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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Jul. 6, 2018 2 years ago

Owner: Building purchase is investment for communications company

A building changing hands near downtown Sarasota is an investment, not the new home of a local television station.

There’s been some buzz surrounding a recent Sarasota building purchase.

Citadel Communications, the broadcasting company that owns Sarasota television news station SNN, bought a 7,100-square-foot office building at 2040 Sixth St. for $925,000. The property is near the busy intersection of Washington Boulevard and Fruitville Road, close to downtown. 

There was speculation the building, formerly a church, would be renovated and used as SNN’s new home.

But Citadel owner Phil Lombardo tells Coffee Talk that’s not the case. 

“Citadel purchased the building as an investment,” he says. It was never intended to house SNN. Instead it’s a “terrific investment” two minutes from downtown, according to Lombardo.  

Another attractive element of the property to Lombardo was ample parking — 45 spaces are on the 1 acre lot.

The building is being cleaned up and renovated now, Lombardo says. “We’ve already had numerous inquiries about people interested in leasing it.”

Lombardo declines to disclose how much is being invested in the renovation but says the building was allowed to deteriorate. The renovation work will be done this summer. Citadel has tapped Hoyt Architects for the project.

The Sixth Street property is not the only real estate investment Lombardo has in the area, he says. He owns additional properties down the west coast of Florida to the Naples-Fort Myers area.

As for SNN, Lombardo says the station is still in a lease at the former Herald-Tribune newspaper building on Main Street in Sarasota. That building recently went under contract and is expected to trade hands at the end of 2018.

Lombardo says he plans to sit down with the buyer of that property and talk about SNN’s future there. “It’s been a good location for us,” he says. “We’re very comfortable there.”

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