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Developer pays nearly $60 million for St. Pete hotel

A popular event space sold, an office brings nearly $8 million and work starting on affordable housing project top the week's commercial real estate news.

South Carolina developer OTO Development has bought the AC Hotels by Marriott in St. Petersburg for $59.7 million.
South Carolina developer OTO Development has bought the AC Hotels by Marriott in St. Petersburg for $59.7 million.
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Naples/Fort Myers

Affordable build: Construction has started on a long-awaited affordable and attainable housing project in Cape Coral. Developers behind Civitas of Cape Coral broke ground on the 96-unit workforce apartments April 3. That’s a little more than three years after the purchase of the 4.6-acres just off Pine Hill Road. Developers paid $950,000 for the land. The complex is being developed by ReVital Development Group of Tampa, the Lee County Housing Authority and Birdsong Housing Partners from Maitland. Developers say units will be reserved for families that earn 80% or less of the area median income and rent will average $950 per month. The first building is expected to be complete in a year and then 30 days each for the next two buildings. 

Meet the new boss: Meg Stepanian, a veteran marketing and communications professional, has been named executive director of Naples’ Fifth Avenue South Business Improvement District. She is replacing Bruce Barone Jr. who announced his departure in September. Stepanian, according to a statement, most recently worked for the Estero Country Club as the director of marketing and membership. Before that she was head of marketing for The Venice Golf and Country Club and owned her own communications company. The district, according to the statement, was created in 2010 to represent “the interests of both property owners and businesses” of the city’s high-end commercial district.

Tampa/St. Petersburg

Hotel headline: OTO Development has picked up its second big Pinellas County hotel in as many years. This time the South Carolina developer has bought the recently opened AC Hotels by Marriott in downtown St. Petersburg. According to county property records, it paid $59.6 million for the property on 2nd Street North. The 172-room, eight story hotel, which opened in late February, was previously owned by Greystar Development. Among the amenities at the hotel is a “Cuban-inspired restaurant and bar with an emphasis on all things rum” called Cane & Barrel on the rooftop. Just last year OTO Development paid $65.9 million for the DoubleTree Beach Resort on North Redington Beach. OTO has been buying up oceanfront properties for nearly five years now. Among the properties it has bought is the Hilton Garden Inn St. Pete Beach, which it paid $34.5 million for in late 2019.

No longer a fad: Resibuilt, an Atlanta home builder, has bought 48.08 acres in Wesley Chapel and plans to construct a build to rent community there. The sale price was not disclosed. The property is the site of the GroveParc Townhomes, a planned 190-unit community previously owned by Blue Pointe Builders of South Florida. Site work has been completed and the townhouse community has won approvals, according to JLL, the commercial real estate firm that represented Blue Pointe. Work is scheduled to be completed in January 2025. When done, the community will include three- and four-bedroom townhomes with garages and a host of amenities more common to apartment complexes.

A day at the office: A Tampa office building has sold for $7.9 million. The property, at 4401 W. Kennedy Blvd., was bought by an LLC named Lafyette Partners. What make this purchase interesting is investors remain willing to pay big dollars for an older office property at a time when the office market is supposedly in decline. The 28,255-square-foot building was constructed in 1986 and is in the Westshore District, about two miles in either direction from downtown and Tampa International Airport. Despite major developments sucking up office clients, the office market along the drag remains strong. In late 2021, the three-story 4100 Kennedy — then known as The Venture Center — sold for $8.23 million, and the Urban Centre recently underwent a $3.5 million renovation. But it’s not just office dwellers these buildings are attracting. In the building adjacent to the just-sold 4401 W. Kennedy Blvd. property, a Dunkin’ doughnut shop has taken over the former Fifth Third Bank space and the drive thru is now taking coffee orders rather than deposits.


Dance hall days: The Devyn, a well-known event space in Sarasota, has been sold. The new owner paid $4.7 million for the property and intends to build a Chinese supermarket on the site. A spokesperson for American Property Group of Sarasota, which handled the sale, says it is not clear what the new market will be named or when it will open. Whatever it’s called, the new market is just the latest iteration for the property on U.S. 41 near Siesta Key. Before being turned into an event space and becoming a home for weddings, quinceañeras, banquets and a host of other happenings it was a Sam Seltzer’s Steakhouse and Livingston's Billiards. The owners of the Devyn paid $3 million for the property in March 2014 and poured another $1 million in for renovations before opening in September of that year.

If you have news, notes or tips you want to pass along, contact LLLov[email protected]. Or you can text or call 727-371-6944.



Louis Llovio

Louis Llovio is the commercial real estate editor at the Business Observer. Before going to work at the Observer, the longtime business writer worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Maryland Daily Record and for the Baltimore Sun Media Group. He lives in Tampa.


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