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News & Notes

Fort Myers school spends $29 million on office buildings

In the week's top commercial real estate news, a major hotel project is OK’d in St. Pete Beach, more land is conserved in Sarasota, and Margaritaville comes to Naples.

  • By Louis Llovio
  • | 5:00 a.m. April 28, 2024
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
Evangelical Christian School bought the buildings — totaling 110,000 square feet — at 4501 Colonial Blvd. and 4445 Winkler Ave. for $28.6 million.
Evangelical Christian School bought the buildings — totaling 110,000 square feet — at 4501 Colonial Blvd. and 4445 Winkler Ave. for $28.6 million.
Image courtesy of LSI Cos.
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Naples/Fort Myers/Charlotte

Schools out: A Fort Myers Christian school has bought a two-building office complex and plans to turn it into a high school. Evangelical Christian School bought the buildings — totaling 110,000 square feet — at 4501 Colonial Blvd. and 4445 Winkler Ave. for $28.6 million, according to LSI Cos. which represented the seller. ECS, as it’s known, says in a Facebook post that the property will serve as its high school beginning in August. Its high school is now at 8237 Beacon Blvd. where preschool through middle school students will remain. The buildings were once the site of Hodges University, which announced last year that it was closing in April 2024 and offering limited classes until August 2024. At one point this year, the Fort Myers City Council discussed buying the property as the site for a new city hall. LSI says it is the largest office transaction in Lee County in the past three years.

The Compass Hotel by Margaritaville Naples at 4805 Tamiami Trail N. opened in April.
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Wasting away: A new hotel has opened in Naples and carries with it the brand name created by one of Florida’s best-know ambassadors and exports. The 119-unit boutique property is the Compass Hotel by Margaritaville Naples. The hotel, which opened last week, is at 4805 Tamiami Trail N. and is owned by TPI Hospitality. The property only has suites — studio, one- and two-bedroom — and its amenities include the 5 O’clock Somewhere Bar & Grill. TPI — which hails from the land of Garrison Keillor not Jimmy Buffet — also owns the Margaritaville Beach Resort on Fort Myers Beach. Along with the two Florida properties, Minnesota-based TPI owns, develops, builds and manages hotels and restaurants in its home state. According the portfolio on its website, it currently has eight properties in Minnesota. As for Margaritaville Hotels & Resorts, its website says the company currently operates 20 “lodging locations” with at least 20 more in the pipeline.

Tampa/St. Petersburg/ Pasco/Polk

Green light: After two grueling — and at times contentious — public meetings, the St. Pete Beach City Commission last week approved a massive expansion of the TradeWinds Island Resort. City leaders granted the property owner’s request for a conditional use permit that will allow it to add 629 rooms. The vote was 3 to 2. The developer, 1754 Properties, plans to add the new rooms and 68,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space. There will also be a rooftop terrace open to the public. The redevelopment will be done in four phases over 20 years. The developer paid $81.4 million for the TradeWinds in 2019. The TradeWinds is an institution on St. Pete Beach that first opened in the early 1960s.


Sarasota County bought 5 acres in Venice to be set aside for conservation.
Courtesy image

Continued conversation: Sarasota County has bought 5 acres in Venice to be set aside for conservation. The piece of land is at 3905 E. Venice Ave. near Snook Haven Park and Sleeping Turtles Preserve South. The county paid $950,000 for the site. The purchase was made through the county’s Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program. Plant life on the land, according to a statement, includes southern red cedar, cabbage palm and pond cypress and gopher tortoises, red-shouldered hawks and great horned owls have been spotted on it. The purchase is part of a larger statewide movement to conserve land and protect it from future development. Just last week the county announced the purchase of 10-acres in North Port and the state recently bought nearly 28,000 acres to be set aside for conservation. The Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program is voter-approved and taxpayer-funded. The program has protected and preserved more than 40,540 acres of natural habitat, with more than 21,000 of those acres placed under a conservation easement since 1999, the county says.

The chosen ones: SVN Commercial Partners has been selected to market the upcoming Parrish Town Center. The 30-acre retail property in north Manatee County is at the intersections of State Road 62 and U.S. 301. Michelle Matson, a senior advisor for the firm, says the property is adjacent to what once was Cone Farm. The project will include eight to 12 parcels ranging in size from half an acre to 10 acres. However, SVN says in a statement, “the project has flexibility at this point to be fluid with the ultimate lot number and sizes.” A big draw for center will be the number of homes recently built or planned for the area. According to the industry website, more than 5,000 new homes will be built in seven residential projects in the area. SVN says initial demand has been brisk and that it is just launching its marketing.

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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