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Commercial Real Estate Briefs

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  • | 6:00 p.m. September 18, 2008
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Commercial Real Estate Briefs

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE lee-collier by Sean Roth | Real Estate Editor

102 Development, RAR-1 LLC buys Collier's Pelican Plaza

BUYER: 102 Development Co. LLC (principals: Stephen J. Lockwood & Co. LLC), Marblehead, Mass. (65% interest) and RAR-1 LLC (principal: Ronald Russo) (35%), Naples

SELLER: Sunnyside Ventures LLC

PROPERTY: 701-721 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island

PRICE: $5 million

PREVIOUS PRICE: $5.4 million, February 2007

LAW FIRM ON DEED: Conroy Conroy & Durant PA, Naples

PLANS, DESCRIPTION: A company affiliated with Stephen Lockwood of Marblehead, Mass., and Ronald Russo's RAR-1 LLC in Naples purchased the 25,068-square-foot Pelican Plaza retail strip center for $5 million, equal to $199 a square foot. The purchase price equated to an about 8% capitalization rate. The center, built in 1978, houses mainly smaller regional retailers, including the barbeque restaurant Porky's Last Stand and Florida Paint & Decorating Center.

David Stevens of Investment Properties Corp. handled the transaction.

"It is fairly recession resistant," Stevens says. "It has had virtually no vacancy as far back as I can remember. It's a very stable steady center on a very high traffic road on Marco Island. We're continuing to see favorable activity in investments, as sellers get more realistic about their pricing. There has never been a shortage of investors seeking property in Collier County; sellers were just being unrealistic."

Lee County 20/20

buys 31 acres for preserve

BUYER: Lee County, Fort Myers

SELLER: Newcom Real Properties LLC

PROPERTY: a portion of Burnt Store Road N., Cape Coral

PRICE: $2.16 million

TITLE FIRM ON DEED: Title Professionals of Florida, Fort Myers

PLANS, DESCRIPTION: Lee County purchased 31 acres on Burnt Store Road North for $2.16 million to add it to the adjacent Yucca Pens Preserve. The purchase price equated to an average of $69,677 per acre. The vacant property contains a portion of Yucca Pen Creek, pine flatwoods and xeric oak and was considered a critical and rare habitat. In addition, the property also features exotic plants, which could infect the surrounding conservation land.

The land was purchased as part of the voter approved Conservation 20/20 program, which taxes county property owners to acquire conservation land. Since the first purchase in 1997, the County's Conservation 20/20 program has made 91 land purchases and owns 19,771 acres.

Taylor Morrison of Florida

buys 21 Treviso Bay lots

BUYER: Taylor Morrison of Florida Inc.

SELLER: Treviso Bay Development LLC

PROPERTY: a portion of Treviso Bay known as lots 1, 52, 53, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75 and 76 in Vercelli and phases 15, 16 and 29 of di Napoli, Naples

PRICE: $2.88 million

LAW FIRM ON DEED: Gray Robinson, P.A. Tampa (Buyer's Attorney)

PLANS, DESCRIPTION: National homebuilder Taylor Morrison, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., recently purchased an additional 21 land lots in Treviso Bay, a 1,050-acre gated golf and resort community being developed a mile east of St. Andrews Boulevard on US 41 in Naples, from Brookfield, Wis.-based VK Development Corp. for $2.88 million, equal to an average of $136,971 a lot. Nine of the land units are in Vercelli, a detached villa neighborhood. The remaining 12 units are in di Napoli, a collection of coach homes. The newly acquired land units are in addition to the 20 Vercelli units and 20 di Napoli units previously purchased by Taylor Morrison.

"They paid pretty much the same as they had originally contracted for last year," says Sanjay Kuttemperoor, president of VK Development, developer of the luxury residential community. "We didn't discount it. I would say there aren't more than a handful of developers closing lots with the large national, publicly held homebuilders now. When they're trying to get out of a lot of their land positions. It's just a testament to the community."

