1. The Fountains at Lake Point Woods and the Springs at Lake Point Woods: $93.1 million
Senior housing caught fire with investors in 2015, and in Southwest Florida, no deal was larger than NorthStar Healthcare Income Inc.'s purchase of the Fountains and Springs at Lake Point Woods, in Sarasota County. The transaction involving the 18.7-acre property marked the largest of a commercial real estate asset in the county's history. The previous sales record had been set in 2003. The 3209-3280 Lake Pointe Blvd. property was one of 15 communities NorthStar, a New York-based real estate investment trust, bought from Fountains Senior Living Holdings for $639 million in all. Thanks to an aging population, senior housing communities nationwide are enjoying higher occupancy and rental rates than ever before.
2. Aston Gardens at Pelican Pointe: $69.4 million
Like the Fountains transaction, the region's second-largest sale of the year involved senior housing and was part of a larger portfolio. Discovery Senior Living bought the 1000 Aston Gardens Drive property, in Venice, together with communities in Naples and elsewhere, records show. Pelican Pointe is a luxury community on 37 acres, which features a 23,000-square-foot clubhouse and other amenities. The community offers independent and assisted-living options, as well as memory care, according to its website.
3. Tuscany Apartments $48.7 million
The Tampa Bay area wasn't the only section of the Gulf Coast where investors turned to multifamily projects to take advantage of positive yields. Merion Realty Partners and AllianceBernstein U.S. Real Estate Partners L.P. formed a joint venture to buy the 386-unit Tuscany, at 6021 Medici Court and 4814 University Parkway in Sarasota County. The complex, on nearly 41 acres, was built in 1999 and is located across the parkway from the University Park Country Club. Units range from one to three bedrooms, and amenities include a clubhouse, tennis courts, swimming pool and a golf chipping area and putting green.
41,546 acres in Bradenton: $40.2 million
As the real estate market continued to heat up in 2015, with few signs of slowing, investors, developers and homebuilders alike purchased or locked up land in large tracts. Manatee Fruit Co., as part of a plan to eventually develop a master-planned community on land it controls in west Bradenton, sold more than 1,500 acres to a series of partnerships it controls. The land, bordering El Conquistador Parkway and 53rd Avenue West, is slated to become Lake Flores, a community of more than 6,500 residences, a pair of hotels and as much as 3 million square feet of commercial space.
5. 1,390 acres of Lakewood Ranch land: $38 million
Miami-based Lennar Homes, among the more active homebuilders in the Southeast, finished out 2015 formalizing a land purchase from Lakewood Ranch master developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch. Lennar acquired the property to develop the Lakewood National Golf & Country Club, plans for which had been unveiled earlier in the year. Lakewood is expected to join a number of large, golf-centric communities that Lennar has developed throughout the Gulf Coast of Florida.
— K.L. McQuaid