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Sarasota-Manatee
Business Observer Monday, May 21, 2018 5 months ago

Prominent law firm sells downtown site to developer

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Williams Parker will remain on Orange Avenue while the anticipated 10-story, mixed-use project is constructed.

Shareholders in prominent Sarasota law firm Williams Parker Harrison Dietz & Getzen have sold the firm’s long-time headquarters to a New Hampshire-based investment firm that intends to redevelop the 3.3-acre property at 200 S. Orange Ave.

Capstone Group is expected to develop a mixed-use building containing offices and residences that would rise 10 stories on the site.

Bill Seider, a Williams Parker shareholder, says under an agreement the firm will remain in place during construction.

“Part of the attraction for us was that Capstone intends to do a development that will include office space on this campus,” he says. “That gave us a chance to have a state-of-the-art new office while maintaining our geographic identity.”

Williams Parker has practiced law on Orange Avenue since 1976, and a second building was completed there in 1990. The firm occupies about 43,000 square feet today, but it is adding attorneys and other staff as it expands into health care and other practice areas.

Seider declined to reveal Capstone’s purchase price, adding that development plans regarding the number of proposed residential units and other details remain in flux.

Williams Parker Holdings P.A. transferred assets comprising the 200 S. Orange Ave. campus to Cross Street Parcels Land Trust on May 9, according to Sarasota County property records. In using a land trust, the amount of the transfer is not recorded.

Capstone officials could not be reached for comment.

The purchase marks the latest in a series of deals for Capstone. In addition to Williams Parker’s headquarters, the company has acquired the PNC Building and Ringling Square office buildings downtown — each being across the street from Williams Parker’s property — and a former Arthur Andersen building on Paramount Drive off Fruitville Road, in Sarasota County.

In all, the company has invested in excess of $50 million to buy Sarasota area properties, exclusive of the Williams Parker property.

Seider says any new development wouldn’t debut until 2021 or 2022, and that existing leases with businesses ranging from Hancock Bank to Nancy’s BBQ restaurant that are part of the property will be honored.

Under the current Downtown Core zoning classification, Capstone could develop as many as 160 residential units on the 3.3-acre site.

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