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Manatee-Sarasota
Business Observer Friday, Mar. 26, 2004 14 years ago

Top 20 Projects

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he following pages highlight the 20 largest private construction projects in the two-county region. To qualify for the list, projects were required to have started construction between May 15, 2003-March 10, 2004.

Top 20 Projects

By Sean Roth

Real Estate Editor

The following pages highlight the 20 largest private construction projects in the two-county region. To qualify for the list, projects were required to have started construction between May 15, 2003-March 10, 2004. Commercial and multifamily projects were included. The ranking is based on an assessment by The Construction Guide and independent research. Companies that did not return calls or declined were omitted.

1. The Founders Club

Site: South of Fruitville Road and 3 miles east of Interstate 75

Estimated value: $120 million (home sites excluded)

Start date: January

Estimated completion: Fourth quarter (golf course portion)

General contractor: Fred M. Starling Inc. of Sarasota

Owner: Jay Tallman and Tom Brown of U.S. Assets Group and Fred Starling of the Starling Group

Details: The Founders Club is envisioned as a traditional 18-hole private golf course surrounded by a residential community in northeast Sarasota County. The golf course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., is scheduled for completion toward the end of the year. The remainder of the development is set for completion in the first quarter of 2005. The 700-acre development will feature a 27,000-square-foot clubhouse, designed by Fleischman Garcia of Tampa, and additional community recreation facilities. The three partners plan to sell 275 $75,000 golf memberships along with social and invitational memberships.

2. Laguna at Riviera Dunes

Site: 610 Riviera Dunes Way, Palmetto

Estimated value: $110 million

Start date: October 2003

Estimated completion: 2005

General contractor: Opus South Contractors LLC of Tampa

Owner: Laguna Riviera Ventures LLC (Opus South Development LLC and First Dartmouth Realty Inc.)

Details: Tampa-based Opus South's Laguna at Riviera Dunes and Corvus International's the Bel Mare at Riviera Dunes are completing one of the largest upscale developments ever in Palmetto. According to George Smith, real estate manager for Opus South, Laguna at Riviera Dunes is designed to hold five Mediterranean-style condominium buildings with 210 condominium units overlooking the manmade inlet. Each building has six living levels over parking. The units will range from 1,700 to 4,800 square feet and will cost from $390,000 to $1.2 million. "We are about to top out our first building," Smith says, "and we are getting ready to release the second building. They will all take about a year to build, but we are planning to overlap them." Opus decided to partner with Frank Maggio, CEO of First Dartmouth Realty Inc., who is developing all of the single-family homes in Riviera Dunes. Opus South designed the facility and will also serve as general contractor. Opus South is best known in Manatee County as the designer and builder of the Tropicana Products Inc.'s Bradenton headquarters.

3. Orchid Beach Club

Site: 2050 Benjamin Franklin Drive, Lido Key

Estimated value of construction: $110 million

Start date: December

Estimated completion: June 2005

General contractor: Boran Craig Barber Engel, Naples

Owner: Orchid Beach Club Residents LLC (principally U.S. Assets Group)

Details: The developer of en Provence on Longboat Key and Beau Ciel in downtown Sarasota, U.S. Assets Group is developing a resort-style condominium on Lido Key. Orchid Beach Club is being constructed on the site of the former Half Moon Beach Club. The project will feature two 11-story buildings with 54 residences, offering views of the gulf and the bay. More than 75% of the condominium units, which run from the low $1 million to more than $4.5 million, have been sold. The condominium will offer 13,000 square feet of amenities on the second floor in addition to two guest suites.

4. The Metropolitan

Site: 1150 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Sarasota

Estimated value: $100 million

Demolition start date: January 2003

Estimated completion: 2006

General contractor: Boran Craig Barber Engel Construction Co. Inc., Naples

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

Details: Richard Zipes, president of Omni Development Co., 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 high-rise condominium project at the site of the Inn by the Bay, Denny's Restaurant and Weissgerber House property. The developer has demolished the hotel property and moved the Weissgerber House to another property. The Denny's was then gutted and renovated as a sales center. The project is scheduled to open mid-April 2005. The units are priced from $1.8 million to about $5 million and range in size from 3,000 to 4,500 square feet. Miami-based Sieger Suarez Partnership designed the project. The development is similar to a $200 million, 42-story Las Olas River House condominium project Zipes is building in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

5. Plaza at Five Points

Site: 50 Central Ave. in Sarasota

Estimated value: $75 million

Start date: September

Estimated completion: Mid-2005

General contractor: Kraft Construction Co., Naples

Owner: Five Points Sarasota Investors LLC (principally Ersa Grae Corp.)

