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Business Observer Friday, Aug. 22, 2003 19 years ago

Real Estate Briefs

Richard Zipes and Tarragon Realty Investors pay more than $200 a square foot for downtown Sarasota property.

Real Estate Briefs


Pricey Property

Richard Zipes and Tarragon Realty Investors pay more than $200 a square foot for downtown Sarasota property.

By Sean Roth

Real Estate Editor

Developer Richard Zipes, president of Omni Development Co., is getting closer to breaking ground on The Metropolitan condominium development in downtown Sarasota (See "The Met Meets The Ritz," the Review, June 20-26, 2003.) Zipes, a commercial real estate developer from Fort Lauderdale, has partnered with New York City-based Tarragon Realty Investors Inc. to build a 124-unit, 18-story condominium project near the current Inn by the Bay, Denny's Restaurant and Weissgerber House property. The upscale condominium development is expected to be similar to a $200 million, 42-story Las Olas River House condominium project Zipes is building in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

On July 2, the partnership, Metropolitan Sarasota Ltd., closed on the first half of the property, about 1.4 acres, from Celt Inc. for $15 million. Now the company has completed its purchase of the final half of the property - buying about 1.48 acres of land for $13.7 million from SLAB LLC.

The price for all four parcels was considerable. The first purchase works out to about $246.45 a square foot, while the second property was about $211.84 a square foot.

Zipes, who needs to rezone the property to a more general commercial zoning (CCBD), will be taking the site plan before the Sarasota Commission for a Sept. 2 public hearing. If all goes as expected, the city commission could approve the rezoning and site plan as early as Sept. 15. Then the developer must apply for building permits. Zipes hopes to start construction on the tower in the second quarter of next year. "We will start on the model in October," Zipes says." We will probably finish (the model) December first. "

Although the property adjoins the new 90 luxury condos in the Tower Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, Zipes doesn't expect the nearby competition to hurt business. "We are going to be totally finished throughout," he says. "This allows a buyer to pay for a unit and move in. We are going to have flooring throughout ... simmer kitchens. This is the most significant corner (U.S. 41 and Gulfstream Avenue) in the city. We are going to be the leader of the pack ... the top condo on the West Coast. We will take everybody's breath away."

The units range in price from $1.8 million to about $5 million and start at 3,000 square feet.

Miami-based Sieger Suarez Partnership designed the project. Currently, no general contractor has been chosen. Construction of The Metropolitan is expected to take about two years.

The Metropolitan

Locations: 1156 First St. and 1153 and 1163 Gulfstream Ave, Sarasota

Seller: C. Robert Buford of Wichita, Kan., (SLAB LLC)

Buyer: Richard Zipes of Fort Lauderdale and Tarragon Realty Investors Inc. of New York City (Metropolitan Sarasota Ltd.)

Purchase Price: $13.7 million

Mortgage Company: SouthTrust Bank

Mortgage Amount: $15.75 million

Total Taxable Value: $3.56 million

Acres: 1.48 (64,673 square feet)

Previous Sale Amount/Date: $4 million/ Nov. 29, 2001


Investors pay $4 million

for 2 acres in Hillsborough

Wilkinson Family LP paid about $2.4 million per acre for a vacant commercial parcel at the southwest corner of Racetrack Road and Countryway Boulevard in north-central Hillsborough County.

The Myakka City-based family partnership of Kathleen Wilkinson of Sarasota and Grant Wilkinson of Myakka City acquired the 1.76-acre parcel for about $4.3 million from Tampa-based Amprop Associates II Inc. The seller acquired the property in February this year for $1.4 million.

The Wilkinsons mortgaged the corner parcel for about $3.3 million through Bay Cities Bank.

The Wilkinson's weren't available for comment.


Hillview/Ringling Square

buys old Cortez Bank land

A familiar Sarasota investment group purchased a bank building at 4702 W. Cortez Road in Bradenton. Sarasotans Doug Tibbetts and Brian Sullivan and Boca Grande resident Gary Sligar bought the 7,700-square-foot building from Gold Bank for $1.2 million. "We really have no plans for it," Tibbetts says. "We're not even sure it will stay a bank. We have no end-user right now."

Even so, the partners plan to remodel the front of the building and have applied for building permits.

Tibbetts, Sullivan and Sligar, joined with Sarasota businessman John Michael Smith, to renovate and update the 45-year-old 13,275-square-foot retail building Hillview Square, at 1830 Osprey Ave. S., Sarasota. The partnership is developing a five-story, 42,220-square-feet office and retail building at 1626 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, called Ringling Square.

