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2015 Top Deals: Tampa Bay

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  • | 11:00 a.m. December 25, 2015
  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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1. Bank of America Plaza
$193.5 million

The largest sale of the year in the Tampa Bay area also occurred later in the year than other, similar transactions. The Dec. 17 transaction, between seller MetLife Inc. and the buyer, a joint venture between Miami-based Banyan Street Capital and Oaktree Capital Management, of Los Angeles, marked the biggest office tower sale in the region since 2012. The 787,042-square-foot tower, at 101 E. Kennedy Blvd., is also among Tampa's tallest, at 42 stories. Bank of America Plaza also continued a trend involving the sale of Class A, downtown properties in 2015, spurred on by rising rental rates, shrinking inventory and a dearth of new construction.

2. SunTrust Financial Centre: $124 million

Long an owner of suburban, high-end office buildings in Tampa's Westshore area, Raleigh, N.C.-based Highwoods Properties Inc. acquired the 35-story SunTrust Financial Center in October because it considers it “one of three Class A-plus office buildings downtown,” says Dan Woodward, a Highwoods vice president in charge of the real estate investment trust's office in Tampa. The 528,000-square-foot property, at 401 E. Jackson St., also offers tremendous upside: Highwoods estimates that 77% of the tower's tenants could be “near-term move-outs,” meaning the company will have the chance to re-lease the space at higher rental rates.

3. Highland Oaks office park: $111 million

Institutional investors accelerated their activity in 2015, through a series of high-end purchases or sales. Such was the case with Prudential Real Estate Investors, when it bought five of the eight office buildings in Highland Oaks in the largest regional office portfolio deal of the year, in September. Prudential's five buildings totaled nearly 576,000 square feet. The highland Manor Drive park was more than 95% leased at the time of the sale, to McDonald's Corp., Mosaic Co., ConAgra, John Deere Co. and others. Prudential noted at the time of the purchase that it bought its Highland Oaks space for below replacement costs.

4. Camden Bayside apartments: $85.13 million

No other commercial real estate sector garnered as much attention in 2015 as multifamily projects, as evidenced by Atlanta-based Courtland Partners' deal to acquire the 832-unit Camden Bayside complex. The 52-building complex, on 61.6 acres, was 94% occupied at the time of the February sale. Courtland described the transaction for the 6301 S. Westshore Blvd. property as a “value-add opportunity” for the company. In addition to renaming it Bowery Bayside Apartments, Courtland plans to renovate more than one third of the units over the next two years and hinted it may redevelop other sections, in time.

5. Wells Fargo Center $78 million

Feldman Equities LLC and Tower Realty Partners also recognized the value in buying downtown office buildings in 2015. The pair in March bought an equity position in the 22-story tower — after selling the building to Connecticut-based Greenfield Partners in 2014. The 387,500-square-foot building, at 100 S. Ashley Drive, became part of Feldman and Tower's portfolio initially at the end of 2012. In addition to Wells Fargo, key tenants include UBS and Phelps Dunbar LLP.


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