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Business Observer Friday, Jul. 6, 2007 13 years ago

Commercial Real Estate Briefs

North Port hospital planned at North Sumter, I-75First Florida Bank building Charlotte branchSaunders acquires Strom & StromGemesis Corp. weighs expansion alternativesAM Engineering moves to trade centerWelsh buys land for retail projecTBoynton Beach firmbuys Westgate buildingSanibel physician buys Sunset buildingSalamander acquires Westin InnisbrookHIT Promotional expands to 118th AvenueLargo investor buys Ashley Oaks

Commercial Real Estate Briefs

by Sean Roth | Real Estate Editor


North Port hospital planned at North Sumter, I-75

BUYER: Sarasota County Public Hospital Board

SELLER: Members Group Ltd. Co.

PROPERTY: A portion of North Sumter Boulevard, North Port, also known as a portion of tract A, 29th addition to Port Charlotte

PRICE: $7.15 million

PREVIOUS PRICE: $2 million, April 2003

LAW FIRM ON DEED: Williams Parker Harrison Dietz & Getzen, Sarasota

PLANS, DESCRIPTION: Sarasota Memorial Health Care System's public board purchased 32 acres at the southeast corner of the Sumter Boulevard interchange at Interstate 75 in North Port for $7.15 million.

The health-care system plans to develop the property in increments over several years.

"Our main focus right now is an outpatient imaging facility on Toledo Blade with Dr. Lee Gross and eventually a freestanding E.R.," says Chief Operating Officer Michael Harrington.

Construction on the three-story 75,000-square-foot building is scheduled to start in the fall.

After the development of an emergency room over two to three years, the health system plans to develop a comprehensive outpatient campus on the Sumter Boulevard site and eventually an in-patient hospital.

"We'll probably start there with outpatients services and physician offices," Harrington says. "The key thing for us right now though was getting the land to bank, because strategically located sites with good north and south access are not that plentiful or inexpensive. At $8.50 a square foot [for 26 acres of buildable land] we think this is very competitive, especially for a location near an I-75 intersection."

Harrington expects the health system to work through permitting and governmental approvals for the hospital/outpatient complex while the Toledo Blade location is developed.

+ First Florida Bank

building Charlotte branch

BUYER: First Florida Bank, Naples

SELLER: Gulfstream Center LLC

PROPERTY: 19661 Cochran Blvd., Port Charlotte

PRICE: $2.09 million

LAW FIRM ON DEED: McKinley Ittersagen Gunderson & Berntsson PA, Port Charlotte

PLANS, DESCRIPTION: First Florida Bank, now part of Synovus Financial Services, purchased land on Cochran Boulevard for $2 million with plans to develop a new bank branch.

The 3,500-square-foot building is already under construction and is scheduled to open in early September, says John Crumrine, senior vice president. The new branch will have three drive-through lanes, a drive-through ATM and will likely house eight employees.

The new branch will be the bank's first Charlotte County location.

"It will be our seventh branch if it opens as expected," Crumrine says. "We will also be opening a new Englewood branch toward the end of the year. Charlotte County is a rapidly growing area that offers us a unique opportunity because it has far fewer banks than the surrounding areas. Both Charlotte and Sarasota counties are growing markets for us."

+ Saunders acquires

Strom & Strom

Sarasota Realtors Jerry and Sandy Strom have merged their 25-year-old residential and commercial real estate company Strom & Strom into Michael Saunders & Co. The Stroms opened Strom & Strom on Siesta Key in 1993. Prior to that, Sandy Strom was affiliated with Executive Realty, Schlott Realty and then Coldwell Banker Realty. For a time she managed the Schlott/Coldwell Banker office on Siesta Key while Jerry Strom continued to run his own commercial firm, Triad Land Corp.

The firm recorded gross sales volume of $43 million in 2005; Jerry Strom was unsure of the firm's volume in 2006.