Kuttemperoor attributed the success of Treviso Bay to the lack of other developments in downtown Collier County, the dearth of developable land, the continued population migration in Florida and the temporary nature of the downturn. It also helps that the community features the only golf course affiliated with Tournament Players Club, an arm of the PGA of America.

The developer says its sold $38 million worth of land in the last 18 months.

The community features seven different residential product types, which range in price from $600,000 to $5 million.


• LA Fitness has opened a 45,000-square-foot center in Ram's Spring Plaza, a 199,992-square-foot shopping center located at the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 41 and Bonita Beach Road in Bonita Spring.

• Naples-based Herman Strackbein Construction Inc. completed the 11,000-square-foot renovation of The Keg Steakhouse & Bar at The Galleria at Vanderbilt in North Naples. On the space of the former Sanibel Steakhouse, HSC constructed an outdoor bar and seating area surrounding an outdoor fireplace, split a dining room with a fireplace, wine cellar and kitchen. The Naples restaurant is the first Florida location for the Vancouver based restaurant group.

• Trak America leased 2,395 square feet of office space at 999 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Suite 605, Naples from FTC Naples LLC. Clint Sherwood of Investment Properties Corp. negotiated the transaction.

• Beacman LLC purchased a 20,000-square-foot industrial building at 2081 Beacon Manor in Fort Myers from Barton-Georgia Corp. Ryan Leffler of Leffler & Associates Inc. represented the seller. Jim Garinger, Andrew Falde and John Dunphy of Colliers Arnold represented the buyer.

• Caring Hands leased 2,000 square feet of office space in Park East Plaza at 5274 Golden Gate Parkway in Naples from K. Srinivasan. Karen Johnson-Crowther and Lindsey Schmoyer of Colliers Arnold brokered the transaction.

• The Huck Group has leased 2,106 square feet of space in the Bank of America building at 4501 Tamiami Trail North in Naples from Triple Net Properties LLC. Scott Dunnuck of CB Richard Ellis Fort Myers-Naples represented the landlord, and Gabe Mellein of Sun Realty represented the tenant.

• Creighton Construction & Management has completed construction of the Bonefish Grill in Cape Coral at 900 SW Pine Island Road, Cape Coral. 

The restaurant is the anchor for a 47,000-square-foot retail plaza that will also feature the Twisted Lemon Cafe, Thomas Jewelers, Cape Coral Eye Center, Kobayashi Dojo, One Price Cleaners, American Pie Pizza, Kathryn's Nails, Leslie's Swimming Pool and others. The plaza will also serve as the new home offices of Creighton Construction and Management. Construction on the remaining units in the plaza scheduled for completion in November. 

• Senior Home Care Inc. leased 2,130 square feet of office space at 9975-2 Tamiami Trail N., Naples from S. J. Lockwood & Co. LLC. Bruce Miner of Cameron Real Estate Services Inc. and Jay Crandall of Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT handled the transaction.

• A.D. Morgan Corp. awarded Fort Myers-based Eagle Concrete Systems a contract to complete concrete and masonry work for Avon Park High School, at 700 East Main St, Avon Park. Eagle Concrete Systems will provide concrete pads, footings, slab, CMU walls, brick and beams for the 30,690-square-foot, two-story building. Furr & Wegman Architects, P.A. provided the design.

• Fort Myers-based J.L. Wallace Inc. was awarded a contract by SunTrust Real Estate Corp. for the construction of a SunTrust Bank in The Forum Center at 3330 Forum Blvd in Fort Myers. The project will include a 3,773-square-foot branch bank building with three drive-thru teller lanes. Exterior features will include extensive glasswork, an elevated entry, clay roof tile, foam moldings, pre-cast medallions and cultured stone accents. Robert Reid Wedding Architects & Planners provided architectural design services.

