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Business Observer Friday, Oct. 3, 2003 14 years ago

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Deal of the week: Econo Lodge converting to condominiums Rossiter's cruising forward with Bradenton dealershipThree investors buy Lime Tree ApartmentsFour partners building Palma Sola BayCasto Southeast, Zenith break ground on One Hundred

Deal of the week

Econo Lodge Surfside New Entrant in Condo Market

By Sean Roth

Real Estate Editor

Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key have seen a steady trend of motel/hotel buildings converted into condominiums. Now you can add the Econo Lodge Surfside at 2502 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach, to the growing list. Econo Lodge owner Gary Lewison of St. Petersburg recently transferred the motel from one ownership group (G&G Motel Associates Inc.) to another (Surfside Associates LLC) to sell as condominiums.

"We have been planning this for about a year and a half," Lewison says. "We were one of the first ones that started this (converting motels into condominiums.) We kind of led this process."

Lewison is converting 30 hotel rooms into 21 condominium suites in a $1 million renovation that is nearly complete. The general contractor for the renovation is Construction and Development Consultants of St. Petersburg.

For Lewison, turning part of the hotel in the condominiums is a way to recover some of the recent appreciation in real estate values experienced region wide. "It was just time to cash in on the appreciation," Lewison says. "It's like owning a stock. This is just good time for the development. This is just the right thing to do." All 21 condos are already under contract to sell.

Condo units are priced from $285,000 to $335,000. The condominium portion of the motel is being renamed Club Bamboo. The Econo Lodge will continue to operate with 24 motel rooms. "This will probably greatly increase our occupancy rates," Lewison says. Prior to 9/11 the Econo Lodge Surfside was running an average occupancy rate of 62%.

Club bamboo

Location: 2502 N. Gulf Drive, Bradenton Beach

Seller: G&G Motel Associates Inc.

Buyer: Gary Lewison of St. Petersburg (Surfside Associates LLC)

Purchase Price: $5.8 million

Total Taxable Value: $2.6 million

Year Built: 1975

Previous Sale Amount/Date: $2.55 million/ Sept. 12, 1995

Rossiter's cruising forward with Bradenton dealership

Sarasota-based Rossiter's Harley-Davidson Inc. filed a site plan to build a new 16,000-square-foot dealership in the 620 block of 67th St. Circle East in Bradenton. Rick Rossiter, president of the Sarasota-Manatee dealership, is building a new facility to replace the dealership at 1990 First St. The new development will be called Manatee Harley-Davidson at Travelers Oasis, according to the site plan.

The new facility almost trebles the current dealership location (6,000 square feet) and will enable the dealership to hire about 10 new employees. The dealership has outgrown its leased First Street location, Rossiter says.

John Jetton in Sarasota designed the exterior of the new facility while Interior Systems Inc., based in a Fond du Lac, Wis., drafted the interior.

Three investors buy

Lime Tree Apartments

Mark Manta, a Palos Park, Ill.-based real estate investor, partnered with Ken D'Agostino, president of Sarasota-based real estate firm D'Agostino & Associates, and Paul Olson, an partner with the Sarasota law firm of Burgess Harrell Mancuso Olson and Colton PA, to buy the Lime Tree Apartments, 2501 Bayshore Blvd., Bradenton. The three partners purchased the 32-unit complex from Lenvil and Mary Crews and the Lenvil Crews Trust for $2.15 million. "This was just a good investment for us," D'Agostino says. "The apartment (complex) was originally built for condominiums; it was just never condominiumized. It was built very well."

As for any future renovation or additions to the complex, D'Agostino says it is still too early to know. "But we are taking bids on some things," he says. D'Agostino will be the broker and manager, but he plans to hire a maintenance person to provide daily upkeep for the facility. Manta, the principal investor in the complex, owns a number of Walgreens drug store properties and an industrial facility, but Lime Tree Apartments is his first apartment complex investment.

"You couldn't build it now for what we paid for it," D'Agostino says.

The partners mortgaged the property to Northern Trust Bank of Florida NA for $1.636 million.

Four partners building

Palma Sola Bay

Tim Vining, partner in W.G. Mills Inc. - the second largest commercial contractor in the area - brother Chris Vining, John Vita and Willis Hermain, bought 11.5 acres on Palma Sola Bay from Robinson Farms for $1 million. The partnership, operating under the name of Palma Sola Bay Partners LLC, plans to develop 10 home sites with boat docks in a gated community called Palm Sola Bay.

The development is bordered on one side by the preserve and on the other side by the Fazio Golf Course.

Vining says the project has all the required approvals from the county and he expects construction of the roads and common landscape to start in March. Lots will start at $400,000.

The partnership mortgaged the property to Provident Bank and Needham and Georgia Jones for about $2 million.

