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Real Estate Briefs (Tampa)

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Real Estate Briefs (Tampa)

SunVest Boosts Portfolio with $35 Million Deal

By David R. Corder

Associate Editor

Over the better part of three decades, the principals at South Florida's SunVest Communities LLC have converted more than 20,000 apartment units into condominiums. The Hallandale-based company claims historic gross sales of nearly $2 billion. The company's successes in the Miami-area market beget other opportunities elsewhere such as in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Houston and Gypsum, Colo.

Up until fairly recently, though, the company showed little interest in the Tampa Bay area markets. Over the past 10 years, for instance, the partnership of entrepreneurs behind the company - Harvey Birdman, his son, Louis Birdman, and Herbert Hirsch - focused on the booming condo-conversion markets in Miami and Orlando. That strategy changed a little more than two years ago when it discovered the Tampa Bay area.

On Aug. 31 the company acquired 316 apartments units for almost $34.8 million in Hillsborough County's Carrollwood community, attesting to the company's expanded interest in the Gulf Coast region real estate market.

"We love the Tampa area," says Matthew Krac, SunVest's sales director.

In March 2003 the company purchased 272 apartments units in North Tampa and converted them into a condo project now known as the Highlands at Hunters Green. A few months later, it bought 80 acres for $12 million in Ruskin and developed the Bahia del Sol condominiums. Those projects sold out during the third quarter last year.

The successes there only whetted the company's appetite in the Tampa Bay area market.

Last summer the company purchased 440 apartments for about $70 million in Clearwater's Grand Venezia and Grand Bellagio and began conversion work there. That project should near completion later this year.

Earlier this year, the company ventured into the Sarasota market with the $16.7 million purchase of what now is marketed as the Sara Bay project. Scheduled for completion next January, the project contains 180 condo-hotel units, 150 rack boat slips and 85 deep-water boat slips.

Late last month, in SunVest's latest Gulf Coast area purchase, the company bought the Pinnacle Apartments of Carrollwood from Lynn-Turner Inc., a holding of Tampa's Rath Harper & Associates Inc. The Tampa firm, a partnership of Fred Rath and Bill Harper, originally purchased the 22.17-acre site in 1997 for slightly more than $2.14 million. It then obtained two mortgages of about $15.8 million and $17.5 million and developed the apartments over the next two years.

SunVest, operating as Carrollwood Pinnacle Development LLC, has opened a sales office there and markets the units as the Pinnacle Condominiums. It has yet to begin an advertising campaign.

Units will sell from $129,900 to $239,900, Krac says.

"The tenants have been notified, and the sales office is fully functioning," he adds. "We expect to sell out in the next four to six months. It's going very quickly."

Miami's Beach Hill buys

apartments for $26 million

Buyer: Beach Hill Development Boot Ranch LLC, Miami

SELLER: Archstone-Smith Operating Trust, Englewood, Colo.

PROPERTY: 3800 State Road 584, Palm Harbor

Price: $25,750,000

PRIOR SALE: $12,220,400, May 1994

LAW FIRM ON DEED: Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, Irvine, Calif.

Plans, Description: Miami's Beach Hill Development LLC has expanded into the Tampa Bay area with the recent acquisition of 250 apartments at Palm Harbor's Archstone at Boot Ranch.

Beach Hill's principal officials, Daniel Rotenberg and Gavriel "Gaby" Naim, plan to convert the units into the Madison Oaks condominiums.

"This is a condo conversion," Rotenberg says. "Our first meeting was about a week ago to try to develop a marketing strategy. We will have details available in about four days (Sept. 30)."

Reticent to talk about details, Rotenberg referred questions about the project the Apple Organization, a Miami public relations firm. Rotenberg would say only that he and his partner would market the Madison Oaks condos through the Condo Store, a Coldwell Banker affiliate that focuses on condo sales.

The Miami-based partnership, operating as Beach Hill Development Boot Ranch LLC, purchased the 20-acre site for almost $25.8 million from Archstone-Smith Operating Trust, the Englewood, Colo.-based publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT). That's $103,000 a unit for the 11 buildings constructed in 1988.

The REIT took control of the property in 1998 following a merger with Security Capital Atlantic Inc., which last purchased the site in 1994 for slightly more than $12.2 million.

To finance the acquisition, the partnership obtained about $27.4 million in mortgage proceeds through Fremont Investment & Loan. Naim signed the mortgage documents as managing member of the affiliated Dragon Property Boot Ranch LLC.

Over the past several years, Rotenberg and Naim have converted several apartment properties into condominiums partly in partnership with companies such as Miami Beach's Karlton Properties and its principal, Fred Karlton.

For example, the partnership with Karlton converted 399 apartments in Miami Beach's Waverly towers into condominiums.

While still affiliated with him through various ventures, Karlton says Rotenberg and Naim have expanded on their own into other markets. Those markets included Coral Springs, Orlando and now the Tampa Bay area.