Details: At 180 feet tall, Ersa Grae Corp.'s 500,000-square-foot Plaza at Five Points is the largest mixed-use project in the area. The 16-story development offers 50 luxury condominiums, 15,000 square feet of retail space and 87,000 square feet of class-A office space, along with more than 420 parking spaces on five floors. To date, 47 of the 50 condominium units in the project have been sold, and 70% of the office and retail space has been preleased or pre-sold. The lease rate for office is $25 a square foot triple net, and the retail runs about $35 a square foot triple net. The office purchase option is $295 a square foot for shell condition plus additional cost for parking. Fifth Third Bank has committed to occupying 35,000 square feet in the building, and VenVest Corp., an air-conditioning and plumbing services management company, will take another 35,000 square feet.

6. La Bellasara

Site: 464 Golden Gate Point

Estimated value: $60 million

Start date: January 2004

Estimated completion: June 2005

General contractor: W.G. Mills Inc., Sarasota

Owner: La Bellasara LLC

Details: The redevelopment of Golden Gate Point continues with the development of the La Bellasara condominium on the former site of a retirement home. The 29-unit condominium is designed in a Mediterranean Revival style by the Sarasota architectural firm of Las Casitas Architecture & Planning Inc. "We are presently 70% sold," says Joselle Culp, vice president of La Bellasara. Gary Littlestar, president of La Bellasara LLC, is known for developing large-scale, master-planned communities, such as the 10,000-acre Tampa Palms community in Hillsborough County and the redevelopment of the 20,000-acre Rotonda community in Charlotte County.

7. The Beach Residences

Site: 1300 Benjamin Franklin Drive

Estimated value: about $55 million

Start date: January 2004

Estimated completion: Fall 2005

General contractor: Boran Craig Barber Engel Construction Co. Inc., Naples

Owner: Beach Residences LLC (an affiliate of Taylor Woodrow)

Details: Taylor Woodrow's Tower division is developing a 12-story, 88-unit condominium building to be managed by the Ritz-Carlton organization. The association with the Ritz means that Beach Residence owners will have access to the Ritz-Carlton private spa, the Beach Club and a golf course development. Featured amenities in the condominium include a social room, a billiard room, fitness center, theater, board room, library and two guest suites.

8. One Hundred Central and Whole Foods Centre

Site: 100 Central Ave., Sarasota

Estimated value of construction: $55 million

Start date: November 2003

Estimated completion: Whole Foods Market October 2004/Residential component May 2005

General contractor: Kraft Construction Co., Naples

Owner: City of Sarasota/Casto-Zenith Corp. (Casto Southeast and Zenith Insurance Co.)

Details: One of the two large mixed-use projects under construction in the downtown western core, Whole Foods Market Centre is planned as a 62,344-square-foot retail center, of which about 36,000 square feet is the Whole Foods Market Store. One Hundred Central is a 95-unit, 11-story condominium tower. Casto-Zenith will provide about 300 public parking spaces in a 744-space parking garage and is committed to maintain a grocery store on the site for a minimum of five years. Casto Southeast is also developing the Main Street at Lakewood Ranch in a partnership with Schroeder-Manatee Ranch.

9. Grande Riviera

Site: 420 Golden Gate Point, Sarasota

Estimated value: $33 million

Start date: November 2003

Estimated completion: Late 2004

General contractor: W.G. Mills Inc. of Sarasota

Owner: Grande Riviera Development LLC (Angus Rogers, Bob Roskamp and Phil Kaltenbacher)

Details: The partners in the Sarasota Bay Club are developing a nine-story, 13-unit condominium project on the tip of Golden Gate Point on the site of the former Riviera Apartments. The project will also include eight boat docks. "Twelve (units) have already been sold," says Angus Rogers, who founded Floriday's Development Co. Similar to the La Bellasara, the condominium building was designed by Las Casitas Architecture & Planning Inc. The units range in price from $1.58 million to $4.5 million.

