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Business Observer Friday, Sep. 28, 2012 10 years ago

Naples office sets sale record

A Minneapolis firm pays $49.9 million for Fifth Third Center.

NAPLES — Minneapolis asset management firm Olympus Ventures LLC has purchased the Fifth Third Center office building for $49.9 million. The price equated to $310 per square foot.

According to property records, the seller was Naples-based FTC Naples LLC. Officers of FTC Naples' parent, FTC Naples Manager Inc., include Richard Crawford of Naples; John Erb of Bloomfield, Mich.; Ira Jaffe of Southfield, Mich.; and Carl Craft of Birmingham, Mich.

The sale is the largest individual commercial sale in Collier County in at least the past three years, according to the Collier County Property Appraiser's office. The second-largest sale during that period was The Blackstone Group's purchase of the Carillon Place shopping center in June for $35.35 million.

The eight-story, 161,000-square-foot office building at 999 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, was fully leased at the time of the sale. Fifth Third Bank and Brown & Brown Insurance are its two most prominent tenants. The sale also included parking deck with more than 500 spaces.

Craig Timmins and Clint Sherwood, both of Investment Properties Corp., represented the seller. Andrew DeSalvo, Dougall McCorkle and Matt Stepan, of Premier Commercial Inc.; Gary Jaarda, of Premier Sotheby's International Realty; and GLJ Inc., of Michigan, represented the buyer.

None of the brokers would comment on the buyer or its investment return citing confidentially, but the Business Review was able to verify the buyer's identity using public records.

The building is one of if not the largest office building in Collier County and at 10 years old, it is also one of the youngest Class A buildings in the market. The building was never listed.

“When a building trades like Fifth Third Center, it's typically acquired for long-term passive income,” Stepan says speaking in general of the investment. “People don't buy properties like this because they're value-add propositions. Because of its location this building has always had a high occupancy historically and likely always will so it's seen as a safe investment for the long hall.”

Stepan and Timmins say the transaction clearly shows that investment interest in Collier County is strong.

“With all the troublesome news about real estate in general, this is definitely a positive sign that investors are looking at Southwest Florida and Collier County as long-term places to invest their money,” Stepan says. “What its says is that Naples seems like a safe bet. It has a strong local economy and it's expected to stay strong. We're by no means out of the woods yet, but confidence in the local market is returning from investors.”

Olympus Ventures did not immediately return a call for comment.

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