants — Chipotle Mexican Grill, Pizza Hut and Little Greek — and Mojo Books & Records, a destination for students and those in the know for about 15 years.

The 25,619-square-foot center was bought by the Lote Group, a private real estate development and investment group in Gainesville.

Fowler Plaza is right next to the mall, which is in the process of a massive transformation from a traditional shopping center into a hub of innovation with a tenant mix focused on research, technology and medicine as well as a retail component. One of the development’s early tenants is USF’s Institute of Applied Engineering.

When complete, developers say, it will be one of the largest, mixed-use innovation communities statewide, with capacity for more than seven million square feet of development, including several thousand residential units.

As part of the renovation, the center is being renamed Rithm At Uptown. The area around the center is being called the Uptown District.

In a statement announcing the sale, Mark Shellabarger, a senior vice president with CBRE, which represented the seller, says the center “received a lot of investor interest because of the tenant mix, upside potential in vacant space and its location in Tampa’s recently branded Uptown District.”

He says the firm received several aggressive offers both from local and out-of-market buyers.

The sale of Fowler Plaza North comes soon after a flurry of apartment complex sales near the university. In a matter of weeks, four major multifamily developments sold with record price tags, including Campus Palms, a student housing community, that brought $43.3 million.

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