10. Grande Oaks Preserve at The Meadows

Site: 5130 Desoto Road, Sarasota

Estimated value: $30 million

Start date: January 2004

Estimated completion: 2006

General contractor: Verzura International Construction of Miami

Owner: Don Bevins, Sarasota

Details: The Grande Oaks Preserve is a gated luxury, 10-building, 125-unit condominium complex near Honore Avenue south of University Parkway. "There are 30 acres of land out here, and they are only building on 12 acres of it," says Joseph Kandel, sales executive for the Grande Oaks. "So there are 18 acres out there with nothing on them, but a huge oak tree preserve." The condominium units range in size from 1,900 to 2,400 square feet and in price from $329,900 to $410,000. "We have the first building just about sold; we just have one left," says Kandel. "We have several units sold in building two and three. We will be starting the next building in a month or two."

11. Main Street at Lakewood Ranch

Site: Lakewood Ranch Boulevard

Estimated value: $25 million

Start date: March

Estimated completion: July 2005

General contractor: Hardin Construction Co. LLC, Atlanta

Owner: Casto Southeast and Schroeder-Manatee Ranch

Details: Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc., developer of Lakewood Ranch, and the retail real estate company Casto Southeast have joined forces to develop a large specialty center with retail, restaurants, a movie theater, office space and upscale condominiums. SMR approached Casto's Brett Hutchens in 1999 about the Main Street project. "They said they wanted us to do a lifestyle center there," Hutchens says. "There was not enough mass (traffic or homes) there. We said, 'No. You are just not ready for it.' But (three years later) Morton's Market and Fred's committed to the project. I thought that was enough of a catalyst to go forward with it. The interest that we are finding there is a very good surprise." Casto is responsible for construction, maintenance and leasing the shopping center buildings. Tenants committed to occupy the space include: Morton's Gourmet Market, Fred's Restaurant, Annabelle's Home & Kitchen, Chico's clothing store, Ana Molinari Day Spa, McAllister's Restaurant, Ritz Camera, Serving Spoon Restaurant, Natural Discoveries apparel boutique, C'est Si Bon women's apparel, Sunglass Express, Steven's Fusion Chophouse, Wish on Main gift shop and Attitudes on Main ladies' boutique. The Sarasota Film Society plans to open an eight-screen movie theater as part of development. Casto Southeast is also developing the One Hundred Central and Whole Foods Market Centre in a partnership with Zenith Insurance Co. and the city of Sarasota.

12. Courthouse Centre

Site: 1990 Main St. (Main Street and Washington Boulevard), Sarasota

Estimated value: $21.5 million

Start date: October 2003

Estimated completion: Commercial December 2004; residential, first quarter 2005

General contractor: Hardin Construction Co. LLC, Atlanta

Owner: Courthouse Centre of Sarasota LLC (Dr. Mark Kauffman)

Details: Designed to capitalize on the live and work concept of the downtown master plan, Courthouse Centre will feature 19 luxury, two-story loft penthouse condominium units along with 60,000 square feet of office space and 28,500 square feet of retail space running along U.S. 301. "The residential is sold out," says Diane Lawson, head of leasing at Sarasota Commercial Management. "Currently the commercial space is 63% pre-leased." Amenities in the mixed-use project include concierge service, a high-tech security system, a common conference room and computer-controlled HVAC.

13. Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine campus

Site: 5000 Lakewood Ranch Blvd.

Estimated value: About $20 million

Start date: September 2003

Estimated completion: Mid-2004

General contractor: NDC Construction, Bradenton

Owner: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Erie, Pa.

Details: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) is adding to Lakewood Ranch's reputation as a local education and medical center. The new 109,000-square-foot medical school branch campus is one of only six medical schools in the state. The branch at full capacity is expected to have a total enrollment of 600 students annually.

14. Majestic Bay condominium

Site: 258 Golden Gate Point

Estimated value: $18.5 million

Start date: November 2003

Estimated completion: End of November 2004

General contractor: W.G. Mills Inc., Sarasota

Owner: Majestic Bay of Sarasota LLC (David Winterrowd, Stephen Voigt Sr., Kelly Abercrombie)

Details: Majestic Bay is a 10-unit, 10-floor project envisioned as a boutique condominium with boat docks. "The condo is contemporary with expansive use of glass," Winterrowd says. "Five of the units have been sold." Don Lawson of The Lawson Group is the architect. Project amenities include garages, storage areas, a wine cabinet, fitness center, pool and spa. Boat docks with lifts can be purchased separately; only five docks are still available. Prices run from $1.2 million to $4.49 million.