"I have always liked the Cortez (Road) corridor," Tibbetts says. "I really felt it had the same problem as Hillview. It had an outdated appearance, along with a great structure in a great location. It was pretty ugly when we started, but a new facade should give it a much more modern look and make it much more appealing."

Tom Denslow, of Sarasota-based DSDG Inc., is the architect for the project. The facade construction is slated for November completion. The building is being offered for lease and can be subdivided. Cindy Tibbetts, of Sarasota-based Signature Investment Properties Inc., is the leasing agent.

The investment group, which used the limited liability company name of 4702 Cortez LLC, mortgaged the Cortez Bank land to First National Bank of Florida NA, for $1.08 million.

Buccaneer Realty owners buy Lakeside Office Park unit

Jennifer Scott and Patrick McGuire, partners in Bradenton's Buccaneer Realty, bought an office unit in Lakeside Office Park on State Road 64 East from Lakeside Development Co. for $525,000. The partners, who used their real estate investment company Finders Keepers LLC, purchased the unit as an investment and plan to relocate their real estate business. Buccaneer Realty will be moving Dec. 1from a 1,000-square-foot space at 3938 Manatee Ave. E., to share the space with a Curves Fitness Center.

"There is just so much growth in that area," Scott says. "It will give us more room so we can take on more agents. Currently we have six agents, but we are looking for more. By next year, we are looking to take on (another) six to eight."

Finders Keepers LLC mortgaged the unit to SouthTrust Bank for $420,000.


Condo developer acquires

apartments for $45 million

A Miami-based condominium developer recently paid $45.5 million for a 349-unit apartment building on Clearwater Beach.

Crescent Heights Acquisitions bought the Mandalay Apartments, 800 Mandalay Ave., for about $130,373 a unit from Stephen J. Furnary, Charles Grossman and John A. Loeisz - trustees of an unrecorded land trust and principal investment partners in ING Clarion Partners, a New York-based real estate investment advisory and management service.

The Miami firm mortgaged the property for $44 million through General Electric Capital Corp.

Pinellas official records show the property last sold in 1982 for about $6.2 million. The property, first constructed in 1962, contains three multistory wings with a total of 360,674 square feet of living space.

This is not the company's first foray into the Gulf Coast region. The company developed Island Walk and Island Place, upscale condo properties on Tampa's Harbour Island. Both have since sold out.

Not including the most recent acquisition, the company claims on its Internet website ( that it manages about 12,000 condo units throughout cities such Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. No apartment buildings are in the company's portfolio. Company officials weren't available for comment.

Investors plan townhomes

for Seminole Village land

About 95 townhomes are planned for the site of the existing Seminole Village Motel and Mobile Home Park in Pinellas County.

Lake Vista Townhomes LLC recently bought the 7.44-acre site, 7901 Seminole Blvd., for $3.4 million, or about $456,989 an acre, from Seminole Village Motel & Mobile Home Park Inc., a company owned by Eugene and Marilyn Mohney.

The Mohneys originally contracted to sell the property to Clearwater-based PAR Builders II, says Michael Rigato, managing partner of Clearwater-based Lake Vista Townhomes. But PAR Builders decided to exit the deal and sold the contract to Lake Vista.

Unlike PAR's original plans for luxury accommodations, Rigato says the Lake Vista partnership of family and friends proposes the development of three-bedroom townhomes with 2,225 to 2,500 square feet of living space. Prices would range from $239,000 to $400,000. "Each individual unit will have an elevator connecting to a two-car garage," Rigato says.

Lake Vista investors include many of the investors in the Clearwater Sleep Inn on Ulmerton Road. Besides Rigato, investors include Clearwater hotel and townhome developer Agostino Digiovanni; Gino Dipronio, owner-operator of a Days Inn, Punta Gorda; David Heath and Vijay Kishore, owners of a New Jersey-based information-technology company; and David Digiovanni, owner of the Clearwater Comfort Inn Suits.

Rigato says the investment group quickly heard from other groups interested in acquiring the property. But the Lake Vista investors are committed to the project, he says.

"We're kind of fending them off, because we want to do it ourselves," Rigato says. "Seminole is a family oriented community. We're family oriented people. So, hopefully, we'll do something pretty nice for Seminole."


Bella Vista Group buys Crescent View Beach Club

Jae Heinberg, president of the Tampa-based Bella Vista Group Inc., purchased the Crescent View Beach Club Hotel on Siesta Key from Siesta Resort LLC for $7 million. The new owner plans to operate the hotel through the spring of 2004 under the management of Hart Hotels Inc. After that, officials will only say that the company is in the preliminary design stages on something - most likely a luxury waterfront condominium development given Bella Vista's history.

