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Business Observer Friday, Apr. 23, 2004 15 years ago

Real Estate Briefs (Sara/Mana edition)

This week's items: New warehouse construction underway at Port entrancePersonal-injury attorneyplans office near S.R. 70Reeder Ranch sells thousands of acresCoast Bank buys downtown Republic Bank building

Real Estate Briefs (Sara/Mana edition)

New warehouse construction

underway at Port entrance

The Riggs family of Sarasota is preparing to develop six warehouse buildings at the entrance to Port Manatee. Stanley Riggs, the managing member of the family-run business known as Federal Port Corp., has received a building permit for the first building - an 80,000-square-foot warehouse.

"Right now, we are still putting in the underground utilities for the buildings," Riggs says. "We have been working on the project for almost a year." Vertical construction is scheduled to start toward the end of June or beginning of July. The $20-million project, called Port Manatee Commerce Center, is designed to provide 400,000 square feet of warehousing space.

Riggs says the reason for the development is the success and continued quick-growth of Port Manatee. "There is lots of interest out there," he says. "We aren't planning to do leases until the first building is completed. I have found that when you do pre-leasing, you tend to give away the shop. There aren't any banks involved in the project so we can be a little more cavalier. We didn't start this project until after visiting 12 other sea ports."

The building permit estimates the cost of the first warehouse to be about $1.6 million.

Personal-injury attorney

plans office near S.R. 70

M. David Shapiro, an attorney with the personal injury law firm of Shapiro, Goldman & Babboni, has filed a site plan in Manatee County to develop a 5,000-square-foot office building at 5275 Office Park Blvd. According to Herman Weinberg, with the firm of HEDJ Engineering Inc., the new building, located near State Road 70, should be under construction within the next three months. "We were just thinking the growth there is just phenomenal," Shapiro says. "The building is just right by the office park."

Completion is scheduled for the beginning of 2005. Shapiro says his firm will likely occupy about 2,000 square feet, and he will lease out the remaining 3,000 square feet. Shapiro has hired W. Terry Osborne, of the Sarasota architectural firm of Osborne and Sharp, to design the building. Development of the facility, which includes construction costs and land acquisition, is estimated at about $800,000.

Reeder Ranch sells

thousands of acres

Reeder Ranch & Dairy and William Manfull sold about 3,000 acres in Manatee County to Chamax LLC, Cargor Partners VI-Buckeye 928 LC, CC Manatee Development LLC and Timothy Knowles, as trustee of the Land Trust Number 32, for about $37 million. The properties are all located in northern Manatee County, near the Hillsborough County line. Calls to several of the new owners were not returned before deadline.

Coast Bank buys downtown

Republic Bank building

Coast Bank of Florida purchased the six-story Republic Bank building in downtown Bradenton at 1301 W. 6th Ave. from 1301 Associates LC for $6.8 million. According to company officials, the building will house the company's headquarters and the bank's seventh branch. The new office will give the bank a move visible location in the downtown core and should allow it to consolidate all of its administrative and corporate operations into one facility.

The first floor, formerly used as a Republic Bank branch, is being converted into a Coast Bank branch and is scheduled to open in mid-May. Renovations of the second and third floors for the headquarters administrative offices are set for completion later this year. Company officials do not expect any other tenants to be affected by the sale.

Once the new headquarters space is complete, Coast officials plan to sell its current operations center at 2412 Cortez Road W., Bradenton.

Local developers buy

building for condominiums

Warren Hickernell, a Prudential Cascade Realty agent and developer, and an unnamed partner purchased a 12-unit apartment building at 1106 Cocoanut Ave. in Sarasota from Sequoia Associates LC and Live Oak Land Trust for $720,000.

"Basically, what we are planning to do there is to convert the development into a marketly-affordable condominium development," Hickernell says. "We are going to completely rehab the property. This will allow people to live and work downtown. All but two of the units are currently vacant. We are literally one-block up from the Broadway (Promenade) development."

