Top 10 Deals

By Hannah Wallace September 30, 2007

Out-of-towners from Virginia, New York, Miami and California were the buyers in six of the top 10 commercial real estate deals in the Sarasota-Manatee area from July 2006 through July 2007—good news if you think out-of-town investors are evidence that our region is a good place to do business. Our top 10 sales totaled $243 million, far from last year’s $412 million, and included the sales of three hotels and two shopping centers. The largest deal in the past year was the $71.98 million purchase of Aston Gardens at Pelican Pointe, a luxury senior living community in Venice, by a McLean, Va.-based company. Perhaps drawing more notice in the general public was the $65 million purchase of the Hyatt Sarasota by the Blackstone Group, a New York equity firm, ending concerns that the hotel would become yet another luxury condo. The best deal? Probably the $10.7 million Fairway Grande spent to buy disgraced developer Neil Husani’s five parcels along North Tamiami Trail. Husani spent $10.35 million in January 2006 then resold it the very same day for $24.6 million to a company in which he held an interest so he allegedly could inflate the size of the loan. A year later, Fifth Third, which was one of the banks that loaned Husani money, accepted a down payment of less than $600,000 and provided a $9.8 million loan to the new owner.


Sale Price: $71.98 million

Address: 1000 Aston Gardens Drive, Venice (Aston Gardens at Pelican Pointe)

Closing date: Sept. 25, 2006

Seller: Aston Gardens at Venice LLC

Buyer: Sunrise Senior Living Inc. and GE Healthcare Financial Services

Previous sale: $2,094,000 on July 23, 2001

The property:

Aston Gardens at Pelican Pointe is a luxury senior living community, and was sold as part of a much larger $450 million deal in which McLean, Va.-based Sunrise Senior Living and GE Healthcare Financial Services (a joint venture capital partner) combined to acquire six Florida senior living communities operated under the Aston Gardens brand name. Other Florida Aston Gardens communities are in Naples, Parkland, and three in Tampa Bay. Tiffany Tomasso, chief operating officer of Sunrise Senior Living, said in a statement at the time that the acquisitions “increase our position in the fast-growing independent living market and expand our presence in prominent Florida retirement locations."

Future use: Aston Gardens at Pelican Pointe will continue to operate as a luxury senior living community.


Sales price: $65 million

Address: 1000 Boulevard of the Arts (Hyatt Sarasota)

Closing date: May 11, 2007

Seller: Hotel Associates, Ltd.

Buyer: Blackstone Group

Brokers: Clint Conway of RealtyOne Florida and Tom Peters of Roque & Mark, Santa Monica, Calif.

Previous Sale: $13.8 million on Oct. 18, 1994

The property:

Seven months after luxury condo builder WCI Communities backed out of its offer to buy the 297-room Hyatt for $65 million, The Blackstone Group, a mammoth New York equity firm, bought the hotel for the same price, cheering local tourism officials who wanted to hold onto one of the region’s largest hotels and its spacious meeting facilities. The sale to an outside firm was also seen as evidence of investor confidence in the local market.

Future use: Blackstone is expected to continue the $15 million in improvements begun by the previous owner, and to switch the hotel brand to a more upscale Hyatt Regency.


Sale price: $15.75 million

Address: 2501 63rd Ave. E., Bradenton

Closing date: June 2007

Seller: Ben Price

Buyer: Manatee County School District

Broker: Ian Black Real Estate

Previous sale: $2.2 million on July 7, 1995

The property:

The 135,000-square-foot property has in the past been a Lowe’s home improvement store and the home of Cheetah Technologies. A previous property owner, Ben Price of Longboat Key, repurchased the property after Cheetah Technologies was purchased by Dynatech in 200? and relocated. Broker Steve Horn of Ian Black Real Estate says the Manatee County School District had previously shown interest in the property, but “the timing hadn’t been right.” Horn says the building is a combination of Class A office space and air-conditioned manufacturing space that could be easily converted to office use. “It would be difficult to replicate the building for what they paid for it,” he says.

Future use: The building can accommodate the school district’s future expansion, as it includes another five to six acres of developable land, Horn says.


Sale price: $15.65 million

Address: 100 Arthur Andersen Parkway

Closing date: June 4, 2007

Seller: Denholtz Associates, a New Jersey-based property investment group

Buyer: Osprey Commerce Center LLC, a company owned by Osprey SA, a commercial real estate and investment services company based in Sarasota and Brighton, Mich.

Broker: Fred Starling, Osprey Real Estate Services

Previous sale: $9.95 million on May 17, 2001

The property:

The majority of the three-story, 81,100-square-foot Class A office building is leased; tenants include several insurance companies and a large section leased to Sarasota County. “We’re in acquisition mode here in the Tampa, St. Pete and Sarasota markets,” says Marcia Sevigny of Osprey Management, which operates the property for Osprey Commerce. The parent company owns 4 million square feet of office and industrial property in Michigan and Florida as well as four Michigan golf course properties. Osprey is in the process of improving the landscaping and interior of the building.

Future use: The facility will continue as an office complex. “We’re in buy and hold mode at this time,” Sevigny says. “We plan to keep and operate it.”


Sale price: $15.25 million

Address: 7602 15th St. E.

Closing date: Dec. 6, 2006

Seller: Federal Warehouse Corp.

Buyer: Airport Commerce Center Inc. CHECK THIS NAME!!

