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Business Observer Friday, Dec. 5, 2003 14 years ago

Real Estate Briefs

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This week's items: RBC Centura Bank buys Provident's Florida operationsRidgewood starts Ventura Village in VeniceTampa's Victory Lofts construction startsLocal operator sellsLakewood Ranch gas station

Real Estate Briefs

RBC Centura Bank buys

Provident's Florida operations

Rocky Mount, N.C.-based RBC Centura Bank, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada, completed its acquisition of the Florida operations of Cincinnati-based Provident Financial Group Inc. This purchase covers about 13 bank branches in Sarasota, Manatee and Hillsborough counties that serve about 21,000 customers. The purchase price for all the Gulf Coast properties is $80 million.

As of Oct. 31, Provident's Florida branches had deposit balances of about $856 million and loans of about $371 million.

The Provident accounts and loans should be converted to RBC Centura Bank's systems in the next few weeks, but branch signage has already been changed to show the RBC Centura banner.

"Acquiring these branches doubles our Florida presence in terms of branches and immediately gives RBC Centura a strong presence in key Western Florida communities," said Kel Landis, chief executive officer of RBC Centura Bank.

The U.S. retail operations of RBC Financial Group, RBC Centura, operates more than 250 branches, serving about 800,000 clients in five states. As a result of this deal, the 13 Provident branches join a network of 12 RBC Centura branches in Florida, primarily the result of its January 2003 acquisition of Admiralty Bancorp Inc.

In addition to RBC Mortgage and RBC Centura Bank, RBC Financial Group's U.S. operations include RBC Dain Rauscher, a full-service securities firm based in Minneapolis; and RBC Capital Markets, with corporate and investment banking operations.

Ridgewood starts

Ventura Village in Venice

Sarasota-based Ridgewood Building and Development, using the corporate name of Kemmons Wilson Inc., purchased 157 acres on U.S. 776, south of Jacaranda Boulevard in Venice, from Seymour Sherr for $3.9 million. Billy Springer, president of Ridgewood Building and Development, says the developer plans to zone the property and sell finished residential home lots to Kimball Hill Homes for development. "It will be a 400-unit development in Venice called Ventura Village," Springer says. "There will be single-family, attached and some estate lots."

Ridgewood Building and Development is the Florida division of the Memphis, Tenn.-based Kemmons Wilson Inc. The company is now developing Three Oaks, the 96-lot The Hammocks and the 293-unit Villages at Pine Tree. Kemmons Wilson mortgaged the property to Provident Bank for $9.7 million.

Tampa's Victory Lofts

construction starts

The largest loft project in the Tampa Bay area is underway. Structural work has started on Victory Lofts, an 89-unit residential development in the Channel District being built by RSG 1013 LLC. The company is owned by Grace and Richard Giunta, two of the founders of the Kash n' Karry shopping center chain.

The project, located at the corner of 12th and Whiting streets, is made up of a converted historic four-story Model T warehouse building and a new seven-story Victory building.

"With all the deep foundation work completed and the concrete footings being poured the first week of December, we're right on schedule," said Nick Pavonetti, director of development for Beck Development LLC. "In early 2004, the concrete frame will be coming out of the ground, and we anticipate hitting our target move-in date for new residents by fall."

All of the current construction is focused on the new high-rise building; renovation of the smaller existing building is slated to begin next year. The development, which is 68% pre-sold, is being marketed and sold by Tampa's Smith & Associates Realtors. The price per unit ranges from $180,000 to $800,000. Sellout of the entire project is expected to be about $28 million.

Local operator sells

Lakewood Ranch gas station

Lakewood Ranch has proven a good place to invest for at least one gas station owning/operating company. Sarasota's West Coast Oil Inc. sold the Chevron gas station at 6290 Lake Osprey Drive in Lakewood Ranch to Ashland Partners LLC for $3.68 million. The Lake Osprey Drive, located along University Parkway, was one of the first stations in the master planned community. West Coast Oil bought the undeveloped property in November of 1999 for $2,500. "It is always busy," says Lisa Rubinstein, director of public relations for SMR Communities. "It has been an extraordinary location."

Alan Brooks' West Coast Oil has applied for a site plan to build a new convenience store and carwash just off State Road 70 at 6016 Lorraine Road in Lakewood Ranch.

MEB Capital buys

Sarasota's Golden Host

MEB Capital Inc. purchased the Best Western Golden Host Motel at 4675 Tamiami Trail in Sarasota from Guran Associates for $3.1 million. A Sarasota MEB Capital spokesman says the hotel will continue to be run by a separate property management company. The new owners have no plans for changes to the hotel, and the entire staff is expected to remain with the property. MEB Capital mortgaged the property to First State Bank for $2.17 million. The about 30,000-square-foot hotel has 82 individual units. Guan Associates purchased the property in 1990 for $2.1 million.

ETC...

× Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp. released its annual Home Price Comparison Index, which shows a comparison of similar homes sold in typical, middle-management transferee neighborhoods in 317 markets across the U.S. and 25 markets in Canada. According to the study, the average sales price for a 2,200-square-foot home in the Sarasota area is $253,683.

Compare this to $588,000 for a similar sized home in Miami/Coral Gables, Coldwell Banker's HPCI most expensive market in the state, or $162,333 for a home in Pensacola, the state's most affordable market. The average price in the Sarasota market is below the average state price of $273,527.

The cumulative national average sales price of all markets surveyed in the Coldwell Banker HPCI is $318,172, up 9% from $291,097 in 2002. The study's most expensive market is La Jolla, Calif., ($1,362,375) and the most affordable market is Binghamton, N.Y., ($121,400), indicating a price difference of $1,240,975 for a similar 2,200-square-foot home. Of the top 10 most affordable markets, two were in Oklahoma and there was no major predominance among the rest as the cities spanned all regions of the country. The criteria for the HPCI subject home is single-family dwelling, about 2,200 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, family room (or equivalent) and 2-car garage in neighborhoods/zip codes within a market that is typical for corporate middle-management transferees.

× After posting record sales in August, Bradenton-based Neal Communities confirmed its highest one-month sales total in its 33-year history - $9,038,000 and 28 homes sold in September. The company's August sales of 22 homes and lot sales totaling $8,362,036 had initially broken the record, until the September numbers were tallied. Additionally, Neal reports its highest-ever quarterly sales of $21,714,000 and 63 homes sold in the third quarter of this year, ending Sept. 30. The benchmark figures are 121% greater than those posted for the same third quarter period of 2002.

× Kellogg & Kimsey Inc., a Sarasota general contracting and construction management firm, completed The Spa Club at The Ritz Carlton. The 15,000-square-foot spa contains 16 treatment rooms, a relaxation terrace, dual hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms and complete fitness room. Kellogg & Kimsey was also the general contractor for the Beach Club at The Ritz Carlton. Construction of the facility took 210 days.

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