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Real Estate Briefs (Tampa edition)

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  • | 6:00 p.m. February 18, 2005
  • Commercial Real Estate
  • Tampa Bay–Lakeland
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Real Estate Briefs (Tampa edition)

Tampa office building

use not expected to change

Speculation of turning 400 North Ashley Plaza, a landmark office building in downtown Tampa, into a residential or hotel building, was laid to rest by Micheal Learner, American Capital Partner's vice president.

"It will continue as a 100% office building," Learner said. "Our plan is to inject some capital over the coming months."

ACP LLC, a Miami-based real estate investment firm, purchased the building Feb. 9 at a low price of $35.5 million from Colonnade Properties LLC of New York, which had bought the building in June 2000 for $49.5 million.

The building has a 35% vacancy rate with leasing rates ranging between $19 and $22 a square foot.

"We have some exciting things planned for the project," he said, declining to spell out the details.

With increasing demand for residential units, Learner is bullish on downtown Tampa, adding that it would translate into more and more companies interested in relocating to downtown and "that will directly benefit 400 North Ashley Plaza."

He also pointed out the building's great location, next to the Tampa Museum expansion. "We just feel that our core capability in turning around under-performing assets will bring to bear on 400 North Ashley," Learner said.

Prior to the North Ashley acquisition, ACP sold two office buildings in Tampa - Westshore Place I and II. "Given the state of capital markets and a high occupancy rate at the project, it was a good time to pursue our exit strategy," Learner said.

ACP obtained a mortgage of $40 million from Merrill Lynch Business Financial Services Inc. and Merrill Lynch Capital for the 400 North Ashley Plaza purchase.

"The quality of the borrower and their extensive experience was attractive," said Kevin Rostowsky, regional sales manager of Atlanta-based Merrill Lynch Capital's real estate finance group.

"We are long-term believers in the recovery of the specific submarket as evidenced by our investment," Rostowsky said.

California group buys

Dale Mabry center

LW Tampa 857 LLC, a property investment entity of Newport Beach, Calif.-based L & W Partnership, bought a retail property at 2710 N. Dale Mabry Road, Tampa, from Trust 2400987400 of the City National Bank of Florida for $6.25 million.

The purchase comes with an existing lease and extension options with Circuit City Stores Inc., which has had a store at the location for 14 years, said Fran Gitsham, manager of LW Tampa 857.

"We purchased it strictly as an investment property," Gitsham said. "We purchased it for cash and we went in feeling confident that with the lease obligation with Circuit City we obviously would receive lease monthly payments for a term income stream."

The company has no plans for further investments in this area in the near future, she said, adding, "We purchased it as a 1031 tax exchange property. We sold multifamily units in Southern California and with a portion of the proceeds from there we bought this property."

Clearwater Beach motel

to be converted into condos

The condo conversion trend continues with another Clearwater Beach hotel soon to be replaced by upscale condominiums.

Agostino Digiovanni of Tropical Breeze of Clearwater Beach LLC purchased the Tropical Breeze Motel, 333 Hamden Drive, from William and Shirley Saunders for $2.55 million.

The motel will be razed and converted into 13 condominiums, priced at $700,000 each, Digiovanni said. Construction should begin within 10 months.

CB Richard Ellis

expects good year

CB Richard Ellis leased or sold 335,437 square feet in January, mostly in the Tampa area.

The largest transaction was the sale of 101,198 square feet of general purpose office space at 4003-4175 Fowler Ave. Summit Real Estate Investment Trust sold the premises to Art Hill & Co. for $99 per square foot, according to CB Richard Ellis.

Two other transactions of considerable size were the lease acquisitions of 34,484 square feet of general purpose office space at Bayport Drive and 33,000 square feet of warehouse/distribution at Chad Lane.

"We are very pleased with the overall activity in January," said Ray Sandelli, senior managing director-Florida CB Richard Ellis.

McClure Moorings

buys townhomes

Michael McClure of McClure Moorings LLC purchased six townhomes at 684 Bayway Blvd. from Moorings Townhomes II LLC, a company owned by Roland Rogers, for $3.21 million.

Units range in size from 2,000 square feet to 2,300 square feet and are priced between $500,000 and $800,000, said attorney Stephen G. Watts, who represents McClure.

McClure Moorings LLC obtained a mortgage of $4.26 million from Colonial Bank NA.


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