Broker: Jeff Button of The Kleiber Group Partners of Sarasota

Previous sale: This is the first sale. The complex was built in two phases, in 1985 and 1994, by Dr. Stanley Riggs.

The property:

Riggs, of Federal Warehouse Corp. in Manatee, sold the 15-acre, 185,000-square-foot flex-space warehouse complex in order to develop other projects at Port Manatee. The new owner, Airport Commerce Center, is a Miami-based property management and investment group that was looking for flex space and liked the regional market. The property is directly across Tallevast Road from the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. Almost 100 percent occupied, tenants include service industry businesses, such as plumbing and air conditioning providers. “It’s just a really well-maintained property with a good location,” Button says. “The guys who bought it did so for the income stream.”

Future use: The facility will continue to be a flex use warehouse complex, with few major changes, Button says. “The buyers realized that [the previous owner] had set up a really good model, and plan to stay with it,” he says.


Sale price: $14. 7 million

Address: 3950 Central Sarasota Parkway (Oaks Plaza)

Closing date: May 11, 2007

Seller: Stone Civix Ltd.

Buyer: BLDG Sarasota and Bacael Sarasota LLC

Brokers: Ian Black and Steve Horn, Ian Black Real Estate

Previous sale: April 21, 1998 for $1.88 million

The property:

The 130,000-square-foot retail center recently lost its anchor tenant, Albertson’s, but broker Steve Horn of Ian Black Real Estate believes the future remains bright for the property. “This is a value play for the buyer,” says Horn, whose company managed the center for its previous owner and will continue to do so for the new Sarasota owners. “[The previous owner] was one of our clients, so we were very familiar with the property, and weren’t coming into the deal blind. For the new owner, this property was right up their ally, and within probably a week of listing we had a contract.”

Future use: The property will remain a shopping center, and Horn says with a new Lowe’s home improvement store going in nearby, the shopping center can expect better days ahead.


Sale price: $13.8 million

Address: 3470 Fruitville Road (Homewood Suites by Hilton)

Closing date: Sept. 15, 2006

Seller: Finergy Development Group (MERCA Real Estate LLC)

Buyer: Apple Seven Hospitality Ownership Inc.

Previous Sale: $1.4 million on July 1, 2002

The property:

In July 2002 Finergy purchased an abandoned assisted living facility (The Gardens) on Fruitville that had become an eyesore, built the 100-room Homewood Suites by Hilton and opened in February 2005. Apple Seven Hospitality, which consists of more than 35 extended-stay and select service hotels, is part of a series of real estate investment trusts underwritten by David Lerner Associates.

Future use: The Homewood Suites by Hilton will continue to operate as a hotel.


Sale Price: $11.2 million

Address: 55th Avenue, Bradenton (Twelve Oaks Plaza)

Closing date: December 2006

Buyer: EJ Partners

Seller: Twelve Oaks Shopping Plaza Inc.

Broker: David Wells of Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Brokerage in Tampa

Previous sale: $6.2 million on Nov. 26, 1996

The property:

EJ Partners, a California individual investor, has been buying shopping centers in Florida and immediately purchased this 7.6-acre property with a 55,000-square-foot Publix when the seller, a Baltimore doctor, put it on the market. The remaining 25,000 square feet includes a Geckos Grill and Plaza, a dry cleaner and a Chinese restaurant. “Any time there is a Publix shopping center for sale, it tends to create a frenzy,” says David Wells of Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Brokerage in Tampa, which handled the sale. “Publix is one of the most desirable anchor tenants in Florida. [The plaza] is in good shape, 100-percent leased, and has a strong location. I had worked with this investor before; the first call I made, it was done.”

Future use: Twelve Oaks will continue to be a retail shopping center. The new owner will “probably hold it for 10 years and sell it after that,” says Wells.


Sales price: $10.7 million

Address: 332 N. Tamiami Trail, and 1230 and 1240 4th St., Sarasota (includes five lots)

Closing date: Jan. 26, 2007

Buyer: Fairway Grande Development LLC, Robert Morey, principal

Seller: Sarasota Grand Central LLC

Previous sale: $24.6 million in January 2006

The property:

Fairway Grande bought five parcels of land between Fruitville Road and Fourth Street in Sarasota, including Holland House Apartments, which were once owned by controversial investor Neil Mohamed Husani. In an elaborate flipping scheme, Husani bought the properties in January 2006 for $10.35 million under the name Capital Force and then sold them the same day to Sarasota Grande Central, another company he held interest in, for $24.6 million. Fairway’s owner, Robert Morey, is also developing property in Michigan.



Sales price: $10 million

Address: 455 N. U.S. 41, Venice (Holiday Inn Venice)

Closing date: Aug. 29, 2006

Seller: Venice H.I., Inc.

Buyer: Best Southwestern Motels Inc.

Previous sale: $4.68 million on March 5, 1999

The property: The 158-room Holiday Inn Venice sits on a 5.85-acre property. It offers more than 6,000 square feet of meeting space and two on-site restaurants. It was purchased by Best Southwestern Motels Inc., a company owned by the LeBlanc Family of Venice, with Bernard LeBlanc as company president. The company owns two other hotels in the Venice area.

Future use: The Holiday Inn Venice continues to operate as a full-service hotel. Following the sale, Bernard LeBlanc told the Venice Gondolier Sun: “Yes, there is room to build another hotel. It's not on my drawing board at the moment, but it's not out of the question."


Filed under
Show Comments