Gemesis Corp. weighs expansion alternatives

Sarasota-based Gemesis Corp., maker of cultured gems, is weighing its options for expansion. Sarasota general contractor Halfacre Construction Co., Gemesis' landlord for the 30,000-square-foot Lakewood Ranch headquarters, is pushing forward with a site plan for a 31,028-square-foot addition to the building, but Gemesis officials say they are considering options locally, elsewhere in Florida and outside the state, according to Stephen Lux, Gemesis chief executive officer and president.

"A lot of this is contingent on what we can get as far as [a Qualified target Industry Tax Refund] and other incentives," Lux says. "We're also looking for efficiencies in the governmental process. We're still at an early stage. Our preference - all things being equal - remains to expand in Sarasota. But we are exploring all of our avenues."

The company is expected to make a decision on its expansion in about a month. One expense the company is looking to reduce, Lux says, is the high cost of electricity. Gemesis is also considering constructing a new building versus occupying an already completed building.

Asked if the company was considering a complete move from Southwest Florida, Lux said: "We have no intention of relocating as a whole," Lux says. "I couldn't say we would never do that, but we have no current plans to do that."

Gemesis has a long-term lease agreement on its current building.

Jack Cox, president of Halfacre Construction, said the site-plan work the company was undertaking was designed to position his firm to be ready to build if and when the firm decides to expand at its current site.

"We won't build it if they decide not to expand there," Cox says. "There is just too much office space on the market, particularly in Lakewood Ranch."

AM Engineering moves to trade center

BUYER: 8340 LLC, Sarasota

SELLER: Blackfin Landing LLC

PROPERTY: 8340 Commerce Court, Sarasota

PRICE: $1.19 million

PREVIOUS PRICE: $720,900, September 2005

LAW FIRM ON DEED: Blalock Walters Held & Johnson PA, Bradenton

PLANS, DESCRIPTION: AM Engineering principals Shawn Leins and Ron Nourse purchased the 7,700-square-foot building in Sarasota International Trade Center for $1.19 million. The civil engineering firm is relocating to the building from a building half its size on Tower Lane.

"We needed the extra space because of how crowded we were in our prior space," Leins says. "This also gives us a six-bay garage for our survey trucks."

8340 LLC mortgaged the building to Bank of Commerce for $1.23 million.


• Sarasota County received a check for $5.17 million as part of a grant from the Florida Communities Trust. The grant was awarded to offset the $16 million cost of the Blackburn Point Park Addition in Osprey. In January 2006, the county purchased 11 acres of waterfront property to increase the public's access to the water.

• CST Environmental, a California-based demolition and remediation firm, has opened its southwest regional office in downtown Bradenton's Riverwalk Professional Park. The regional office most recently demolished the former venue of the Charlotte Hornets, the 19-year-old 24,000-seat Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C.

• Jason's Deli leased 4,800 square feet of retail space at The Shoppes at Port Charlotte at 1100 El Jobean Road in Port Charlotte from Falls Creek Development LLC for 10 years. Debbie Anglin and Lori Conable of Ian Black Real Estate and Brian Burn of Sevell Realty Partners handled the transaction.

• Lincare Inc. leased 4,500 square feet at 740 Commerce Drive in Venice from Pinebrook Park LLC for three years. Lori Conable of Ian Black Real Estate and Paul Schouten of Michael Saunders handled the transaction.

• Talk Too Me subleased 6,375 square feet of office space at the Sarasota City Center at 1605 Main Street, Suite 709, in Sarasota from Compressor Controls Corp. for a year. Steve Horn and Debbie Anglin of Ian Black Real Estate handled the transaction.

• Bijoix Holdings LLC purchased 4,800 square feet of commercial intensive land at 4201 N. Washington Blvd., Sarasota, from Sarasota Cycle World Inc. for $566,000. Barry Seidel and Marcia Cuttler, of American Property Group, handled the transaction.

• Flight Management Corp. leased 5,000 square feet of office/warehouse space at 1201 Tallevast Road in Bradenton from Airport Commerce Center. Airport Commerce Center handled the transaction.

