Top 10

By Hannah Wallace September 30, 2006

Florida has been a hot spot in the nation for real estate investments, so it's no wonder that seven of the top 10 commercial sales from July 12, 2005 through July 12, 2006 were to companies outside of the region. A Boston-based pension fund advisor, a large Connecticut private real estate and development firm, and two Michigan-based real estate companies were four who saw commercial opportunities here even while the residential real estate market began to slow down. And for the sellers of these properties, profits were big. The appreciation rate ranged from 11 percent for the sale of the former Winn-Dixie warehouse (Meridian Hudson McIntosh LLC of Tampa bought the property for $30 million just three months after it had been purchased for $27 million) to 1,250 percent for Gateway Office Park, which was purchased in 1996 for $4,075,000 and sold last summer for $55 million to the Boston pension fund advisor. All told, our top 10 sales totaled $411,500,000.


Sale price: $55 million

Address: 301-551 N. Cattlemen Road, Gateway Office Park.

Closing date: 7/12/2006

Seller: Sarasota Gateway Associates LTD (a partnership of Sarasota attorney John Meshad and his son Gavin)

Buyer: TA Associates Realty, Boston-based pension fund investor

Broker: N.J. Olivieri, Horizon Mortgage Co.

Previous sale: $4,075,000 on 2/13/96

The property: The 20-acre site contains four buildings totaling 245,000 square feet. The first building was constructed by the Meshads in 1999 and the remaining three buildings were built in 2000, 2004 and 2006. Current tenants include Clarke Advertising and Public Relations, Casto Lifestyle Properties, Lennar Corp., Centex Homes and University of Phoenix. "John Meshad saw after he finished the fourth building, that with interest rates rising, it would be a good time to sell," says Olivieri. "TA Realty Advisors has earmarked the west coast of Florida as a good place to invest. The way it's growing it looks like California 10 years ago. There's a high quality of life with environmentally sensitive companies. It was a quality asset for them-100 percent occupied in a great location."

Future use: The property will remain an office park with the same tenants.


Sale price: $40 million

Address: 1991 Main St., Main Plaza

Closing date: 08/12/2005

Seller: Theatre Associates LTD

Buyer: Paragon Realty Group LLC, Westport, Conn.-based private real estate/development firm.

Broker: Steve Band of Executive Property Management in Sarasota says no brokers were involved.

Previous sale: 7/1/1996 for $8 million to Sarasota Main Investments; one day later the property sold again for an undisclosed amount to Theatre Associates LTD. "It was millions of dollars," was all Sarasota attorney David Band, who was part of Theatre Associates, would disclose.

The property: In 1985, the 255,000-square-foot Main Plaza was developed for approximately $20 million as a shopping mall, but it never gained success as an upscale retail center. Now, with anchor tenant Regal Cinema and two popular restaurants, Zoria and Applebee's, the plaza sees much more activity. It also home to an assortment of tenants, such as Legg Mason and Sarasota Memorial Hospital, which has a lease for about 60,000 square feet until April 2011.

Future use: For now, the property will continue as a shopping mall/office center.


Sale price: $36 million

Address: 240 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota

Closing date: March 31, 2006

Seller: Isaac Stern, a Brooklyn, N.Y., investor

Buyer: TRiTON Inc. of Detroit and RBS Companies, Inc., of Michigan, a partnership

Broker: Jag Grewal, Coldwell Banker

Previous sale: Isaac Stern bought the building in early 2000 for an undisclosed sum. Stern would only say it was "less than $25 million." The previous sale was for $21,922,000 on 12/4/1998 to Pineapple Bank Investors DBT.

The property: Three acres, including one acre of vacant land and an 11-story, 129,0000-square-foot office building (formerly Gold Bank Plaza, now called M & I Plaza) and 600-car parking garage. "The density allows 50 units an acre under the current code," says Grewal. "This was a hidden value that added tremendous upside potential to the project. I think it's going to be one of the finest developments." Their cost per unit is very low, he adds.

Future use: TRiTON president Brent Virkus wants to build One Palm, a luxury residential building with high-end retail stores at street level. If the city of Sarasota approves the plan, sales of the units will begin in January.


Sales price: $30 million

Address:6100 McIntosh Road, Sarasota

Closing Date: 1/03/2006

Seller: Sarasota/PTTA LLC

Buyer: Meridian Hudson McIntosh LLC of Tampa

Brokers: Edward Miller, Dolores Seymour and Christopher Leonard of Colliers Arnold Commercial Real Estate Services. "We closed the property within 90 days from commencement of the marketing process, which is a very short period for any property, particularly one of this size," says Edward Miller. "It is a reflection on the strength of the Sarasota market that a project of this size would sell this quickly, reflecting strong investor confidence in this market and expectations of continued growth."

Previous sale: $27 million on 9/20/2005

The property: The 58.7-acre site off Clark and McIntosh roads includes Winn-Dixie's 948,000-square-foot former warehouse. It is the largest building sold in the Tampa Bay region in a decade. About 29 acres of the property are vacant.