• Creighton Construction & Management has completed the rebuilding and remodeling of eight Kentucky Fried Chicken locations throughout south and west Florida. The stores are located in Brooksville, Springhill, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, North Fort Myers, Fort Myers, Naples and Golden Gate. The Golden Gate location required a complete tear down and rebuild, while the other locations interiors and exteriors were completely remodeled. The work was completed for their owner Jim Gyarmathy of Gyarmathy & Associates.

• McGarvey Development has completed construction of the final flex building at the Eastlinks Business Park, located at 12601 Corporate Lakes Drive in the Gateway area of South Fort Myers. The Eastlinks Business Park offers a total of 173,000 square feet of industrial flex space. The buildings are dock-high with units starting at 4,800 square feet. In addition, Eastlinks will feature 174,000 square feet of office space. A long with leasing the inline space, a 7.41-acre outparcel on Daniels Parkway also is for sale.

• Obsession Inc. leased 2,400 square feet of retail space at 1017 N. Collier Blvd. in Marco Island from Equity One. Doug Olson of LandQwest Commercial handled the transaction.

• AmeriDry leased about 2,100 square feet space at 12751 Metro Parkway, unit 8, in Fort Myers from Andrew Catalano. Eric Lahaie of LandQwest Commercial handled the transaction.

• Orange and Black Trucking Co. Inc. leased 2,200 square feet of space at 10080 Intercom Drive in Fort Myers from Commerce Park Project LLLP. Eric Lahaie of LandQwest Commercial handled the transaction.

• Professional Building Systems has completed the build-out of Tropical Smoothie in Ave Maria. Tropical Smoothie is the second restaurant to open in the town's center, La Piazza. OMS Architects designed the store.

• DeAngelis Diamond Construction Inc. has started construction on the Lee County Pine Ridge Government Complex at 50 Pine Ridge Road in Fort Myers. Phase I of the project includes all site improvements for the 10,000-square-foot Lee County Tax Collector's office and a similarly sized Lee County Sheriff Station. A 19,000-square-foot facility for the Iona McGregor Fire District and Lee County EMS is scheduled for phase II.

• Park Shore Kitchens LLC leased 5,432 square feet of retail space at 3860 Tamiami Trail, Naples from Cypress Park LLC. Patrick Fraley of Investment Properties Corp. handled the transaction.

• San Carlos Worship Center Inc. purchased a building at 17592 Rockefeller Circle, Fort Myers from Interfaith Caregivers of South Lee Inc. Christine Martin of Investment Properties Corp. handled the transaction.

• Fort Myers-based Stevens Construction Inc. opened a second office in Maitland. The new office is located at 555 Winderley Place, Suite 300. The expansion was part of the company's three-year goal to broaden the geographical area its serves.

• Lee County has selected Compass Construction Inc. as its construction manager for the Bokeelia Boat Ramp renovation project. The project, located on Barrancas Avenue near the north end of Pine Island, calls for the existing single ramp to will be removed and replaced with a double ramp; new seawalls and boat docks will be installed; and storm water retention improvements along with new asphalt parking and bathroom facilities.

• Gora/McGahey Associates in Architecture provided the design for four new mall buildings at Miromar Outlets in Estero. The project entailed the exterior design of 88,130 square feet of new retail space, which will house Neiman Marcus, Godiva Chocolatier, Bed Bath & Beyond, Le Gourmet Chef and bebe. CC Turner Inc. is the general contractor for the project.

• J.L. Wallace Inc. started the renovation of Fort Myers Christian Center, a non-denominational Christian church and community outreach center at 3500 Fowler Street in Fort Myers. The project will includes a new lobby, kitchen and classrooms for the 8,000-square-foot building. J.L. Wallace will also create new sanctuary space in the existing building.

• Compass Construction Inc. has completed the Redeemer Lutheran Church on Winkler Avenue east of Verconia Shoemaker Boulevard in Cape Coral for about $2.7 million. The new facility includes worship space, classrooms, administrative offices, a nursery, and a cafe. Seating capacity of the sanctuary is 259 and the classrooms hold 140. A new lake was part of the extensive clearing and tree removal to the site.

