- February 24, 2017
Gladstone Land Corp., a McLean, Va.-based real estate investment trust that acquires agricultural land, purchased a Hillsborough County strawberry farm for $1.7 million.
As part of the acquisition, Gladstone assumed a lease with a “leading global berry operator” to run the 70-acre Lithia farm through at least 2021, with an option through 2026, the company announced.
“We are excited to add to our farmland holdings east of Tampa, a great growing region with significant development pressure,” says Bill Frisbie, the company's managing director for the Eastern U.S., in a statement.
The Lithia farm last sold in August 1988 for $337,500, according to Hillsborough County property records.
The purchase of the 8425 Lithia Pinecrest Road property brings to 49 the number of farms Gladstone has acquired, comprising more than 23,900 acres in seven states. In all, the land is valued at roughly $344 million.
The REIT has been publicly traded since January 2013.
David Gladstone, the company's president and CEO, says the farms are good investments because consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, together with nuts, have been growing at a faster pace than other areas of the food sector.
The deal marks the second Gladstone has completed in Florida this year. In July, it announced the purchase of a 401-acre farm that grows bell peppers and green beans in St. Lucie County for $5.1 million.
In Florida, Gladstone also owns 85 acres on Trapnell Road, in Plant City; another 59 acres on Keysville Road, in Plant City; a 219-acre tract on Colding Road southeast of Tampa; 808 acres in Manatee County; and a 94-acre farm in Dover, according to the company's website.