Future use: The warehouse will be redeveloped to accommodate four to six tenants and includes 200,000 square feet of freezer space and 11 truck docks; leasing rates are $4.75 per square foot annually, triple net. The vacant 29 acres will be developed as 50 to 60 office condominiums and will sell for $250 per square foot.


Sale price: $21 million

Location: Laurel Road and Knights Trail

Closing date: 9/15/2005

Seller: Triple Diamond Commerce Plaza LLC

Buyer: Waterford at Laurel Park North LLC, owned by Mike Miller

Previous sale: $6 million on 4/8/2002

Broker: Waterford Real Estate Services

The property: The 73-acre parcel of vacant land is located at Laurel Road and Knights Trail in Venice just east of I-75.

Future use: Triple Diamond Commerce Plaza LLC sold it to Miller, who plans on developing The Renaissance, a 140,000-square-feet retail space that will include a 20-screen movie theater, two banks, three restaurants and a 100-room hotel. The project will also include 800 homes. Miller hopes to break ground this November.


Sales price: $19 million

Address: 1300 S. Tuttle Ave. (former Doctors Hospital)

Closing date: 1/5/2006

Seller: Bahia Vista Associates (Sarasota attorney David Band was managing general partner, according to title documents.)

Buyer: Bahia Vista Professional Bldg LLC, Mill Neck, NY

Previous sale: $1.2 million in February 2002

Broker: Steve Band of Executive Property Management in Sarasota

The property: Formerly Doctors Hospital, the six-acre property contains six buildings with 275,308 square feet of mostly medical office space.

Future use: Office, primarily medical.


Sale price: $17.4 million

Address: 1515 Ringling Blvd., Northern Trust Bank tower

Closing date: 11/17/2005

Seller: Northern Trust Bank of Florida NA

Buyer: Pointe West Plaza, LLC, Plantation, FL

Previous sale: $7,829,600 on 5/31/2003

No broker

The property: According to Dennis Ackerman, senior property manager of Pointe Group Management, Inc., Northern Trust Plaza was built in 1982 for Northern Trust Bank. The 11-story, 109,972-square-feet building houses tenants Northern Trust Bank, the Law Firm of Ruden, McClosky and Wachovia Securities, LLC. "The building is located in the downtown core area, close to retail and restaurants," she says. "One of Pineapple Square's condo buildings will be built along the rear of our garage and their mixed-use complex will be built one block down from our building."

Future use: Commercial and office use


Sale price: $17.1 million

Address: 6450 S. Tamiami Trail, Pine Shores Mobile Park

Closing date: 7/25/2005Seller: Pine Shores Investment Corp., Robina Twitchell, president

Buyer: Siesta 41 Associates LLP (Benderson Development Company)

No broker

Previous sale: Information unavailable

The property: 25 acres at the corner of Stickney Point Road and U.S. 41, former site of the Pine Shores Trailer Park.

Future use: Benderson Development has filed plans to build a mixed-use project called Siesta Pointe that will include a 10-story hotel, 575 condominiums, townhomes, apartments and a shopping mall of more than 1 million square feet.


Sale price: $17 million

Address:7208 Manatee Ave., Beachway Plaza

Closing date: 6/06/2005

Seller: Beachway General Partnership

Buyer: Inland Western Bradenton Beachway LLC

Previous sale: $3.5 million on 2/26/2004

Broker: Bill Blalock, president of Wyman, Green & Blalock Real Estate Inc. "The price was a function of the tenant roster, the net operating income and full renovation of the buildings," says Blalock. "Inland Southeast purchased the property during an acquisition campaign for quality properties. Several important characteristics are the proximity to established and newly developing residential projects such as Arvida's Seven Shores and Taylor Woodrow's Palma Sola Trace, strong tenants."

The property: Beachway General Partnership was the initial developer of this shopping plaza during the '80s; eventually Beachway and RMC Property Group began redeveloping the plaza for Publix. Other tenants include Staples and Anthony's.

Future use: Retail and office


Sale price: $15.9 million

Address: Landings Retail Center, 4800 S. Tamiami Trail

Closing date: $15.9 million on 07/28/2005

Seller: National investor group

Buyer: Cambridge Investors LLC and Schostak Brothers & Co. of Detroit, MI

Broker: CB Richard Ellis handled the transaction for Inland Real Estate Exchange Corp. in Oak Brook, IL, which was the sponsor and asset manager for the sellers.

Previous sale: $11.8 million in 2002. The last purchase was part of a 1031 exchange in which nine investors, based in the U.S., came together as tenants in common.

The property: The 94,248-square-foot center, located at South Tamiami Trail and Proctor Road, is 96 percent leased. Current tenants include Jo-Ann Fabrics, Radio Shack, Subway and Oreck Floor Care Center. In Nov. 2005, the new owners purchased big-box anchor tenants PetSmart and Office Depot for $7,325,000. The other anchor tenant, Albertson's, was not included in the sale.

Future use: Retail center

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