15. Edwards Systems Technology

Site: Town Center Parkway in Lakewood Ranch

Estimated value: $18 million

Start date: November 2003

Estimated completion: Third quarter 2005

General contractor: Duke Construction of Indianapolis

Owner: Duke Realty Corp., Indianapolis

Details: Duke Realty is building a two-story, 109,000-square-foot building for lease to Cheshire, Conn.-based Edwards Systems Technology, a manufacturer of commercial fire-detection systems. The new facility will house about 170 people. The building was designed by the architectural firm of HOK of Tampa.

16. University Consumer Square

Site: 5473 University Parkway

Estimated value: $15 million (estimated on building permit)

Start date: November 2003

Estimated completion: August 2004

General contractor: Pat Cook Construction, Bradenton

Owner: Benderson Development Co.

Details: Sarasota-based Benderson Development Co. is developing this 110,800-square-foot strip retail building next to Home Depot at the corner of University Parkway and Honore Avenue. Benderson already has commitments from Staples, The Pamaro Shop, Bellacinos' Pizza and Grinder, Subway, Sports Clips, Roxy's Pet Depot, University Nail Salon, Atlanta Bread, Starbucks, Re/Max and Eckerd to occupy space in the center.

17. Stonewood Grill and Tavern

Site: 5415 University Parkway (University Consumer Square)

Estimated value: $13 million (based on building permit)

Start date: June 2003

Estimated completion: November 2003

General contractor: Halfacre Construction Co., Sarasota

Owner: Benderson Development Co.

Details: Benderson Development Co. built a 6,000-square-foot, dinner-only Stonewood Grill and Tavern restaurant west of the Carrabba's Italian Grill restaurant along University Parkway. This property gives Benderson one more high-traffic restaurant to attract people to its retail properties west of Interstate 75, which already offer Carrabba's and Bonefish Grill restaurants. Stonewood Grill & Tavern has 11 locations in Florida and two in North Carolina. Nation's Restaurant News called Stonewood the nation's "hot concept" for 2002.

18. Wal-Mart Supercenter on State Road 64

Site: 6225 E. State Road 64

Estimated value: $11.8 million (based on building permit)

Start date: September 2003

Estimated completion: Mid-Summer 2004

General contractor: Case Contracting of Plant City

Owner: Wal-Mart Stores East LP (Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville, Ark.,)

Details: Wal-Mart Stores is adding a 210,488-square-foot Supercenter with an outdoor garden center on State Road 64 a half-mile west of Interstate 75. "That is certainly a growing area," says Daphne Moore, community affairs manager for Wal-Mart Stores. "It will certainly help us better serve our existing customers and reach out to more customers as well. It will employ about 450 to 500 people, 70% of which will be full time."

19. 1250 Medical Office Building

Site: 1250 S. Tamiami Trail

Estimated value: $10 million

Start date: January 2004

Estimated completion: Spring 2005

General contractor: Hennessy Construction Service Inc., St. Petersburg

Owner: 1250 Holdings LLC

Details: The 1250 Medical Office Building on South Tamiami Trail is a 50,000-square-foot, four-story medical office, north of Sarasota Memorial Hospital and south of an existing Walgreens drug store. The primary tenant for the building will be Dr. Bart Price, who practices internal medicine. The building, which is designed similar to Sarasota City Center, is being built out of green granite. "They are entertaining the potential for developing a multi-specialty surgery center and an imaging center (in the building,)" says Jeff Charlotte of Hennessy Construction Service Inc.

20. Baer's Furniture in Sarasota

Site: 5301 Clark Road, Sarasota

Estimated value: $6 million (based on building permit)

Start date: December 2003

Estimated completion: Fall 2004

General contractor: Keene Construction Co., Maitland

Owner: Baer's Furniture Co. Inc.

Details: The upscale discount furniture and interior design retailer, Baer's Furniture, is building its largest store in the state near Palmer Ranch in Sarasota. Michael Ritter of the Sarasota-based firm of Ritter Miga & Associates PA designed the 84,000-square-foot store. "That is just an outstanding place to be," says Robert Baer, chairman and CEO of the family-owned company. "That will be our largest location. We own a 55,600-square-foot store in Fort Myers and a 65,000-square-foot one in Naples. It is going to be a state-of-the-art furniture store." The chain, which currently owns 13 locations in Florida, is also opening a new store in Orlando. The Sarasota store is slated to employ 65. "We will be opening a facility north of Sarasota. I'm just not sure when or where," Baer says. "We are also planning to open one in Port Charlotte."

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