• LTM Party has leased 5,000 square feet of space at 1109 Tamiami Trail in Port Charlotte from Trojan Electronic Supply Co. Inc. Ron Struthers of the Port Charlotte office of CB Richard Ellis Fort Myers-Naples brokered the transaction.

Stevens Construction

renovates Florida Hospital ER

Fort Myers-based Stevens Construction Inc. has completed construction on the Florida Hospital Heartland Division Emergency Room. Designed by Burt Hill/Pollock Kreig Architects Inc., the 5,350-square-foot renovation was completed in three phases while the hospital remained in operation. Renovations included a pharmacy remodel, addition of a nurse's station and reconfiguring the emergency and treatment rooms.

Stevens Construction has completed 10 projects for the Florida Hospital. The company also built a 36-bed, 50,000-square-foot expansion and remodeled a freestanding medical office on the hospital's Sebring campus.

• Taylor-Pansing Inc. has completed construction on the Estero Animal Hospital Project. The two-story 9,500-square-foot facility includes a mezzanine, five exam rooms, a pet-friendly lodging facility and modern dental, surgical and radiology suites. The project is located at 9551 Corkscrew Road in Estero.

• DeAngelis Diamond Construction Inc. started construction on Rose Plaza. The project is a 7,000-square-foot retail building located on Bonita Beach Road in Bonita Springs. Construction began in late August and is slated for completion in January.

• San Carlos Worship Center Inc. purchased a building at 17592 Rockefeller Circle, Fort Myers from Interfaith Caregivers of South Lee Inc. for $317,000. Christine Martin of Investment Properties Corp. handled the transaction.

• Compass Construction Inc. has been awarded the contract to perform the interior build-out for Anytime Fitness's new Cape Coral location. Located at the corner of Veterans Parkway and Surfside Boulevard in the Shops at Sandoval center, the 4,079-square-foot facility will offer workout equipment, free weights, cardio equipment, and tanning beds. The location is its third in Cape Coral. Construction is scheduled to start in October.

• Compass Construction Inc. completed the interior build-out of the new Hibbett Sports facility in Cape Coral.
The 6,121-square-foot space, is located in the Shops of Sandoval at the corner of Veterans Parkway and Surfside Boulevard.

Lutgert Cos. renovating

Village on Venetian Bay

Naples-based The Lutgert Cos. has started construction on its $4-million renovation of the 115,000-square-foot specialty retail center The Village on Venetian Bay. The project, led by the firm of Boran Craig Barber Engel Construction, is scheduled to be substantially complete by the end of 2008.

The Village will remain open throughout the renovation with most of the extensive work being performed during off hours.

The renovation will include the installation of new porcelain and stone tile flooring, repainting of buildings, decorative railings and improved lighting. In addition to the architectural enhancements, there will be a new and expanded public gathering space, including a fountain and landscaped vista.• The U.S. Green Building Council has opened its 81st chapter in Fort Myers. The new chapter will be named the Southwest Florida Branch of the Gulf Coast Chapter, a branch of the Tampa-based Florida Gulf Coast Chapter.


TAMPA BAY by Sean Roth | Real Estate Editor

New Port Richey trust

buys Woodland Oaks

BUYER: Woodland Oaks Inc. (principal: Bob Nikolic), New Port Richey


PROPERTY: 4201 49th St. N. St. Petersburg

PRICE: $5.22 million

PREVIOUS PRICE: $3.63 million, August 2005

LAW FIRM ON DEED: Albert Salem & Associates PA, Tampa

PLANS, DESCRIPTION: The Bob Nikolic family trust of New Port Richey purchased the 90-unit Woodland Oaks Apartments in St. Petersburg for $5.22 million, equal to an average of $58,000 per unit.

John Burpee president/broker of NAI Tampa Bay represented the seller, Largo apartment investor Ben Mallah. Zana Dobrilovic with Coldwell Banker New Tampa represented the buyer.