This summer, the partnership embarked on the conversion of 364 condo units at 2510 Robert Trent Jones Drive, Orlando, and 264 units at the Eagle's Nest condos, Coral Springs.

Osprey SA affiliates purchase

Hidden River office buildings

Buyer: Osprey Lake View LLC and Osprey Palm Court LLC, Brighton, Mich.

SELLER: St. Joe Co., Jacksonville

PROPERTY: 8875 and 8600 Hidden River Parkway, unincorporated Hillsborough County.

Price: $25,000,000, combined

PRIOR SALES: $18,225,000, combined

LAW FIRM ON DEED: McGuire Woods LLP, Atlanta

Plans, Description: Osprey SA Ltd., a Brighton, Mich.-based real estate investment company, recently increased its Tampa Bay area office portfolio with the acquisition of two Class A office buildings in Hillsborough County's Hidden River office park.

Earlier this month, the affiliated Osprey Lake View LLC paid $18 million for about 130,796 gross square feet of office space on 7.88 acres at 8875 Hidden River Parkway. That's almost $138 a square foot for the office space.

The Osprey SA affiliate paid about 40% more than the prior purchase price for the 8875 property, which is situated north of Fletcher Avenue and west of Interstate 75. St. Joe Co., the publicly traded real estate operating company that sold the property, acquired the building in May 2000 for almost $12.9 million.

In a related transaction, the affiliated Osprey Palm Court LLC paid $7 million for about 57,874 gross square feet of office space on 7.43 acres at 8600 Hidden River Parkway. That's almost $121 a square foot for the office space.

That Osprey SA affiliate paid a little more than 30% more than the prior purchase price for the 8600 property. St. Joe Co. had acquired the property in July 2000 for almost $5.4 million.

Osprey SA affiliates also own several other office buildings. They include Castille at Carillon in St. Petersburg's Carillon Park, First Central Tower in downtown St. Petersburg, Sarasota's Live Oak Corporate Center and Bradenton's 9000 Town Center Parkway.

Officials at the company's Brighton headquarters referred questions about the recent acquisitions to Mark Stroud, chief operating officer of the affiliated Osprey Real Estate Services LLC. He was unavailable for comment.

Tampa attorney acquires

apartments for $20 million

Buyer: Bay Pointe Apartments of Clearwater LLC, Tampa

SELLER: Tampa Bay Briarwood Associates LP, Biloxi, Miss.

PROPERTY: 2770 Roosevelt Blvd., St. Petersburg.

Price: $20,250,000

PRIOR SALE: $11,500,000, 1984

LAW FIRM ON DEED: Powell Carney Gross Maller & Ramsay PA, St. Petersburg

Plans, Description: Tampa trial lawyer Stephen Cheeseman recently closed on his most recent multifamily venture. His Bay Pointe Apartments of Clearwater LLC paid almost $20.3 million, or about $48,678 a unit, for the Bay Pointe Apartments at 2770 Roosevelt Blvd., St. Petersburg.

It's uncertain whether Cheeseman bought the 416 units solely for the rental income, since he was not available for comment.

His company had not filed public notice of any plans to commence construction as of Sept. 27. His company paid about 76% more than the prior purchase price.

Tampa Bay Briarwood Associates LP, the Biloxi, Miss., company that sold the 20-acre property, paid $11.5 million for it in 1984.

The company financed about 85% of the purchase price. It secured slightly more than $17.2 million in financing through Colonial Bank NA.

Last month, Cheeseman's Windsor Square Apartments Inc. sold the 121-unit apartment building at 3209 58th St., Gulfport.

Cheeseman's company sold that property for $12.9 million to Gulfport Investment Partners LLC, an affiliate of the St. Petersburg's Sun Vista Development Group LLC.

He bought that property in 2003 for $6.35 million.

Hialeah investor acquires

St. Petersburg apartments

Buyer: Arbor Heights LLC, Hialeah

SELLER: Wood Creek Associates LLC, Chicago

PROPERTY: 3001 58th Ave. S., St. Petersburg

Price: $16,350,000

PRIOR SALE: $8,600,000, December 2002

LAW FIRM ON DEED: DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary US LLP, Chicago

Plans, Description: Hialeah investor Juan E. Puig recently paid almost $16.4 million, or about $89,835 a unit, for the 182 apartment units at Woods at Frenchman's Creek, St. Petersburg.

The Miami-area investor has filed public notice that he intends to convert into condominiums the 15 buildings built in 1989 at 3001 58th Ave. S.

It appears Puig, operating as Arbor Heights LLC, paid a hefty price for the 15 buildings at 3001 58th Ave. S. The purchase price is nearly 90% more than the prior sale price. Chicago's Wood Creek Associates LLC, the seller, bought the property in December 2002 for $8,600,000.

Miami's Ocean Bank financed the transaction at 104% of the purchase price. It loaned Puig's Arbor Heights slightly more than $17 million.

- David R. Corder


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