As was the case in each of the past two years, residential sales dominated the Sarasota and Manatee counties’ submarket in 2018.
Two of the market’s top five transactions were for traditional apartment complexes, while two other sales involved self-enclosed “villages” that appeal largely to extended visitors, snowbirds, seniors and recent retirees.
The largest deal of the year, however, involved one of the area’s premier resorts, a transaction that pushed total dollar volume for the top five transactions to nearly double that of 2017.
Combined, the five largest transactions in the Sarasota/Manatee market generated $527.1 million in 2018, as compared to $266.85 million in the prior year.
Perhaps even more interestingly, four of the five were considerably larger in terms of dollar volume than the top transaction of 2017 — the $76.1 million deal for the Echo Lake Apartments, in Lakewood Ranch.
That sale would barely have cracked the top five in 2018, a sign that the Sarasota/Manatee market is being discovered by investors eager to capitalize on population influx and solid visitor numbers.
Apartments of various vintages continued to be popular with investors in 2018, and remained a steady asset class that’s shown resilience for the past three years.
In 2017, for instance, 80% of the top five transactions entailed multifamily rental product; and in 2016, the figure was 60%. The past year saw a reversal of that trend, with just 40% of the largest deals involving apartments.
- Ritz-Carlton Sarasota: $172.3 million
Braemar Hotels & Resorts acquired the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota in April from a partnership controlled by Kansas-based SLAB LLC, which had co-developed the 266-room, luxury hotel, associated condos and amenities beginning in 2000.
In buying the resort, the Dallas-based real estate investment trust set a record in the Sarasota/Manatee market for a lodging sale.
In addition to the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota’s four-star, 17-story downtown hotel and spa on 11 acres, the deal also included a private beach club with amenities on Lido Key; a 325-acre, 18-hole golf course and clubhouse in Lakewood Ranch for hotel guests and members; and vacant land.
Over the course of its 17-year history, the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota has been ranked as one of the region’s pre-eminent resorts, with accolades from Zagat, Forbes, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and others, and occupancy consistently tops 80% during the popular winter tourism months.
The Sarasota property became the second Ritz-Carlton that Braemar owns among its dozen holdings, the other being located in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to its website.
- Carlton Arms of Bradenton: $110.25 million
FLF Holdings LLC set a record for the purchase of a single multifamily rental asset in the Sarasota/Manatee submarket when it acquired the 900-unit Carlton Arms of Bradenton.
The 100-acre apartment property was completed in 1980 and provides a park-like, waterfront setting.
In addition to traditional, existing amenities like swimming pools and tennis courts, FLF Holdings is contemplating adding a kayak launch, pavilions and other improvements for tenants.
Prior to the FLF Holdings’ purchase, the property had been owned by a single entity, Mahaffey Apartment Co., for the past 38 years, although MetLife affiliate Brighthouse Life Insurance Co. was a joint venture partner.
FLF Holdings, based in Jupiter, owns more than 2,500 multifamily rental units and other commercial projects.
- Camelot Lakes Village: $90.77 million
Cove Communities of Phoenix purchased the 119-acre, manufactured home community of Camelot Lakes in Sarasota County as part of a two-property transaction with the Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation, also of Arizona.
The purchase brought to nine the number of manufactured developments Cove Communities owns in Florida, along with projects in Deland, Leesburg, Ruskin, Melbourne Beach, Ocala and Tarpon Springs.
In all, the company owns and operates 20 communities concentrated in Florida, Canada and New England.
Developed beginning in 1981, Camelot Lakes contains 534 homes and amenities such as a clubhouse, swimming pools, shuffleboard, tennis courts and other activities.
Cove Communities officials say they were drawn to Camelot Lakes because of its quality and culture, and because it fit nicely with the other properties in its portfolio.
The company is expected to make a series of improvements to the property in the year ahead.
- Longitude 82 apartments: $79.6 million
Passco Cos. LLC of California acquired the former Springs at Bee Ridge apartments in Sarasota County in May from developer Continental Properties.
The company says it was drawn to the 360-unit complex, which was completed in 2017 on a 50-acre site, because of the surrounding area’s higher-than-average household income, unique architecture, lack of comparable competition, close proximity to Interstate 75 and modern amenities.
Unlike many other Gulf Coast multifamily rentals, Longitude 82 contains a series of two-story units with nine-foot ceilings and amenities such as a salt-water swimming pool, poolside kitchen, clubhouse and a pair of dog parks.
Longitude 82 became Passco’s ninth community in Florida, a portfolio that contains 2,700 units, including ParkCrest Landings in Bradenton, which it bought in 2016.
- Camelot East Village: $74.2 million
Camelot East was the second of the two communities that Cove
Communities acquired in Sarasota County from the Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation.
Like Camelot Lakes, Camelot East was developed beginning in 1981. The 105-acre community is somewhat smaller than its sister development, with 434 homes, but many of the amenities are similar to both manufactured home projects.
Cove Communities officials say Camelot East also fit into its portfolio well, and that future enhancements are forthcoming.