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Central North Port properties up for bankruptcy auction

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  • | 3:45 a.m. June 11, 2011
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One of North Port's most important future development sites is on the auction block that's set to close June 23.

As part of a Chapter 11 filing, North Port developer Frank Menke has contracted with NAI Manasota for a closed-bid auction to sell 300 acres in the center of North Port. Menke is doing the auction in his role as debtor in possession, and any income from the sale will go to settle its existing mortgage debt.

The property includes three large groupings of land on the southeast, southwest and northwest corners of Toledo Blade and Price boulevards. It covers 15 vacant developable parcels located in one of North Port's “activity centers,” areas where the city comprehensive plan encourages non-residential development. North American Development Group has already developed the front portion of the southwest corner into the Publix-anchored shopping center, Shoppes at Price Crossing.

NAI Manasota Managing Director Anthony Mazzucca says the property fell victim to the retail slowdown of 2008, and that barring that it likely would have become North Port's Main Street. Allan Lane, economic development manager for the city of North Port, backs much of that as well.

“This is where the city wants growth and development activity to happen,” he says. “North Port doesn't have a downtown, and if there is a place that was the geographic center of the city it's at Toledo Blade and Price, so that land is very important. So it could perhaps evolve into Main Street for the city if the right type of development came there.”

Menke and his namesake company have been one of the most prominent retail developers in central North Port during the past decade. With land acquired from General Development Corp. through a relationship with Cape Coral investor Dennis Fullenkamp, the Frank Menke Organization was responsible for bringing a Walmart Supercenter and Home Depot to the North Port, along with the city's first national franchise sit-down restaurant, an Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar.

Menke did not return calls for comment.

The property, which was recently appraised at $80 million, is covered under a minimum bid of $24 million. The winning bidder will have to put up a substantial deposit and has 30 days to close its purchase.


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