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An Atypical Land Deal

Land Advisors' Nancy Surak leads FGCAR 2018 Pinnacle Awards winners with 1,557-acre land sale in Pasco County.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. April 5, 2019
  • Commercial Real Estate
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Nancy Surak spent nearly three years carefully shepherding a deal for more than 1,550 acres in a Pasco County master-planned community to closing.

Months were invested gathering market data under a strict confidentially mandate from her client, land seller Woods Capital Management LLC, of Dallas.

Still more months were spent analyzing land sales, tracking residential trends and identifying potential buyers for the remaining tracts in the Connerton community, in Land O’Lakes, prior to the property coming to market on Valentine’s Day in 2018.

“This was not your typical land deal,” says Surak, the Tampa-area broker for commercial real estate firm Land Advisors Organization, a Phoenix-based company that operates two dozen offices nationally. “Everything was carefully orchestrated.”

In mid-December, Miami-based Lennar Corp. bought the property, about 23 miles north of downtown Tampa, for $26.54 million. It marks the largest single-asset land sale in the history of Pasco County in terms of dollar volume.

Today, Connerton contains about 800 residences and 89,000 square feet of retail and office space, anchored by a Publix Super Markets Inc. grocery store. The community also contains an elementary school.

At build out, Connerton could contain up to 8,600 residences, 730,000 square feet of retail space, another 1.4 million square feet of offices, medical offices or industrial space, 250 hospital and skilled nursing beds and institutional uses.

Roughly 3,000 acres of land in the community will remain preserved.

“(Woods Capital) cared a lot about the community and wanted to select the right buyer,” Surak says. “They felt very strongly about that. I think we did that, and we got the client the best market deal. It’s always nice to get a deal to close, especially one that at times seemed to take forever.”

Late last month, Surak was awarded the “Overall Deal of the Year” and land deal for 2018 by the Florida Gulfcoast Commercial Association of Realtors. It was the second time in four years that Surak had won top honors for an overall transaction, and the fifth time her land sales have been recognized by the group.

The group’s 2018 Pinnacle Awards also recognized Dean Saunders, a partner in the brokerage firm CBC Saunders Real Estate LLC, in Lakeland, as “Overall Top Producer” in volume, as well as top land broker affiliated with a national organization.

Other two-time winners included Julia Silva, of Cushman & Wakefield, for most completed transactions and top industrial broker with a national company; Kim Lohry of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, for investment and general brokerage with a national firm; and Brian Andrus, owner of Stonebridge Real Estate Co., for general brokerage and investment deals with a regional company.

Eshenbaugh Land Co., Colliers International Tampa Bay and Ciminelli Real Estate Services also took home multiple honors.

Eshenbaugh Founder Bill Eshenbaugh was recognized as top regional land broker, while agents Michael Strahan and Jack Koehler shared “Deal of the Year — Land” honors for a sale that will result in a solar energy farm in Pasco County.

Colliers International’s Pat Marzulli won “Deal of the Year — Retail” and Tom Chamblee, a retail and land broker with the nationally affiliated firm, was singled out for his retail brokerage work.

Ciminelli’s Mary Foley Seletsky and Tom Hernandez were recognized as top industrial and office brokers, respectively, with a regional company.

COURTESY PHOTO — Wendy Giffin, a Cushman & Wakefield director, is FGCAR's 2019 president.
COURTESY PHOTO — Wendy Giffin, a Cushman & Wakefield director, is FGCAR's 2019 president.

Charles Puccini of Commercial Asset Partners Realty won “Deal of the Year — Investment; Jessica Mizrahi of Cushman & Wakefield shared the Most Transactions award with Silva; Erika Matscherz of The Dikman Co. and Bruce Vaughan of Vaughan Commercial Advisors LLC shared the FGCAR “Member to Member Deal of the Year;” Scott Clendening of Commercial Partners Realty Inc. was recognized for office brokerage with a regional firm; and Mark Klein of Klein & Heuchan Inc. was recognized for his retail brokerage work with a regional firm.

Will Daniel, of The Mahoney Group Inc. was named FGCAR “Rookie of the Year,” while Steven Silverman, of Tampa Commercial Real Estate, received the Henry Blanton Lifetime Achievement Award from the group.

Wendy Giffin, a Cushman & Wakefield director and FGCAR’s president for 2019, told the group of roughly 100 at the Florida Aquarium presentation that they were all winners.

“You are all successful if you’re still in this very tough industry,” she says. “We’ve all been through some tremendous adversity.”







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