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Business Observer Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 4 months ago

Area developer moves forward on future apartments, restaurants

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Naples-based Stock Development and its Stock Luxury Apartment Living division is developing Fruitville Commons in Sarasota.
by: Grier Ferguson Sarasota-Manatee Editor

In 2020, construction will start in earnest on apartments and commercial space at the Fruitville Commons development in Sarasota.

The project, developed by Naples-based Stock Development and its Stock Luxury Apartment Living division, is just east of Interstate 75 on Fruitville Road. It's an area several business leaders and officials have marked as prime potential for development for at least the past decade. 

Courtesy. Stock started on infrastructure for the Fruitville Commons project in January 2019.

Stock started on infrastructure for the project in January 2019. It bought the 42-acre site, previously owned by the family of David Walters in a trust, in May 2018 for $10 million. “You can’t replace great real estate,” says Keith Gelder, president of Stock Luxury Apartment Living and vice president of land for Stock Development. “It was really right place, right time in terms of our opportunity to purchase the property. Timing is everything in this business.”

Initially, Stock was only under contract for the apartment portion of the project. “The more we got into the transaction with David Walters, we really fell in love with the project, and we really wanted to design and control and master plan it,” Gelder says.

Given its high-visibility location as well as existing entitlements, Gelder says the property has the potential to be a true mixed-use, live-work-play environment. “As a company, we’re drawn to not only completing projects but designing places,” he says.

Before Stock bought the parcel, Walters and a team that included Hoyt Architects and Loyd Robbins, president and principal broker at Harry E. Robbins Associates Inc., worked together on plans for a mixed-use development on the same site. “I’d say it’s similar but different,” Gelder says of the new plans. “Once we started laying out different uses and how they fit together, we just made some minor adjustments.”

Changes included alterations to the road network. Stock is still working within the framework of Sarasota County’s Fruitville Initiative zoning and design criteria. The sometimes controversial initiative involves a 420-acre tract designated by the county for a mix of uses.

Courtesy. The Fruitville Commons development in Sarasota will include apartments and commercial space.

One of the biggest challenges for Stock, Gelder says, is making sure it complies with the criteria. “Trying to design a project that meets the needs of some of the tenants, the developer and the county’s requirements can be a little tricky,” he says. “At the end of the day, I think we’re going to come up with a beautiful project.”

The apartment portion of the development, Citria at Fruitville Commons, will include four residential buildings and a two-story clubhouse overlooking a pool. Stock engaged Hoyt Architects to design the apartments.

“You can’t replace great real estate. It was really right place, right time in terms of our opportunity to purchase the property. Timing is everything in this business.”— Keith Gelder, president, Stock Luxury Apartment Living and vice president of land, Stock Development

Gelder says master infrastructure is almost complete, and it has started construction on 300 apartment units. The first units are likely to be delivered in December 2020. “I think once we go vertical with the apartments, there will be quite a bit of new activity once people see what’s going on,” he says.

Outside apartments, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants is signed up to open a location at Fruitville Commons. Stock is also under contract with The Lock Up Self Storage. “We’re working with a lot of other businesses that are complements to the apartment project,” Gelder says. “We’re selective in the tenants and uses that will be part of the project.” 

Stock is talking with at least a dozen other prospective tenants that could come to the project, including a coffee chain and hair and nail salon as well as several sit-down restaurants. It’s also talking with two or three hotel groups. “The site can support at least one hotel, probably two in terms of demand,” Gelder says.

Courtesy. The apartment portion of the development, Citria at Fruitville Commons, will include four residential buildings and a two-story clubhouse overlooking a pool.

Adjacent to Fruitville Commons, Unicorp National Developments Inc. is developing Southwood Village, another mixed-use project that includes residential units and retail space. The Stock and Unicorp developments, Gelder says, will feed off each other. That many rooftops in a close geographic area will attract attention from a retail perspective, he says. “I think you’re going to see explosive growth east of 75.”

The timeline for Fruitville Commons’ completion is probably a three-year build-out, Gelder says, but it’s hard to pinpoint the timing of the entire project. He says it’s market-driven and dependent on leasing activities, but by the end of 2020, a lot of businesses will be coming out of the ground. “Most developers stick to one asset class,” he says. “We’re really covering all the bases with this project, which makes it challenging and fun, frankly.”

 

To read more on the 10 top things to watch out for in 2020, click the links below.

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