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Q&A: Trey Carswell, Avison Young

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  • | 11:00 a.m. May 19, 2017
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  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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Trey Carswell has worked at Avison Young, a Toronto-based brokerage that bills itself as “the world's fastest-growing commercial real estate services firm,” since September 2013, joining the firm as a principal. Prior to Avison Young, Carswell was a director and founding member of Lane Witherspoon & Carswell Commercial Real Estate Advisors; worked in developer Trammell Crow Co.'s Tampa office; and spent three years with GVA Advantis. Founded in 1996 through a merger of two Canadian firms, Avison Young today has 79 offices and more than 2,400 real estate professionals.

Carswell and partner Lisa Ross are working with Michael T. Fay and John K. Crotty of the company's Miami office in listing a nearly 31-acre tract on Rattlesnake Point, in South Tampa, near a 52-acre site BTI Partners of Fort Lauderdale is developing known as the Westshore Marina District. The property also contains nearly 140,000 square feet of industrial space and features a half-mile of direct water frontage.

How did Avison Young secure the listing on this property?

We did a series of relatively short-term leases involving the property and as a result got to know the owner. During talks with them over time, we told them we believed the timing was right to bring the property to the market.

And by working with our Miami office, we'll have a better opportunity to reach buyers, because Michael Fay has national and international connections with developers and investors who may feel the South Florida market has gotten crowded and that there is now a lack of quality, large sites available.

And we've sold sites like this before. Our team has a lot of clout. John (Crotty) and Michael (Fay) will be leading the charge on the sale, and Lisa and I will be integrally involved because we know the local market.

Do you see these type of infill redevelopment opportunities proliferating in the Tampa area?

I think the opportunities are there because Tampa has a relatively low cost of living, an exceptional quality of life, population growth, and there's a lot of positive momentum in the immediate area with the other developments that are ongoing, such as the BTI Partners' project and the Related Group apartments that are underway.

And this property is part of a larger picture. Tampa is clicking on all cylinders now, with what's happening downtown, in the Channelside area, Westshore — there's a lot of new development to meet demand and it's all helping one another. We believe this site will be the next area for redevelopment, given its location and proximity to services.

What do you envision as the ultimate development plan for the property?

I think it'll be a mixed-use development, a combination of multifamily, be it condos or apartments or both, destination retail, waterfront restaurants that take advantage of the property's stellar views, and I hope whoever develops it will incorporate the waterfront and make it a walkable area for the general public. But the majority of the property will likely be residential in nature, again a mix of condos or apartments, with some retail.

Why is owner Viper Ventures selling now?

They believe that with all the other momentum in the immediate area surrounding their property that it would be a good time to take advantage of that and entertain offers now.

Do you expect this property to attract a large amount of foreign or institutional capital, or do you expect that more traditional developers will primarily make a run at it?

You know I think we're going to see interest from all kinds of different entities, foreign and domestic, and sure, I expect that some local groups may make us an offer as well. We've just begun marketing the site this week and we've had a lot of good activity and interest from local and national groups. We think this is an iconic site. You don't come across tracts very often that can boast a half mile of waterfront views on a peninsula. This could be the next Harbor Island.

What price range is Avison Young and Viper marketing the site for sale? Is there a minimum offer that has to be met?

We don't have an asking price. We've specifically decided to put it out there and we'll accept and review all the offers we receive.

What's the timeframe in which you hope to dispose of the property?

We've just started the process. As I said, marketing began just this past week, so we don't have a set timetable in place as yet, either. We'd like to have something happen sooner rather than later, of course, but we'll have to see. There's no gun to our heads in terms of timing. We'll evaluate the offers and carefully consider various factors before moving forward.


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