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News & Notes

Tampa hotel completes $21 million expansion

In the week's top commercial real estate news, a Sarasota tower is rejected, a Miami law firms opens in Tampa, and Port Charlotte is getting a new restaurant and bar.

  • By Louis Llovio
  • | 5:00 a.m. January 14, 2024
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
The Epicurean Hotel in Tampa has just completed a $21 million expansion.
The Epicurean Hotel in Tampa has just completed a $21 million expansion.
Courtesy image
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Naples/Fort Myers

Healthy buy: Miami commercial real estate investment firm United Capital paid $4.89 million for a medical office building in Port Charlotte. The 12,216-square-foot building is at 223395 Edgewater Drive and is currently occupied by the Florida Cancer Center. According to United, which announced the deal in a news release, the sale was done through a 1031 Exchange. Bayshore Partnership LLP was the seller. It paid for $340,000 for the then-vacant 2.8-acre property in 2000. United says in the statement that its portfolio includes single and multi-tenant retail, medical office, health care and educational related properties throughout Florida. A look at its portfolio online shows it’s also invested in properties in Indiana and Missouri. 

A Miami commercial real estate investment firm named United Capital paid $4.89 million for a medical office building in Port Charlotte.
Courtesy image

Another shot of whiskey: Specialty Restaurants Corp. is opening its fifth Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill. The new location will be in Port Charlotte and is set to open in in 2025. Specialty broke ground on the new eatery at 5000 Tamiami Trail Jan. 10. The Costa Mesa, California, restaurant group says the Whiskey Joe’s will have views of Charlotte Bay and feature indoor and outdoor seating. It will also include the brand’s Barefoot Tiki Beach Bar concept on the restaurant's private beach. Along with traditional restaurant offerings, the Whiskey Joe’s will have fire pits, a public walkway and a designated dock. Specialty owns 17 restaurants, mostly along the West Coast of Florida, including Whiskey Joe’s locations in Tampa, Port Richey, Pensacola Beach and Manatee County. It paid $4.2 million for the property in 2022, according to Charlotte County property records.

Tampa/St. Petersburg

Accommodation augmentation: The Epicurean Hotel in Tampa recently completed and opened a $21 million expansion. The additions to the Howard Street hotel include a new four-story building with a historic facade, upgraded landscaping and two floors of parking. In all, the hotel will have 51 new guest rooms — including 31 standard king rooms, eight deluxe king rooms, three two-room suites and one junior suite — as well as a private lobby, meeting space and a rooftop terrace. The expansion also includes the conversion of eight apartments being turned into suites with separate dining and living areas, kitchenette, king bed and a sleeper sofa that are scheduled to open in the spring. Epicurean, which opened 10 years ago, is owned by Mainsail Lodging & Development and is an Autograph Collection hotel. There are 151 hotels in North America that carry the Autograph Collection flag and 149 in the rest of the world. Of those, 20 are in Florida. 

Miami to Tampa: A Miami law firm specializing in land use and development has expanded with an office in Tampa. Shubin Law Group, which changed its name from Shubin & Bass, will have its office in Sparkman Wharf in the Channelside district near downtown. John Shubin says in a news release announcing the expansion that despite the growth “our core practice is still based on visioning large-scale real estate projects, getting them entitled, and resolving the disputes that often arise out of those projects.” As part of its move into Tampa, the firm hired Sarasota land use attorneys Robert Lincoln and Stacy Dillard-Spahn and intends to add more attorneys, as well as staff. Jim Shimberg, a former city attorney in Tampa and the general counsel for the developer behind Water Street Tampa, will lead the office.


Temple Beth Sholom in Sarasota has a hired a local commercial real estate firm to figure how it can monetize a portion of its property.
Image courtesy of Ian Black Real Estate

On religious grounds: Temple Beth Sholom in Sarasota has a hired a local commercial real estate firm to help figure out what it can do to monetize some of its property. The synagogue, at 1050 S. Tuttle Ave. just off Fruitville Road, has 10-acres that includes its sanctuary, event spaces and offices. There are also two buildings totaling about 50,000 square feet, which it has leased out in the past. The congregation has turned to Sarasota-based Ian Black Real Estate to see what can be done with six to seven acres of the land south of the sanctuary. The idea is to look at options for the acreage that could give the congregation resources it would dedicate to serving the local Jewish community, says Ian Black, a partner at the firm and its namesake. The property is now zoned for medical, charitable, philanthropic, altruistic, religious or social character uses or assisted living facilities, nursing homes and residential treatment facilities. The congregation will continue to own and use the sanctuary and event space building.

The upper floors of Obsidian would offer bay views to the west and downtown views to the east.
Courtesy image

Turn down service: The city of Sarasota Planning Board has turned down a proposed 18-story downtown tower, setting up a potential appeal to the City Commission. According to the Sarasota Observer, sister paper of the Business Observer, the board rejected the project planned for 1260 N. Palm Ave. following hours of testimony by representatives of developer Matt Kihnke, city staff, affected parties and the general public. The board voted 4-1 to reject it, saying the project isn’t consistent with the zoning code because it lacks required street level retail and commercial space in the Downtown Bayfront zoning district. Before it was turned down, an attorney for the developer asked for a continuance to allow Hoyt Architects to address objections raised. A city attorney told the board that not granting the continuance means an appeal will likely include changes the board will have no opportunity to review.

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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