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Business Observer Thursday, Jul. 20, 2006 16 years ago

Gateway to Sales

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The right connections got N.J. Olivieri in the door. Planning and technology then helped him close on $124 million in real estate sales in three states.
by: Adam Hughes Staff Writer

Gateway to Sales

STRATEGY by Sean Roth | Real Estate Editor

N.J. Olivieri is putting his personal dent in the old real estate axiom that location trumps all. Instead of location, Oliveri, president of Sarasota Horizon Mortgage Corp., uses networking as his calling card.

At least that's what enabled the mortgage industry veteran to close $124 million in real estate sales over a two-week period ending July 14. While the closings were planned in advance, the geographical reach of the trifecta of deals, and more importantly, the amount that changed hands, is still significant.

"It's nice when they close," Olivieri says. "That's always special. It means we get paid."

In Sarasota, Olivieri handled the sale of four buildings in the Gateway Office Park to the Boston pension fund TA Associates Realty for $55 million. The deal, which closed July 12, is being called the largest single transaction in Sarasota and Manatee counties in 2006.

Olivieri also sold a 498,000-square-foot research and development facility in Longmont, Colo., near Boulder. Hard disk-drive maker Seagate Technology, which acquired the building in its May acquisition of Maxtor Corp., sold the building along with an 11-year leaseback contract to the New York City-based Goldman Family Trust, led by Leonard Goldman and Jeff Fishman, for $60 million. The deal closed June 30.

And in Minot, N.D., Sunwest Management of Portland, Ore., acquired an 85-bed, fully occupied assisted-living facility from St. Louis-based Brookhill Development for $9.1 million; it closed July 14.

Deals totaling $124 million are lucrative for any agency, but it's especially huge for Horizon Mortgage, considering the brokerage business is merely a side operation to its mortgage-financing arm. The mortgage company records an average of $350-million commercial mortgage placements annually while the brokerage side books $150 million to $175 million in transactions. So the $124-million week is almost as much as a year's worth of brokerage work.

Olivieri says the big deals closed because of experience, technology and most of all, networking.

"I used to fly out to all the sites, but now you can pull up all the information you need on the Internet," Olivieri says. "Then it's just the relationships you develop over the years. You also have to know how to write a presentation together that's accurate with all the financials."

The deals ultimately came down to Olivieri's network of friends and contacts.

For instance, in the Sarasota deal, Olivieri says he has known John Meshad and his son, Gavin Meshad, who own and manage the four-building 250,000-square-foot Gateway Development, for several years. Olivieri's children go to the same schools as the elder Meshad's children. That relationship got things going.

And the eventual buyer, TA Associates Realty Inc., has been an Olivieri client for 15 years. Olivieri represented TA Associates when it purchased the 224-unit Summer Cove Apartments in Sarasota in 2003 for $17.3 million. It sold that property in late 2005 to Prestige Builders Partners for $34.7 million.

In the Seagate deal, Olivieri used his contacts in the industry, people he's known for several years, to get a deal going.

And prior to doing the assisted living facility sale, Horizon Mortgage provided financing to Brookhill Development for more than a decade. When one of the two owners of Brookhill passed away, the remaining partner, Barry Pessin, approached Olivieri about selling the facilities.

Of the three recent deals, that was the only one where Horizon Mortgage provided financing. The other two brought cash, Olivieri says.

TOP EIGHT COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS, SARASOTA-MANATEE REGION (July 17, 2005 to July 17, 2006)

Manatee County

Date Amount Acreage Land use Address Buyer

December 2005 $15 million 195.8 Golf course, driving ranges 14355 Golf Course Road MML II LLC

February 2006 $14.37 million 9.77 Vacant commercial E. 52nd Terrace G&T Land Development

October 2005 $13 million 14.4 Community shopping center 5000 block of Manatee Avenue W. Property Holdings LLC

August 2005 $11 million 2.7 Hotel or motel 8270 N. Tamiami Trail THI IV Sarasota SHGI LLC

Sarasota County

Date Amount Acreage Land use Address Buyer

August 2005 $108.3 million 2,405 Open Use Estate Tamiami Trail Tuscano LLC

September 2005 $55.5 million 30.6 Residential Multi-family 1000 Marlin Lakes Circle Gateway Lakes 358 LLC

October 2005 $46.6 million 26.7 Residential Multi-family 5010 Central Sarasota Parkway Cypress Mayfair Ltd.

September 2005 $44.3 million 22.4 Residential Multi-family 4110 Winners Circle Citation 320 Selaware LLC

Source: Manatee and Sarasota property appraisers records

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