Casto Southeast, Zenith break ground on One Hundred Central

One of the big new projects planned for downtown Sarasota is finally underway. Casto Southeast and Zenith Insurance Co. have broken ground on the One Hundred Central, a condominium tower, and Whole Foods Market Centre, a retail complex and grocery store. About three weeks ago, the joint company Casto-Zenith Corp. bought the property, near First and Second streets on Central Avenue, from the Community Redevelopment Agency of Sarasota for $1.74 million. The development is planned as a 62,344-square-foot retail center, of which about 36,000 square feet is the Whole Foods Market Store, along with a 95-unit, 11-story condominium tower.

In a public-private partnership, the development received about $6.65 million in economic assistance and land costs from Sarasota. In exchange, Casto-Zenith will provide about 300 public parking spaces in a 744-space parking garage and is committed to maintaining a grocery store for a minimum of five years. "It was a good deal for them," says Brett Hutchens, president of Casto Southeast. He says the city had already estimated it would cost about $3.6 million from the general fund to build a parking lot and in the current deal the city is isolated from construction problems and gets a guaranteed completion date. In addition, he says that the restrictions on the land-use, which require a grocery store to be built on the site, lower the land value far below its appraised value.

Larry Pearce, president of Fort Myers-based Realco Florida, a consultant on developing the residential component of the project, is a minor partner. The Sarasota-based real estate firm of Michael Saunders & Co. has been named the exclusive licensed Real Estate broker.

The residential condominium units will start in the low $300,000s.

Completion of the project is expected in late 2004. The Whole Foods Market Store will employ about 150 people.

Local investors buy

Venice's Island Breeze Inn

James and Annette Edwards purchased the Island Breeze Inn at 340 Tamiami Trail, Venice, from Douglas Smith for $1.1 million. James Edwards says he will continue to run the 19-unit inn as a hotel and that the family plans to manage it personally. "The old owners did quite a bit," says Edwards, "but it was run by absentee owners. Now it is going to get more personal attention." Edwards and his wife previously lived in Venice. The new owners expect to do minor renovations. The Edwardses previously owned motels in Bradenton Beach, Clearwater and Tampa.

The new owners, who used the corporate name of Island Breeze Inn of Venice Inc. for the purchase, mortgaged the property to Community National Bank of Sarasota County for $880,000.

Sorrento Realty owners

planning 28-home development

H. Lauden and Carolyn Pitts, principals of the Osprey-based real estate firm of Century 21 Sorrento Realty, bought 140 acres between Calusa Lakes, Interstate 75, Fox Creek and north of Laurel Road from Nancy Blem for about $1.8 million. The Pitts plan to develop about 28 large home sites surrounding a 65-acre wilderness area, all of which will be called Twin Creeks. H. Lauden Pitts says that the developers already have 32 reservations, four more than necessary, for the community. If the approval process continues as expected, construction will start early next year. However, at the same time that the development is being approved for residential development, the county expressed interest in possibly buying the property to extend Honore Avenue.

Lots cost about $200,000. The Pitts mortgaged the property to Gold Bank for $1.44 million.

ETC...

× Bradenton entrepreneurs George Smith and Roy Jackson bought about 14 acres of orchard or citrus land at 12270 N. U.S. 301 in Bradenton from Allyn Morrison for $490,000. Smith says he expects to develop the majority of the land as residential property along with professional space near U.S. 301. Smith and Jackson, who bought the property as S&J Land of Manatee LLC, mortgaged the land to First National Bank & Trust for $400,000.

× Manatee Community College opened its new 17,772-square-foot, $2.6 million Raymond D. Cheydleur Academic Resource Center and Elise J. and Edgar H. Price Jr. Learning Lab at 5840 26th St. W., Bradenton. The building replaces two 45-year-old classroom buildings and is designed to act as a one-stop center for academic support services including individualized tutoring, group study, videotape instruction, study-skills enhancement and computer-assisted instruction.

× Tampa-based Borderlake LLC, managed by Robert Martin, purchased about 20,000 square feet in Peridia Office Park, near State Road 70 and Peridia Boulevard, from SR 70 Developers LLC for $769,200. Borderlake expects to create two buildings and a courtyard with 12 condominium office units from 1,000 to 2,500 square feet. Construction is expected to start later this month. The first company is projected to move in by April. Borderlake mortgaged the property to Community Bank of Manatee for $1.984 million.

× Mark Kauffman purchased an empty lot at 700 Osprey Ave., Sarasota from Courtesy Cleaners for $250,000. Diane Lawson, of Sarasota Commercial Management Inc., says Kauffman plans to use the property as an additional parking lot for the 32,500-square-foot, three-story Bayou Professional Center building, 1751 Mound St. Kauffman mortgaged the Osprey Avenue property to SunTrust Bank for $300,000.

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