• Dependable System Engineering leased 5,000 square feet of office/warehouse space at 1199 Tallevast Road from Airport Commerce Center. Airport Commerce Center handled the transaction.

• Avalar Real Estate of Sarasota opened a new office location at 1530 Stickney Point Road, Sarasota, in the Boatyard Villages. The new office provides residential sales and leasing services.


Welsh buys land

for retail project

BUYER: Carolina Commons LLC (principal: George Vukobratovich), Naples

SELLER: Carolina Offices Inc.

PROPERTY: Intersection of Vanderbilt Beach Road and Pristine Drive, Naples

PRICE: $2.7 million

LAW FIRM ON DEED: Goodlette Coleman & Johnson PA, Naples

PLANS, DESCRIPTION: Naples-based Welsh Cos. Florida Inc. purchased land for $2.7 million at the northeast corner of Vanderbilt Beach Road and Pristine Drive west of an existing Sweetbay Supermarket development at Collier Boulevard. The developer has targeted the site for a 100,000-square-foot, four-building retail development called Carolina Commons.

The Welsh Cos. is already nearing completion on its site work for the project and expects to receive building permits in the next few weeks.

Carolina Commons will feature two retail buildings each 36,822 square feet along the property's 1,300-foot frontage on Vanderbilt Beach Road; a 14,100-square-foot building at the northwest corner of the property; and an 11,475-square-foot building to the northeast.

"We'd like to do them all at once," says George Vukobratovich, president and broker for the Welsh Cos. Florida, "but that will depend on leasing. It's going real well right now. One of the big things is that people know that we are developing it to manage and hold, not to flip it. We aren't in it for the short term. Our projects are designed from the ground up with that perspective."

The Welsh Cos. is listing units in the development for lease for $28 a square foot triple net with estimated $6 CAMS.

Naples-based Walker Contracting Group Inc. is the general contractor for the project.

From a strategic positioning standpoint, the development is focused on capturing the retail needs of Golden Gate Estates. "Because of the quirky zoning for Golden Gate Estates, the community is one of the most underserved areas for commercial or retail," Vukobratovich says. "This puts us on the main artery from Golden Gate Estates to Naples.

William Hoover's Carolina Offices Inc., which sold the land to the Welsh Cos., retained enough land for two planned office buildings, according to Vukobratovich. Hoover's firm has already completed a third office building.

Welsh Cos. Florida, formerly affiliated with the Welsh Cos. in Minneapolis, owns and manages several office buildings on University Parkway. Vukobratovich says the company plans to develop a new 20,000-square-foot office building in University Parkway and also plans to develop another retail center at Del Prado and Pine Island in Cape Coral.

+ Boynton Beach firm

buys Westgate building

BUYER: Lesbar Holdings LLC (principal: Barry Fiske), Boynton Beach

SELLER: Sox Development Inc.

PROPERTY: 5571 Lee St., Lehigh Acres

PRICE: $1.357 million

PREVIOUS PRICE: $425,000, April 2006

TITLE FIRM ON DEED: First American Title Insurance Co., Fort Myers

PLANS, DESCRIPTION: Lesbar Holdings LLC, a company affiliated with Boynton Beach-based N.A.D. Specialty Contractors, purchased a new 11,600-square-foot flex building in Westgate Industrial Park for $1.36 million, or $117 a square foot. Industrial developer Sox Development recently built the building speculatively, according to Todd Holman, a development specialist of Gates D'Alessandro & Woodyard, who represented Sox Development in the transaction. The building features a small 375-square-foot office building.

"It's a pretty good location, just seven minutes from three different [Interstate 75] interchanges," Holman says. "There's State Road 82, Colonial [Boulevard] and Daniels Parkway."

N.A.D. Specialty Contractors focuses on shower enclosures, custom mirrors, storefront windows, closet shelving and insulation.

Lesbar Holdings LLC mortgaged the property to Wachovia Bank NA for $1.154 million.