The Bella Vista Group developed the Seagrove and Somerset Cay on Heron Lagoon condominiums on Siesta Key. Presently, the Somerset is 90% sold, and the Seagrove, which is still under construction, is 50% sold.

The new project at the Crescent View Beach Club is expected to open for sales in December, with construction scheduled to begin in the summer of 2004.

The Bella Vista Group mortgaged the Crescent View Beach Club property to AmSouth Bank for $4.8 million.

South Florida Sod

buys North Port land

Punta Gorda-based South Florida Sod Inc. bought 626 acres of land in North Port from Venice's Spanish Trail Land and Cattle Co. LLC for $11.5 million. Although officials for the sod grower declined to comment on the reason for the purchase, it appears it will be used for growing sod products. South Florida Sod grows and sells 25 different types of sod and sprigs on farms in South Florida primarily for use in golf courses and sports grounds. The new owner mortgaged the more than 600 acres to First State Bank of Arcadia for $10 million.

Wayne Roberts, partner relocates Roberts Insurance Agency

Bob DeBoer, an attorney with the Venice law firm of Kanetsky, Moore and DeBoer PA, and Wayne Roberts, of Roberts Insurance Agency, purchased a 7,000-square-foot office building at 211 Nokomis Ave., Venice from Edmund and Elizabeth Campbell for $650,000. "It's where Bouchard Insurance used to be," DeBoer says. "The Venice office has been consolidated. It's one of the only buildings on the island that has sufficient parking."

Roberts' insurance company will occupy the majority of the space, with about 2,500-square-feet of space still available. The insurance agency is slated to move into the space toward the end of September. The rental rate for the remaining space is about $14 a square foot gross.

The partnership mortgaged the property to the former owners for $600,000.


× Wilson Group Architects leased about 1,100 square feet of office space at 1453 Tallevast Road, Sarasota, from Airport Commerce Center.

× As part of its dividend offer, Sarasota Sun Hydraulics Corp. has refinanced mortgages for its Sarasota offices 1500 West University Parkway, Sarasota. The company signed a new $11 million mortgage with SouthTrust Bank.

× John and Rosemarie Vassallo bought two units in the Canal Park Center at 1611 12th St., E., Palmetto, from Canal Properties LLC for $235,000. John Vassallo says the combined offices, a total of 3,600-square-feet, will be the home of Southern Test Equipment Inc. The company, which operated out of the Vassallos' house, assembles hydraulic testing equipment. "We intend to sell the equipment worldwide," Vassallo says. The new business offshoot of another Vassallo company, a North Carolina engineering firm called the Arrowhead Group.

× American Sterling Enterprises, managing partner of SR 70 Developers, says that Peridia Office Park has received final plat approval from Manatee County. The office complex has already sold two building sites with closings scheduled for four additional sites. Peridia Office Park is located on State Road 70 near Interstate 75 in Bradenton and offers sites for sale and build to suit for medical/professional offices.

× Mederi of Collier County Inc. has leased about 2,000 square feet of office space at 6124 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota from Arlington Medical Properties Trust. Barry Seidel of American Property Group of Sarasota handled the transaction.

× William Hinton, also known as Gulf Coast Flooring and Restoration LLC, leased about 1,600 square feet of retail space at 303 S. Tamiami Trail, units A and B, in Osprey from Four Bays Plaza. Barry Seidel of American Property Group of Sarasota handled the transaction.

× Sarasota-based Charles H. Wilson Construction completed the 9,000-square-foot office at 1400 Cattlemen Road, Sarasota. The building is the new headquarters of Howard & Co. of Sarasota, an accounting and tax services company, as well as the Sarasota Artist's Gallery and a future bank.

× Edwards & Edwards CPA has leased about 1,005 square feet in the Bank of America building at 1201 Sixth Ave., W., in Bradenton. Keywest Micro Inc., a Canadian company, and R.T. Lawrence Corp., a California company, have jointly leased about 1,932-square-feet in the same building. Tony Veldkamp with Michael Saunders and Co. Commercial Group handled the transaction.

× TKD 03 Inc. purchased a 4,100-square-foot office condominium at 2100 Proctor Road from River View Office Park Inc. for $650,000. The property is zoned for office, professional or institutional users (OPI). John Harshman, of Harshman and Co. Inc., represented the buyer. The new owner mortgaged the property to The Bank of Commerce for $620,000.

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