"The property was 100% completely rehabbed...and sold for a true 8% cap rate on 12 month trailing statements," Burpee said in a press release. "I only wish we had ten more properties just like it. We currently have four larger deals under contract and buyers are starting to call looking for deals. Everyone we speaking with believe the bottom is here now and they want in today."

The 61,000-square-foot apartment complex featured new roofs, and landscaping and units with new kitchen appliances, tile and carpet floors and cabinets. The apartment was 94% occupied at the time of the sale.

Tampa investor buys

former PolyGard building

BUYER: 5010 North Coolidge LLC (principal: James Manley), Tampa

SELLER: New Beginnings Investments LLC

PROPERTY: 5010 N. Coolidge Ave., Tampa

PRICE: $1.5 million

PREVIOUS PRICE: $2.2 million, April 2008

TITLE FIRM ON DEED: Cypress Title Co., Tampa

PLANS, DESCRIPTION: Tampa investor James Manley purchased the largest section of the former PolyGard Inc. industrial property in Drew Park near Crest Avenue for $1.5 million. The 2.13-acre parcel houses a 35,000 square foot building, which is leased to Composites One through July of 2009.

When Composites One acquired the assets of PolyGard last year, the owners of PolyGard retained the 40 buildings in Drew Park. The property has since been subdivided and listed for sale

"The new owner is debating leasing or selling [35,000-square-foot building]," says Mike Grimaldi of Grimaldi Commercial Realty Corp. who handled the transaction. "The tenant has already moved to its Lakeland office, but of course its still paying rent. But there is that ability to occupy the space immediately."

Grimaldi says the owner would consider leasing the space starting at $13,000 a month triple net.

The purchase entity 5010 North Coolidge LLC mortgaged the property to the former owner, New Beginnings Investments LLC, for $825,000.


• Best Buy leased 30,183 square feet of retail space in Nature Coast Commons at US Highway 19 and Spring Hill Drive in Spring Hill from Opus South Corp. Jim Kovacs, Lisa McCaffrey, and Karen Johnson-Crowther of Colliers Arnold represented the landlord. Michael Chadwick of The Shopping Center Group LLC represented the tenant.

• Roadsafe Traffic Systems leased 12,800 square feet of industrial space at 6015 US Highway 301 in Tampa from Snyder Brothers Inc. Bob Sampson of Colliers Arnold represented the tenant. Trey Carswell of Lane Witherspoon Carswell represented the landlord.

• Westrope & Associates leased 5,702 square feet of office space at 510 Vonderburg Drive in Brandon from Vondenburg Properties Inc. Claire Calzon of Colliers Arnold represented the tenant. Garritt Bader of Hunt Douglas Real Estate represented the landlord.

• Williams Ristoff & Proper PLC leased 3,964 square feet of office space at 4526 US 19 North in New Port Richey from Gramercy Capital. James Stuckey of Colliers Arnold brokered the transaction.

• Andrews & Manno PA leased 3,111 square feet of office space in Colonial Place I at 4350 W. Cypress Street in Tampa from Colonial Properties Trust. Mary Clare Codd of Colliers Arnold represented the tenant. Clay Wommack of Colonial Properties Trust represented the landlord.

• Verizon Wireless leased 4,000 square feet of retail space in Palm Harbor at US 19 and Nebraska Avenue from Fred Fleming's Famous Bar-B-Que. Garret Williams and Lisa McCaffrey of Colliers Arnold represented the landlord. Blake Hunter of The Staubach Co. represented the tenant.

• Vision Imaging leased 27,500 square feet of industrial space at 5513 Pioneer Park Blvd. in Tampa from Masonite Corp. Mark McKell of Colliers Arnold represented the tenant. James Paladino of Cushman & Wakefield represented the landlord.

• Preferred Materials Inc. leased 9,688 square feet of office space at Oakview Center at 13101 Telecom Drive in Temple Terrace from Glenborough Realty Trust Inc. Jeff Tolrud of Colliers Arnold represented the landlord. Lee Winter of CB Richard Ellis represented the tenant.