Construction should start in the next 60 days. The units will start in the $200,000 range. The new owners, who used the corporate name of Cocoanut Condominium Developers for the purchase, mortgaged the development to Bank of Commerce for $1 million.

At the same time, Hickernell and another silent partner are developing a 12-unit condominium at 2850 Gulf of Mexico Drive called the Neptune on Longboat Key Condominium. "This used to be a little two-story apartment complex," Hickenell says. "We will be gutting it and bringing it up to current standards. Every unit has views of the Gulf of Mexico. We are redoing the landscaping there as well."

All of the units, which have boat decks, are priced from the mid- to upper-$200,000s.

Hickernell is also renovating a triplex on Bradenton Beach called the Blue Horizon Condominium. Two of the three units have reserved.

Pointe West Design owner

redeveloping Bell Plaza

Interior designer Gary Pike is redeveloping the Bell Plaza Shopping Center at the corner of Orange Avenue and Dolphin Street in downtown Sarasota and renaming it the Orange Dolphin Galleria. The redeveloped center was designed by Sarasota architect William Thorning Little. Pike and his sales agent Barbara Baseman, of Michael Saunders & Co., are looking for tenants to occupy eight retail spaces, which range in size from 775 square feet to 2,325 square feet. Pike has already committed to opening Point West Antiques, an antique furniture shop featuring Juliska Glass, home accessories and vintage books in the development.

The Bell Plaza Shopping Center housed Cardinal Mooney High School in the late 1950s and was most recently the home for Serbin Printing Co.

Pike is part owner with Tony Falcone of Pointe West Design, an interior design store at 1524 Fruitville Road in Sarasota.

Gateway developers

eyes fourth, fifth

As construction is nearing completion on the third Gateway building, located a quarter of a mile west of Interstate 75 on the north side of Fruitville Road, its developers have started planning for their next two office buildings. According to Gavin Meshad with JWM Management, the management company for the three Gateway buildings, the new 49,132-square-foot building is set for completion in July.

"It is in the same architectural theme as the other buildings but on a small scale," Meshad says. "Lennar/USHome has pre-leased 80% of the building. There is only about 9,000 square feet still vacant." The first two buildings are completely occupied.

Initially, the developers, recently known as Sarasota Gateway Building C LLLP, had planned to build the third building to the same size as the first two, about 67,000 square feet. But when Lennar/USHome Corp. committed so early on in the process, the size of the building was significantly reduced.

Now the development group, headed by attorney John Meshad, is looking at developing two additional buildings roughly the same size as the first two. "The two things we would need to jump start that development," Gavin Meshad says, " would either be pre-leasing a 15,000- to 20,000-square-foot user (for the fourth building) or filling up the third building." Rental rates in the development run about $17 triple net.

The same development group has also filed a permit application to develop a 10,000-square-foot retail center next to Sarasota Credit Union on Fruitville Road.

LandMark Bank and Dunkin' Donuts have already committed to anchor the center.

Bruce Williams Homes reports

first quarter sales up by 200%

So far this year is shaping up to be a perfect time for home building. This week, Bradenton-based Bruce Williams Homes reported that sales revenue in the first quarter was $29 million, up by more than 200% over the same period last year. The company wrote contracts for 100 new single-family homes from January 1 through March 31.

"We just opened several new projects," says Britton Williams, company president. "A lot of this stuff is just coming to fruition now. Also our sales staff is doing a great job. There is no question the market is one of the strongest we have seen." Last year, the company reported annual sales volume of $70 million.

Last week, GCBR reported that Lee Wetherington Cos. saw their sales revenue in the first quarter increase by 70.8% compared to last year.


× Miami-based Lennar/USHome Corp., a developer in Sarasota and Manatee counties, topped the list of homebuilders in the "America's Most Admired Companies" issue of Fortune magazine for the second consecutive year.

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