Sanibel physician

buys Sunset building

BUYER: Kuehner's Sunset LLC (principal: Denis Kuehner), Sanibel

SELLER: Sunset Realty Corp.

PROPERTY: 7290 College Parkway, Fort Myers

PRICE: $2.6 million

PREVIOUS PRICE: $1.6 million, May 1984

LAW FIRM ON DEED: Trenam Kemker Scharf Barkin Frye O'Neill & Mullis PA, Tampa

PLANS, DESCRIPTION: P. Denis Kuehner, M.D., of the family medicine and physical therapy practice San-Cap Medical Center on Sanibel Island, purchased the 22,796-square-foot, four-story Sunset Building for $2.6 million, or $114 a square foot. Jim Garinger and Andrew Falde of Colliers Arnold represented the buyer and Karl Lippek, CCIM, of Colliers Arnold represented the seller. Kuehner bought the office building for its investment income and future potential, Falde says. The purchase equates to a 7% capitalization rate.

"The biggest thing for the buyer was the low price per square foot," Falde says. "The rents there were low and gross. We will be converting them over to triple net leases. So we do that and as rents grow there's a huge potential upside."

Kuehner has retained Garinger and Falde as the leasing agents for the building. Kuehner's Sunset LLC mortgaged the building to Orion Bank for $2.08 million.


• Small Brothers LLC purchased 12.1 acres at 15230 Corkscrew Road, Estero from Estero Bay Baptist Church for $575,000. Charles Martin of Wynn's Realty represented the buyer, and Adam Palmer and David T. Pegg of Coldwell Banker Commercial represented the seller.

• Compass Construction Inc. will serve as construction manager and contractor for Redeemer Lutheran's new multipurpose facility on the Winkler Avenue Extension in Fort Myers. The project, a one-story, 13,644-square-foot facility, will include worship space, classrooms, administrative offices, a nursery and cafe. Site work is scheduled to begin in late summer, with construction work to follow. Estimated cost for the church project is $2.9 million and should be ready for occupancy in the spring of 2008.

• W&H Acquisitions LLC purchased 7,062 square feet of medical office space at 13411 Parker Commons Blvd., Building 9, suites 101-106, Fort Myers, from PDP LLC for $1.66 million. Jay Crandall of Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT represented the buyer, and Paul Sands of VIP Realty represented the seller.

• Fort Myers-based Stevens Construction completed construction of the Lee County Electric Cooperative distribution and service center. Located on Global Drive in Immokalee, the 8,138-square-foot facility houses a 5,912-square-foot warehouse and distribution center and 2,226 square feet of office space. The center serves as the main service and distribution hub for LCEC's east Collier County territory. Alliance Design Group designed the masonry and pre-engineered metal facility.


Salamander acquires Westin Innisbrook

Salamander Hospitality LLC, a Middleburg, Va.-based hospitality/management firm and grocer, has signed a purchase agreement with Charleston, S.C.-based Golf Trust of America to buy the Westin Innisbrook Resort, 36750 U.S. Highway 19 N., in Palm Harbor for $35 million.

The deal is scheduled to close July 16, according to Salamander Hospitality President Prem Devadas.

Details of the new owners' plans for the property are being withheld until after the closing.

"We are still only two years old," Devadas says, "so we are certainly looking at other acquisitions. But we don't have anything else we are adding right now. What interested us was really the Innisbrook property itself. There's the 625 condominium suites, four golf courses, including Copperhead, which hosts an annual PGA tournament. Plus there's nearly 60,000 square feet of conference space, five different restaurants and a large tennis center."

Florida is a fairly untapped market for the Salamander Hospitality and its affiliated companies. All of the companies are headed by billionaire Shelia C. Johnson, former co-founder of BET, developer and owner of several sports franchises, including the NHL's Washington Capitals, the WNBA's Washington Mystics and the NBA's Washington Wizards.

The company's closest property to the Gulf Coast is a Market Salamander gourmet market in Palm Beach. The nearest hospitality business is the Woodlands Resort and Inn in Summerville, S.C.