• Fifth Third Bank purchased a 9,519 square feet office condominium at the Signature Place Office Condominiums at 147 2nd Ave. in St. Petersburg from Gulf Atlantic Communities. Alan Feldshue of Colliers Arnold represented the seller. Charles Alloway of CB Richard Ellis represented the buyer.

• Mahaffey Apartment Co. purchased a 8,688-square-foot office condominium at Signature Place Office Condominiums at 147 2nd Ave. in St. Petersburg from Gulf Atlantic Communities. Alan Feldshue of Colliers Arnold brokered the transaction.

• Gayheart Pharmaceutical Inc. purchased a 7,000-square-foot industrial facility at 11655 54th St. N. in Clearwater from Eidschun Engineering Inc. James Bottone of Coldwell Banker Commercial represented the seller. Pat Marzulli of Colliers Arnold represented the buyer.

• Anderen Bank of Tampa Bay Inc. purchased a 3,130-square-foot retail building at 2514 W. Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa from JBC Real Estate Holdings LLC. Amy Bertran of the Mahr Co. represented the seller. Christopher Leonard of Colliers Arnold represented the buyer.

• Jeffrey Cole leased 4,000 square feet of industrial space at 505 Howard Court in Clearwater from Workman Enterprises. Pat Marzulli of Colliers Arnold brokered the transaction.

• Med Dispense leased 4,489 square feet of office space at 580 Corporate Center at 4025 Tampa Road in Oldsmar from KTR Capital Partners LLC. Alan Feldshue of Colliers Arnold brokered the transaction.

• Skanska USA Building Inc. has become the first tenant to sign a lease at MetWest International, a new, mixed-use development in the Westshore area. Taylor & Mathis managing director of leasing Angela Odell negotiated the transaction on behalf of the owner, MetLife. Skanska, an international construction company and the construction manager for the project, has leased 20,226 square feet of the 32-acre MetWest International (MetWest One), which is located across from Tampa International Airport and International Plaza. The office building topped out in July and is scheduled for completion in January. 
At completion the development will feature nearly a million square feet of office space, 74,200-square-foot retail village, a 260 room upscale hotel and 254 residential units.

• GVA Advantis has named Lucas Hewett as the new managing director of GVA Advantis' Tampa office. Hewett will be responsible for building and overseeing the region's leasing, sales, construction, property management and new business development activities. He joined GVA Advantis in 2002 as a broker specializing in landlord and tenant representation.

Investor buys Leverette

Home Design Center

BUYER: CTS Service Inc. (principal: Todd Stein), Carmel, Ind.

SELLER: Leverette Brothers Holdings Inc.

PROPERTY: 6836 Ridge Road, Port Richey

PRICE: $1.4 million

PREVIOUS PRICE: $340,000, May 2002

LAW FIRM ON DEED: Booth & Cook PA, Port Richey

PLANS, DESCRIPTION: Carmel, Ind., real estate investor Todd Stein purchased a 16,618-square-foot retail building on Ridge Road for $1.4 million, equal to an average of $84 a square foot. Leverette Home Design Center, the former building owner, has agreed to lease it for five years.

The property generates an annual net operating income of $140,280, meaning the price equated to a 10% capitalization rate.

Phillip Allman with Brasher and Associates represented the seller, and Phil Gibson of Beach Place On Real Estate Inc. represented the buyer.

The building features 9,418 square feet of retail space, 7,200 square feet of warehouse space and a 3,600 square foot canopy area.

Stein's holding company/purchase entity CTS Service mortgaged the property to Regions Bank for $1.12 million.

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE Sarasota-MAnatee by Sean Roth | Real Estate Editor

Westfield seeking approvals to enlarge Southgate

Australian retail property group Westfield Group continues to move forward on plans to expand its 35-acre Southgate mall, at 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, in downtown Sarasota. The owners hope to develop a new Saks Department store and other retail space along the Tamiami Trail and Siesta Drive frontages and to build a three-story parking garage on the east side of the existing mall. The net result would be an additional 228,108 square feet of retail/restaurant space, bringing the gross retail space to 689,850 square feet. The ends of the mall that house Macy's and Dillard's would remain unaffected.

