The historic Kress Building at 1440 Main St. has been sold for $5.8 million. Sarasota real estate investor and debt lender Eric Baird purchased the 25,500-square-foot property, built in 1932, from prior owner Doug Libertore of 1 Health Place International. As of the sale’s March 3 closing, the building’s famed first-floor retail space has no occupants; FIMC Insurance is the only current tenant, occupying the second and third floors with an intention to renew its lease in September 2020. Baird says he plans to recruit high end retail tenants for the first-floor space on Main retail and to move the offices of his company, EB Kress LLC, to the fourth floor. The property also has a spacious rooftop deck. Kevin Robbins of Harry E Robbins Associates represented the buyer in this transaction.
The S.E. Kress & Co. chain of five-and-dime stores built the Kress Building in 1932. The building’s distinct modern architecture, including a striking brick-and-stone façade, makes it one of the last remaining Art Deco landmarks in the area. The awning and façade still bear the “Kress” logo and the inscription “5-10-25 CENT STORE.” The S.E. Kress company (1896-1981) once boasted locations around the country, including Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard. Sarasota’s Kress Building was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.