In what may be a harbinger of future activity in the area, a Greenville, S.C.-based company has acquired an eight-building Westshore office complex in Tampa's suburbs for $20.25 million.
ReOp Investments LLC's purchase of the Bay West office park marks its first Florida investment. The company currently owns eight office, retail and self-storage assets in South Carolina, according to its website.
The 195,558-square-foot complex, on 15.4 acres, was built beginning in 1983 and is currently 95% occupied by insurer Geico, Fidelity National Title and restaurateur Beef O' Brady's, which maintains offices and a test kitchen there.
Commercial real estate brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield's Tampa-based capital markets team, comprising Vice Chairman Mike Davis and Executive Directors Rick Brugge and Michael Lerner represented seller Equus Capital Partners Ltd. in the sale of Bay West.
Despite the sale, Yardley, Pa.-based Equus Capital continues to own a half-dozen multifamily and office assets throughout Florida, according to its website. The company had owned Bay West for a decade.
“This is an exceptionably well-located, single-story office park that is just south of Tampa International Airport,” says Brugge.
In the wake of its acquisition of the 5660-5840 W. Cypress St. complex, RealOp has retained Cushman & Wakefield Senior Director Paula Buffa and Director Lauren Coup to lease Bay West.
Brugge adds that the sale could lead to renewed interest and activity in the Westshore Business District, which has benefitted in recent years from a dearth of new construction amid robust leasing.
“The Westshore office market has been very tight — in part because there's been no new speculative construction and we've had very positive job growth,” Brugge says. “This deal says a lot about where we see the market near term.
“Westshore is the center of Tampa Bay, and where most institutional investors want to own,” he adds. “As such, we believe there will always be a good level of demand and think it will remain strong for some time to come.”
The Bay West transaction may also be a precursor to other, even larger Westshore sales.
Don't be surprised if Starwood Capital Group, of Greenwich, Conn., emerges as the buyer for the two-towered Urban Centre, at 4830 W. Kennedy Blvd., later this year.
Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America, which bought Urban Centre in 2005 for $105.5 million, according to property records, has been marketing the asset since last fall with the help of commercial real estate brokerage firm JLL.
It's expected that the twin nine-story office buildings that comprise Urban Centre will trade for more than $150 million.