Earlier this month, the owners' representatives brought their plans to the city Development Review Committee. City staff recommended Westfield adjust its drawings to clarify some issues on trash pick up and also that it make additional architectural enhancements to its parking garage.

"We recommended that they make some improvements to the design to make [the parking garage] appear less massive," says Thomas Larrabee, senior planner for the city. Planners are also waiting for a traffic study before they will send the project to the next level of approvals.

Larrabee says that if the ownership is able to make the city's recommended changes and submit the traffic study by Sept. 17, the project could go back to the DRC by early October. Any DRC approved plans still must go before the planning board and eventually the city commission.

At the same time, Westfield is also pushing for approval of a zoning change for the property from Commercial Shopping Center – Regional to the more dense shopping district zoning Commercial Shopping Center.

Two U.K. companies

buy Venice commercial land

BUYER: Minton U.S. Inc. (principals: Ivor and Denise Spiro and Mandy Glassberg) (50% interest) and Mirravale Holdings Inc. (principals: Michael and Jeannette Everitt) (50%), Boca Raton

SELLER: Marcus Business Park LLC

PROPERTY: 216 Triple Diamond Blvd., Venice

PRICE: $900,000

PREVIOUS PRICE: $162,500, April 2004

LAW FIRM ON DEED: Steven I Greenwald, Esq., Boca Raton

PLANS, DESCRIPTION: Two United Kingdom real estate property owners/management firm have jumped the pond to invest in Gulf Coast real estate. Subsidiaries of Mirravale Holdings Ltd. in Essex and London's Minton Group Limited purchased 2.9 acres on Triple Diamond Boulevard in the Triple Diamond Commerce Plaza for $900,000, equal to $310,345 per acre.

Ivor Spiro, chairman of Minton Group Limited, says the two investment groups are looking for similar property to acquire.

"As for Triple Diamond, we are waiting for occupier demand to return so that we can commence developing what will be an outstanding business park," Spiro wrote in an e-mail to the Review. ""...[W]e are prepared to hold these investments until the market returns."

Spiro has owned a home in Florida for the past 25 years.

Bradenton real estate partners

buy Morgan Johnson land

BUYER: Richard Bennett and Matt Kezar, Ellenton


PROPERTY: 1013 E. 57th St., Bradenton

PRICE: $1.3 million

PREVIOUS PRICE: $405,000, August 2002

LAW FIRM ON DEED: Kaklis Venable & Witt PA, Bradenton

PLANS, DESCRIPTION: Richard Bennett and Matt Kezar, two partners in the Bradenton brokerage, real estate investment and property management firm Bennett Realty PL, purchased 32.7 acres on Morgan Johnson Road south of State Road 64 for $1.3 million, equal to $39,707 an acre.

"We're considering developing an assisted-living facility," Kezar says. "It's contiguous to another piece we own on State Road 64. We're land developers so we would get it ready with all its entitlements and then pass it off to an assisted living operator."

The owners are said to be in negotiation with several, local, regional and national ALF operators. As currently zoned, the property would allow a maximum of 360 beds. Kezar estimates that groundbreaking on the project is probably a year to 18 months away.

"We're investing and optimistic about the economy," Kezar says. "Of course right now finding niches that work is extremely important."

Bennett and Kezar mortgaged the property to Cadence Bank for $1.08 million.


• Jimmy Dimitris Tavern leased a 4,800-square-foot restaurant at 3900 Clark Road, Sarasota from Tamiami Trail Investments Inc. Barry Seidel of American Property Group of Sarasota Inc. handled the transaction.

• Kroakie's Karaoke leased 4,000 square feet of retail space at 4400 S. Tamiami Trail from Richard D. Smith, as trustee. Barry Seidel of American Property Group of Sarasota Inc. handled the transaction.

