The Manatee Historic District Rises Again

By Hannah Wallace November 30, 2007

In the early 20th century, before downtown Bradenton moved a couple of miles west, East Manatee Avenue was the bustling hub of commerce in Manatee County. Today developers are casting their eyes eastward once again toward what’s now called the Manatee Historic District.

The district is bounded by Manatee Avenue, 10th Street East, Glazier Gates Park and the planned Riviera Southshore, a $35 million, 14-story condominium project with three to four towers to be built along the Manatee River. Immediate neighbors include the renovated Central Hotel Offices/Central Café building, a Cool Beanz coffee shop and Vanguard, a mail-order pharmaceutical company.

In addition to the ambitious Riviera Southshore project and several newly completed historic redevelopments nearby, a pair of historic commercial buildings in the heart of the neighborhood will provide much-needed office space, according to owners Michael and Duneska Grant.

The principals of Florida Dream Team Realty and Mortgage, the Grants now inhabit one of the two historic buildings at 1001-1007 Manatee Ave. E., which they have partly renovated as an upscale rental facility called Venture One Executive Office Suites.

Originally known as the Tallant buildings, they were built by the Tallant family, early 1920s settlers and contributors of artifacts to the archeological exhibits at the South Florida Museum and Bishop Planetarium in Bradenton.

William F. Tallant and his son, W. Montague, built and operated a hardware store on the site from 1921 to 1922. In 1923, the senior Tallant built the one-story brick masonry building east of the northeast corner of 10th Street East and Manatee Avenue East and opened a furniture store called Tallant and Co. In 1924, Alfred P. Tallant, William’s brother, built on the northeast corner of 10th Street East and Manatee Avenue East and opened two businesses there, the Tallant Dry Goods Co., later the K&G Department Store, and a hardware store, Farmer’s Hardware.

The property has been occupied by a variety of retail operations over the decades, and most recently served as a church.

The two buildings were in a severe state of disrepair when the renovation project began in early summer 2006, says Michael Grant. Plans were to provide 14 executive office suites for rent at an introductory rate of $550 per month, with services including Internet access, telephone/voicemail with receptionist support, copies, mail services, conference rooms and phantom office suites.

Because one of Grant’s former partners is withdrawing from the business and would like his investment returned, Grant is selling both buildings.

“The Manatee Historic District is poised for a significant amount of appreciation,” he says.

The two-story, 4,400-square-foot building at 1007 Manatee Ave. E. is fully renovated inside and outside, and the ground floor is occupied by Florida Dream Team Realty and Mortgage, which plans to remain as a tenant and property manager. Plans for further improvements to convert the second floor into seven executive rental office suites are available.

The second structure, a one-story, 2,100-square-foot building at 1001 Manatee Ave. E., is fully renovated outside, ready for a new owner to build-to-suit the interior, he says, adding that plans to convert the building into seven more executive office suites for rent also are available.

The buildings are painted in historically accurate mustard and cinnamon hues and have antique bronze lighting, glass bricks and a travertine tile lobby in the two-story building, with upgraded electrical, air conditioning, telephone and Internet systems throughout.

A Mexican-style patio courtyard the width of one city lot joins the two buildings, and has wrought iron gates, a bougainvillea-planted trellis and a fountain.

The buildings were originally red brick that was later covered with stucco. Several columns have been restored to expose the original brick.

A gated, rear parking lot, secondary parking lot, front street parking and side-street parking combine to accommodate up to 17 vehicles.

Priced at $1,595,000, the price per square foot is $245.38, but Grant says he is also considering a “quick sale” price of $1,395,000, or $214.62 per square foot.

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