+ HIT Promotional

expands to 118th Avenue

BUYER: HIT Promotional Products Inc. (principals: Arthur Schmidt III and IV, Gary Meadows and Elizabeth Schmidt), Largo

SELLER: 118th Place LLLP

PROPERTY: 8254 118th Ave. N., units 700-770, Largo

PRICE: $5.877 million

LAW FIRM ON DEED: Lowndes Drosdick Doster Kantor & Reed PA, Orlando

PLANS, DESCRIPTION: Largo-based HIT Promotional Products purchased a 64,000-square-foot warehouse building in Largo for 5.9 million to expand the firm's production capacity and increase its storage. "This was really necessary to handle the growth of the company," says Gary Meadows, chief financial officer for HIT Promotional Products. "We've been in business for 30 years, and we've maxed out our 165,000-square-foot building on Bryan Dairy. Moving production over there is really going to free up some valuable space and parking."

The new building is expected to satisfy the company's growth at its current rate for at least three years, Meadows says.

The building was developed by Tampa's Harrod Properties Inc. and built by Ed Taylor Construction South Inc.

The company, which employs 450 people, produces promotional advertising specialty products.

HIT Promotional Products mortgaged the building to Bank of America for $4.752 million.

Largo investor

buys Ashley Oaks

BUYER: Ashley Oaks Apartments LLC, Largo

SELLER: 1701 E. 131st Avenue Holdings LLC

PROPERTY: 12748 N. 17th St., Tampa

PRICE: $4.07 million

PREVIOUS PRICE: $3.15 million, January 2001

LAW FIRM ON DEED: Andrews Kurth LLP, Dallas

PLANS, DESCRIPTION: A Largo investor using the name of Ashley Oaks Apartments LLC purchased the 130-unit Ashley Oaks apartment complex in Tampa for $4.07 million or $31,346 a unit. Darron Kattan, Andrew Wright and Francesco Carriera of Marcus & Millichap handled the transaction.

"This was purchased out of foreclosure," Kattan says. "The bank took it over in September 2006. It was mismanaged for quite a while. CB Capital, the servicer for the bank, has done a fair bit of work already, but it still needs more work. The new owner is planning a number of property improvements and management fixes. It is going to require a lot of hands on management."

The property was purchased for a 7.5% capitalization rate.

"We had 22 offers in our three weeks offering it," Kattan says. "The buyer eventually agreed to buy it for full price with no contingencies. It was a real quick sale."


• Bright Horizons Family Solutions leased 1.25 acres of land at Cypress Preserve in New Tampa from Buckley Properties. Tom Chamblee and Ben McLeish of Colliers Arnold represented the tenant. Jim Dunphy of Buckley Properties represented the landlord.

• General Dynamics Ordinance & Tactical Systems Inc. leased 12,281 square feet of flex space in Meridian Gateway Center at 3340 Scherer Drive in St. Petersburg from Meridian Cos. John Dunphy, CCIM, SIOR of Colliers Arnold represented the landlord, and Ann Barrett represented the tenant.

• Calkain Institutional Advisors, Calkain Cos.' institutional brokerage division, handled the sale of a 160,000-square-foot industrial portfolio of six buildings in Tallahassee. Jonathan Hipp, president of Calkain Cos., Joel Kahn, managing director, and Brett Pagani, associate, represented the seller, Capital Circle Commerce Park LLC.

• The Calkain Cos. in Tampa handled the sale of a Walgreen's drug store at 1170 East University Ave. in Gainesville. FOG Partners One Limited sold the asset to Series B LLC from Arizona. David Sobelman, vice president of Calkain Realty Advisors, represented the seller in the $3.6 transaction.

• Fountain Square Lakeland LLC purchased the 148-unit Fountain Square Apartments in Lakeland from Fountain Square Residences LC for $9,650,000 or $65,202 per unit. Darron Kattan and Andrew Wright of Marcus & Millichap in Tampa handled the transaction.

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