• The Sarasota office of SchenkelShultz Architecture designed Lake County Schools' new $41.6-million, 169,942-square-foot East Ridge Middle School in Clermont. The school features a three-story classroom building; a three-story media center/science building; a bridge connecting the classroom and media/science buildings; 39 classrooms and six resource rooms; a music suite with four practice rooms, band, vocal and ensemble rooms; a 25,500-square-foot dining/multi-purpose space with an open stage; a gymnasium; four vocational labs and administration offices.

SchenkelShultz Architecture

designs unversities joint-use facility

The Sarasota office of SchenkelShultz Architecture designed the $27 million Florida Atlantic University/University of Florida Joint-Use Facility to be located on the Florida Atlantic University campus in Davie.

The 75,000-square-foot signature building will house the university's College of Science with expanded research and support facilities as well as research and support spaces for U.F.'s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The facility will also include office space for FAU's College of Arts and Letters as well as state-of-the-art classrooms. Construction is scheduled to start in March.

SchenkelShultz conducted comprehensive master planning overlay studies of the existing campus master plan of urban planning concepts including building massing, student safety, university identity, the preservation of an existing palm grove, common spaces, parking, as well as vehicular and pedestrian linkages between the east and west campuses.

In addition, SchenkelShultz studied the ultimate phasing for additional property that had recently been acquired. Pirtle Construction Co. of Davie is the construction manager for the project, which is set for completion in 2010.

Bank forecloses on Mariner

Sometimes even apparently sound projects can take a dive in the unpredictable Gulf Coast condo market.

LaSalle Bank National Association - recently purchased by Bank of America - claims Dream Island LLC defaulted on $22.5 million in loans used to build the luxury Grand Mariner condominium at 595 Dream Island Road, according to a recent court filing.

The Chicago-based bank filed a foreclosure lawsuit against Dream Island Aug. 26 in the Manatee County 12th Judicial Court.

Tom Hires, a developer representative with Chicago-based Terrapin Properties LLC and the main investor behind Grand Mariner, doesn't dispute the $22.5 million that the development company owes.

But Hires claims the default is the direct result of failed assurances from LaSalle Bank officials, who wrote a letter to Dream Island LLC stating the monies would be available to him until the project's completion.

Construction of the building, the site of the former Buccaneer Inn, is substantially complete, and seven of the 14 units are under contract. The town has even issued certificate of occupancies for the building.

But until the financial issues are resolved, the bank will not sign off on the seven sold units.

The development company, Hires said, originally planned to begin closings in December 2007 or January 2008. But financial and legal hurdles began to freefall.

According to Hires, LaSalle Bank issued a letter in the third quarter of 2007, which guaranteed the loan until the building was complete. Hires says his company relied on those funds to complete the project.

But in October 2007, Bank of America took over LaSalle Bank and the deal, Hires says, turned sour.

Hires says that the project's contractor, Kellogg & Kimsey Construction Management Inc., received less than half of the funds promised by the bank to pay for its services.

"Negotiations assured all parties that the final funding would be available," Hires says. "There's been a disagreement about how to proceed. We're just at an impasse."

According to court records, the property has several liens against it, including one for $93,490.34 from Kellogg & Kimsey Construction.

"When the bank refused to follow through, that caused a ripple effect," Hires says.

The foreclosure lawsuit isn't the first hurdle that the project has encountered.

Dream Island LLC bought the 1.9-acre property in 2002. The company spent the next five years fighting a lawsuit from residents Accursio Sclafani and Doreen Erickson, who claimed that the plan violated the town's own ordinances and comprehensive plan. The pair dismissed their lawsuit in August 2007.

Dream Island LLC, Hires says, plans to file responses to the bank in court. He says that countersuits claiming lender liability issues were likely, not only from the development group, but also from investors and second-mortgage holders.

"This is a preliminary step," Hires says of the lawsuit filed in court. "It's going to take time, much less if you throw in lender-liability issues."

- Robin Harthill, Contributor


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