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News & Notes

Nearly 2,000 homes headed to 1,000-acre Plant City development

In the week's top commercial real estate news, a national supply company buys a SWFL warehouse, a Tampa restaurant expands and a Lakewood Ranch shopping center sells.

  • By Louis Llovio
  • | 5:00 a.m. July 16, 2023
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
The first residents have begun moving into the Farm at Varre, a 1,008-acre community under construction in Plant City.
The first residents have begun moving into the Farm at Varre, a 1,008-acre community under construction in Plant City.
Courtesy photo
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Naples/Fort Myers

Home alone: Homebuilder Pulte Group has leased 29,547 square feet of office space in Bonita Springs. The space, which includes at least five suites across three floors, is in the Walden Center at 24311 Walden Center Dr. Details on how many employees were moving into the space or if the office was new or a replacement weren’t immediately available. Here’s what is known: the Walden Center is a 51,534-square-foot office building, according to LoopNet. The building sits on 6.5 acres just off S. Tamiami Trail, north of NCH Healthcare System’s Bonita Spring Emergency Center. The Fort Myers commercial real estate firm CRE Consultants represented Pulte in the transaction.

Supply chain: Best Supply has bought an 11,950-square-foot warehouse in Fort Myers. The building supply company paid $4.38 million for the property at 8031 Mainline Parkway, just off of Alico Road. The warehouse will be the Ohio company’s 15th location in the U.S. and its first in Southwest Florida. It does have a location in Sarasota. According to Mayhugh Commercial Advisors, which brokered the deal and announced the sale, at $366 per square foot the sale is one of the most expensive along the Alico industrial corridor on a per-square-foot basis.

Tampa/St. Petersburg

Pioneers days: The first two families have moved into a 1,008-acre residential development under construction in Plant City — the first of 150 set to move in this year. The development, Farm at Varrea, is a part of a partnership between the Arizona real estate investment firm Walton Global and homebuilder D.R. Horton. It is being built using a first option agreement structure Walton initiated in 2019 and now uses regularly. This program is designed to give home builders flexible land purchase options as part of the building process, Walton says in a statement. Farm at Varrea, which is one of the largest developments in Plant City, is off of Midway Road and about 10 minutes from Interstate 4. When complete the community will have 1,940 homes ranging from single-family houses to townhomes to villas. Prices start at $200,000. The idea, says Walton, is to create a community that has homes “for every stage of life.” There are currently 130 houses under construction. “Now that the project is underway,” Walton says, deferred payment revenue will start coming in over the coming months. 

Half Moon Seafood Co., a Tampa restaurant known for its hot sandwiches, is opening a new location in the shipping container garden at Sparkman Wharf.
Courtesy photo

Nashville hot: A new seafood restaurant is opening in Tampa. In a shipping container. Half Moon Seafood Co. is opening a new location in the shipping container garden at Sparkman Wharf, the development near the Florida Aquarium and Amalie Arena, just outside downtown Tampa. The new Half Moon location, set to open this month, is the second for the sustainably sourced restaurant. Its other eatery is on N. 56th Street in Temple Terrace, about a mile east of the University of South Florida. The menu at the new location will include Half Moon’s well known — and celebrated — Nashville-style hot sandwiches, including it hot fish sandwich, and New Orleans-style po’boys. 


Crowder Plaza, the 25,000-square-foot retail center at 2507 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., has sold.
Courtesy photo

Shopping center sell off: A Lakewood Ranch shopping center has sold for $8.5 million. Crowder Plaza, the 25,000-square-foot retail center at 2507 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., sold to an LLC with the same address as a Seattle company named Westland Associates. According to Ian Black Real Estate, which represented the seller, the property is 100% leased and its roster of tenants includes Big Top Brewery, Goodwill, The Granary, Blossom Nails, The Boutique Out East, Premier Tackle and Domino’s Pizza. The center is directly adjacent to Crowder Bros. Ace Hardware.

The doctor is in: A 75,000-square-foot medical facility is coming to North Port. The new three-story building, which will be named The Medical Center at Wellen Park, will be just east of the River Road and the U.S. 41 intersection. Developers says office space will range between 1,500 square feet and 25,000 square feet, and there will be 409 dedicated parking spaces. The project is being developed and managed by Casto Healthcare Real Estate in Sarasota. Wellen Park, the Sarasota County master-planned community, is being built on 11,000 acres and when fully built it will have 22,000 homes and more than 60,000 residents. 

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



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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