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Business Observer Friday, Jan. 22, 2016 6 years ago

Sembler expands its portfolio

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Sembler expanding its portfolio; Tampa's GE bid short-circuited; Validus Senior Living adding projects; Power brokers change firms to start 2016
by: Kevin McQuaid Commercial Real Estate Editor

Sembler expanding its portfolio
Sembler Co. will develop $77 million worth of new retail space in Alabama and Sarasota and Pasco counties this year, burnishing a portfolio that saw some $57 million worth of additions in 2015.

The St. Petersburg development and investment company intends to break ground or deliver new Publix- and Wal-Mart-anchored centers in Pasco County this year, together with a pair of projects in Huntsville, Ala., a Walmart Neighborhood Market in North Port and a Publix center in North Carolina.

Those moves come on the heels of the addition last year of more than 420,000 square feet in a trio of retail centers in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Atlanta, St. Petersburg and West Palm Beach, says Sembler Chief Investment Officer Sean Davis.

“The focus of our business is, and has always been, what we call 'necessity retail,'” Davis says. “All of our new centers will be grocery anchored, because we still go and buy goods in person there. Ours has been a tenant-driven business for 50 years, built with a handful of strong relationships.”

But the half dozen new projects in three states could be just a warm-up for Sembler for 2017. Its plans then include a new project in the West Villages of Sarasota County and an 800,000-square-foot center in Alabama. Town Madison, as it will be known, will cost $200 million to develop and be the largest single asset in Sembler's roughly 11 million-square-foot portfolio.

Validus Senior Living adding projects
Continuing a wave of senior living expansion along the Gulf Coast, Tampa-based Validus Senior Living is planning to add a community in Bonita Springs to its portfolio by the end of the first quarter.

The company also has plans to expand in Windermere, near Orlando, with a new community in August, and projects are in various stages of development in Fort Myers, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Houston and Atlanta.

At least part of the expansion is being funded through a $50 million, five-year revolving credit line with Hancock Bank.

Formed in 2004, Validus currently operates senior living centers in Bradenton; Sarasota; St, Petersburg; Sun City Center; Tampa; and Lakewood Ranch.

Power brokers change firms to start 2016
A pair of Tampa-area commercial real estate power brokers switched companies to kick off the new year. Kurt Keaton, a long-time JLL executive and the brokerage's former market director for Florida, joined competitor Franklin Street as president of the firm's real estate and management services division. During Keaton's 16 years at JLL, where he was managing director, JLL quadrupled its investor client portfolio to more than 30 million square feet. Founded in 2006, Franklin Street today has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Atlanta.

Additionally, Rick Narkiewicz has joined brokerage firm Newmark Grubb Knight Frank's Tampa office, as senior managing director. Narkiewicz, an industrial specialist who focuses on the sale of distribution centers and manufacturing facilities, spent the past 18 years with CBRE Inc. His previous deals included representing Highland Packaging, C&S Wholesale Grocers and Prologis, the largest owner of industrial real estate in the nation.

Tampa's GE bid short-circuited
Cross General Electric off the list of corporate headquarters that Strategic Property Partners might be able to land to its $2 billion Tampa development in Channelside.
The global manufacturing firm earlier this month announced it would move from Fairfield, Conn., to Boston, and consolidate offices in New York City in the process.

GE, which is in the process of restructuring its operations away from consumer products and finance, had reportedly considered sites in Nashville, Tenn.; Austin, Texas; and Atlanta for its new headquarters. Tampa was considered a viable option, in part, because SPP co-founder Jeff Vinik has close ties to New England business leaders.

GE is expected to move more than 800 employees from Connecticut as part of the headquarters' shift.

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