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Multifamily developer buys downtown Sarasota block for $6.8 million

Belpointe REIT Inc.'s purchase of 1700 Main St. block and Frontier Communications building marks its second deal in the city in the past year.

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  • | 10:50 a.m. November 17, 2020
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  • Manatee-Sarasota
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A Greenwich, Conn.-based company redeveloping the Main Plaza in downtown Sarasota into apartments and retail space has acquired a second downtown tract that spans more than a city block, according to county property records.

Belpointe REIT Inc. affiliates acquired three buildings and surface parking comprising the 1700 block of Main Street for $6.8 million late last month, records show.

Another entity controlled by the real estate investment trust also acquired a seven-story office building and adjacent parking owned and occupied by Frontier Communications at 1701 Ringling Blvd. for $5.04 million, Sarasota County records show.

The three Main Street buildings at 1700-1718 Main St. consist of a single-story retail and office complex, a vacant three-story office building that most recently had been occupied by Iberia Bank and a former Firestone auto repair center currently occupied by the Tube Dude art purveyor.

That 1.3-acre property, which had been owned by affiliates of Sarasota investor Christopher Brown, had been on the market for more than the past year and is located in an Opportunity Zone. Federally designated Opportunity Zones provide investors with tax and capital gains advantages provided they meet certain criteria regarding investment and length of ownership.

Belpointe officials could not be reached to discuss plans for the downtown properties, which are bounded by Main Street, Pine Place, Ringling Boulevard and Indian Place.

Under current city zoning rules, Belpointe could redevelop the Main Street site with as many as 65 residential units in a five-story building.

Belpointe’s purchase from Frontier, which was approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York, includes a lease that will give the communications company rights to the 95,264-square-foot office building and some parking through the end of October 2040 and as long as October 2070.

“This is a great downtown location,” says Ashley Bloom, a partner in commercial real estate brokerage firm SVN Lotus Commercial Real Estate Advisors, which represented Brown’s entities in the transaction together with agents Ron Zeigler, Rob Henry and Chris Malkin.

“I think they’ll put together a really exciting project there.”

Belpointe was represented in the transaction by Kevin Robbins of Robbins Commercial Real Estate, an affiliate of Harry E. Robbins Associates Inc., of Sarasota.

Belpointe in late September began demolition work on a portion of the two-story, 259,000-square-foot Main Plaza office and retail complex, where it plans a pair of buildings with 418 apartments and 50,000 square feet of retail space, including a food hall.

The private equity firm acquired 8.6 acres of Main Plaza, at 1991 Main St., in late 2019 for roughly $20 million. Another Main Plaza tract, which includes the Regal Cinemas’ Hollywood 11 theater and was excluded from the original marketing efforts, is now being offered for sale for about $19 million.

Belpointe was formed in 2019 to develop multifamily projects in growing Southeast cities, according to its website. 


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