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Cassia Cay property trades hands

Deal to consolidate ownership of key Sarasota County tract may jumpstart long-stalled development plans for 32-acre site near Westfield Sarasota Square mall.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. February 14, 2020
  • Commercial Real Estate
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A Michigan-based investment group has acquired a key undeveloped waterfront tract in central Sarasota County that could jumpstart long-stalled plans for condominiums and possibly apartments on a 32-acre parcel near Sarasota Square Mall.

Tamiami 41 LLC, an entity comprising investors in Howell, Mich., Pickerington, Ohio and St. Petersburg, acquired the 18.27-acre parcel at 7914 S. Tamiami Trail late last month from a Connecticut hedge fund for $4.61 million, according to Sarasota County property records.

An affiliate of  Tamiami 41, Bayonne Investments LLC, has owned an adjacent 14-acre parcel behind 7914 S. Tamiami for the past 14 years. Bayonne bought that waterfront tract in October 2005 for $16.76 million, according to property records. It was administratively dissolved last month, Florida Secretary of State records indicate.

Consolidating ownership of the two Cassia Cay tracts will allow the investors to formulate a development plan or sell the entire parcel, says Tamiami 41 investor Jeff Craft.

“The two tracts are tied together through a development agreement that’s been in place for a long time,” Craft says. “That means that the front parcel can’t be developed without the back piece, and the back piece, being landlocked, effectively can’t be developed without the frontage on U.S. 41.

“But we recognize that it’s one of the largest, most attractive development sites in all of Sarasota County now.”

Commercial real estate brokerage firm Marcus & Millichap’s Casey Babb, Luis Baez and Shawn Rupp of the company’s Tampa office represented Tamiami 41 in the transaction.

SVN Florida Commercial Real Estate Advisors’ Ashley Bloom negotiated on behalf of seller BMR Funding LLC, an entity controlled by Silver Point Capital, a Greenwich, Conn.-based hedge fund formed in 2002.

“The sale of this highly desirable site was over five years in the making, but in the end took only 10 days from contract to close,” Babb says.

The property is entitled for a 300-unit, multi-family rental complex and a 98-unit condominium project.

Past iterations have involved significant retail development along Tamiami Trail, with residences along the water.

In late 2015, Core Development Inc., which co-developed the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, the luxury Concession golf club community in Manatee County and, most recently, the 18-story BLVD condo in downtown Sarasota, proposed a $200 million project on the site.

Core President Kevin Daves had planned more than 200 residences priced from $500,000 to $4 million; 178,000 square feet of retail space; 60,000 square feet of offices; parking; and undefined “entertainment” space.

Core had planned to model the project after the successful mixed-use Mercato retail and office development in Naples.

But the plans, along with those by a Texas group that proposed a combination residential community and lifestyle center, failed to reach fruition.

Craft says Tamiami 41 intends to carefully determine how to proceed.

“Something as complex as this could, and should, take a long time,” he says. “We’re together in the process of figuring out the best way to go forward.”

Other members of Tamiami 41 include James Frauenberg of Pickerington, Ohio; Leonard Nadolski of Howell, Mich.; and Michael W. Lenhart of St. Petersburg, according to state records.

Craft adds the new owners have no specific timetable in which to decide the future of the property.

“We’re evaluating all the options at this point,” he says. “It’s a big project and we understand the history of it. I can tell you it will be less dense a proposal than has come before.”

And while retail and apartments seem logical candidates, Craft isn’t so sure.

“Going vertical with multifamily apartments is extremely expensive,” he says. “And retail doesn’t seem to be too viable in that location. The nearby mall is struggling, for instance. So at this point we don’t really see it as a retail play.”

He adds, though, that the investors likely will joint venture with a developer or sell off parcels or the entire tract to a developer. Tamiami 41 is contacting a number of groups to gauge interest in the property.

“We’re not developers who develop 30-acre parcels, that’s not who we are,” Craft says.










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