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LA investor pays $81.5 million for Sarasota apartment complex

A $10 million downtown land deal, four groundbreakings in a week and a warehouse sale top the week's commercial real estate news.

  • By Louis Llovio
  • | 8:00 a.m. April 23, 2023
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
The DeSota apartment building in downtown Sarasota has sold for $81.5 million.
The DeSota apartment building in downtown Sarasota has sold for $81.5 million.
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Naples/Fort Myers

Action packed: Seagate Development Group had a busy week. The Fort Myers development and construction company broke ground on four projects in a five-day period the week of April 10. Seagate does work in residential, commercial and real estate investment and property management. The company also owns Earth Tech Enterprises and Theory Design interior design. The four projects it began work on are:

  • A 4,000-square-foot office facility at Alico ITEC Park in Fort Myers for Vantage Logistics. Work is expected to be complete in October.
  • A 40,000-square-foot industrial flex building to be named Casa Napoli. It is being built at Alico Road and Domestic Avenue in Fort Myers for Naples investors Jon and Lori Berlie and expected to be done in the fall.
  • A new location for Velocity Engineering Services of SWFL in Fort Myers’ Alico Trade Center business park. The 8,000-square-foot building is expected to be complete in December.
  • A 25,000-square-foot facility also in the business park for Trend Moving & Storage. Work is expected to be complete in August.

Deal making: A 23-acre parcel in Lehigh Acres has sold for $1.3 million. The buyer was a local land trust. The property, previously owned by Arrowhead Investments of Southwest Florida, is at 601 Homestead Road. The deal was brokered by LSI Cos. In other LSI news, the Fort Myers firm brokered a deal for a 13,856-square-foot industrial portfolio. The two properties in the portfolio include 5802 Corporation Circle in Fort Myers and 240 Field End St. in Sarasota. The portfolio, LSI says, sold for $2.4 million to L.B. Andersen Construction.

Tampa/St. Petersburg

Downtown dealings: LD&D has bought 2 acres in downtown Tampa and is planning a $200 million mixed-used development for the site. The Miami-based real estate investment, development and design firm closed on the property at 1101 East Harrison St. April 20, paying $10 million. The property is part of Encore!, a 40-acre, 12 block redevelopment just north of downtown Tampa, where Cass Street meets Nebraska Avenue. According to the project’s developers, Encore! is a “sustainably developed transit-oriented master plan that blends multifamily, retail, office, hotel, medical facility, gardens and a grocery store.” LD&D’s piece is a 28-story luxury multifamily building with 369 units, a 178-unit hotel and 32,500 square feet of ground floor retail. Construction is expected to begin later this year.

Piece of the action: A Baltimore commercial real estate development firm is expanding into Florida. St. John Properties has opened a regional office in Tampa, expanding its reach to 11 states. The company, founded in 1971, has developed and manages 23 million square feet of commercial space. According to a statement, it is “immediately pursuing land acquisition opportunities to fulfill its speculative development strategy throughout Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco and Polk counties in the greater Tampa metropolitan area.” The company’s president and CEO, Lawrence Maykrantz, says it was attracted to Florida because of the area’s business environment, growth, workforce and land availability.

New digs: A longtime retailer at International Plaza has packed up and moved. Ballard Designs moved into a new 8,500-square-foot space inside Midtown Tampa April 14. The new location is just a couple of miles away from the space Ballard called home for 16 years. Midtown Tampa is quickly becoming a premier address in the city, as International was when it first opened in 2001 and remains today. Midtown Tampa is home to national retailers including REI and Whole Foods, as well a corporate and local headquarters for a roster of companies that includes KForce. 


LA living: The DeSota apartment building in downtown Sarasota has sold to a California investment firm. According to Sarasota County property records, the complex was bought by an LLC with an address that matches that of JRK Property Holdings on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. The sale price was $81.5 million, which comes out to $452,777 a unit. The 10-story, 180-unit building at 1415 2nd St. opened in 2017 on property that once housed the United Way. The DeSota has units ranging from 777-square-foot one-bedrooms to 2,744-square-foot three bedrooms. The monthly rent for the smallest unit starts at $2,820 and tops out at $8,749 for the largest, according to complex’s website on April 21.

JRK was founded in 1991, according to its website. It has owned and operated a portfolio of more than 80,000 multifamily and hotel units in 30 states totaling more than $15 billion. The building’s previous owner was Bluerock Real Estate of New York, which paid $80.3 million in 2019.

Warehouse wrangling: A 19,152-square-foot warehouse in Palmetto has sold for $2 million. The property was bought by an LLC named Caliber Properties. According to the state’s Division of Corporations, Caliber’s main address is the same as the warehouse’s — 7520 Westpark Place. The company’s two managers have Concord, North Carolina addresses, though. Manatee County property records show the warehouse sits on 2.44 acres and is in the Gulfcoast Corporate Park.


Good start: The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has approved Tailrow Insurance Co., a unit of a Tampa-based insurance leader, to write homeowner policies in the state. While this would normally be seen as a simple bureaucratic authorization, the fact is that it could be the first step — of many — to bring the state’s extremely troubled property insurance market under some sort of control.

Market challenges have caused some carriers to leave the state or become insolvent, and put pressure on state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. In a statement announcing the approval, OIR says Tailrow is the first company to win approval after reforms passed in two special legislative sessions last year. Michael Yaworsky, the recently installed insurance commissioner, says OIR’s “greatest priority is to promote a stable and competitive insurance market for consumers.” According to the state’s consent order, Tailrow is part of the Tampa-based insurance company the HCI Group.



Louis Llovio

Louis Llovio is the deputy managing 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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