Biz Briefs

By Beau Denton May 31, 2010

Sarasota County

Rowing Mecca

Nathan Benderson Park is on track to become a world-class rowing destination. Plans are already under way to extend the course to the international standard of 2,000 meters by 2011. An additional $40 million worth of amenities are planned, including a boathouse, docks, improvements to Cattlemen Road and other upgrades. Developers hope to finalize improvements in time to bid for the NCAA’s 2012 championship and the World Cup Championship three years later. The completed park could host as many as 15 regattas a year, bringing an estimated 200,000 people and $40 million to Sarasota annually.

Awaiting Google’s Verdict

It’s been more than two months since Sarasota entered Google’s competition for ultra-high-speed Internet, a process that included renaming City Island “Google Island,” hosting a free concert with pop artist Lindsey Ray and, yes, watching the mayor dive into a shark tank. Google Fiber offers the possibility of Internet connections more than 100 times faster than most Americans can access. Sarasota’s campaign earned national attention, notably from NPR’s All Things Considered and the front page of The New York Times. But the folks at Google refuse to announce any favorites. They are considering each of the 1,100 community responses, planning to announce the winner by the end of the year.

Sarasota Eyes a

Cinematic Future

This year’s Sarasota Film Festival in April included an all-new Investor’s Lab, in which festival organizers hoped to introduce filmmakers to prospective investors. Directors and producers mingled with area businesspeople to discuss projects, some of which included plans for film shoots in Sarasota. Bradley Battersby of Ringling College calls Sarasota an “untapped resource” for film production. Attempts to develop state tax incentives and constructing a state-of-the-art soundstage are among the first steps promoters are considering as they position Sarasota as a cinematic hot spot.


New Development

Planned for Sarasota

Lindvest Communities of Toronto is planning a 450-acre village-style development in northeast Sarasota. Lindvest purchased the property from Orion Bank and Mercantile Bank for $20.6 million in February 2008 and hopes to begin construction in late 2011. The current plans, supervised by Sarasota’s GAP Engineering & Planning LLC, describe a “village-styled, walkable community, utilizing an urbanized approach, while preserving 50 percent of the open space.” Sarasota ordinances require that developers hold 1,000 acres before being considered for village-style communities, meaning Lindvest will either have to purchase more land, work with neighboring landowners, or lobby for changes in zoning laws.

Tidewell Hospice CEO Announces Retirement

After 10 years as president and CEO, Marge Maisto will leave Tidewell Hospice on July 30. Under her direction, Tidewell added three new hospice houses and grew its annual budget from $16.8 million to $92 million. Maisto explained that she is hoping to spend more time with her family after retirement.


18-Story Hyatt Proposed

for Downtown Sarasota

Downtown Sarasota property owner Harry Walia submitted plans in April for the first significant downtown real estate project proposed in almost four years: an 18-story Hyatt Summerfield Suites on the site of Patrick’s restaurant. The new tower would include 102 hotel rooms, 9,000 square feet of office space, parking and four residences. Walia believes the project would revitalize the area’s hotel industry and bring new life to downtown, but it faces significant obstacles. Walia has requested an exemption to the 10-story height restriction for downtown buildings; the city has only allowed one exemption since the height restriction was imposed in 2003.

Manatee County

Baseball Facility Planned

for Lakewood Ranch

Manatee County company C&H Baseball, which most recently supplied batting cages and other equipment to stadiums for the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins, broke ground on a $1.5-million training facility in Lakewood Ranch. The 17,000-square-foot complex will include six indoor batting cages, an infield practice area with artificial turf, and regimens for training and weightlifting. The facility will be open to the public and available to teams at all levels of the game. C&H hopes to use local businesses for every step of the construction.


Port Manatee Projects

The Manatee County Port Authority signed a long-term, $30-million agreement with Port Dolphin Energy LLC in March. It will result in a natural gas pipeline through the port and is estimated to earn Manatee County more than $150 million over the next 20 years. County officials are also seeking to capitalize on the upcoming $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal. Port Manatee signed a deal with the Panama Canal Authority two years ago to promote trade through joint marketing and is in a unique position compared to other American ports because of its proximity to the canal and substantial room for growth.


Chinese Drywall Manufacturer Seeks Settlement

Local homebuilder Lee Wetherington received a letter from Chinese drywall manufacturer KPT, requesting to begin settlement negotiations regarding the faulty building materials. KPT is the only manufacturer so far to step forth in the case against the Chinese companies manufacturing the materials, which corrode home components and may pose health risks. Two Bradenton homes were built with KPT materials and are in the process of being repaired. Wetherington declined to release the proposed settlement but did say it is significantly lower than he would demand.



Big Deals!

The region’s top commercial real estate transactions.


IA Sarasota Tamiami LLC purchased the 324,985-square-foot Sarasota Pavilion retail center from DDRTC Sarasota Pavilion LLC for $44.67 million. The property includes 30 stores already in operation, centered around Publix, Bed Bath and Beyond, Ross, Marshalls, Old Navy, Michaels and Stein Mart, and is located at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road in Sarasota. The purchase is part of a $424 million acquisition of 16 shopping centers in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia. Purchased: March 4, 2010.

Anand Patel sold Bradenton’s 2,274-square-foot IHOP restaurant to Urban Atlantic Group LLC, based in Miami, for $1 million, or $440 per square foot of building space. The building sits on .67 acres at 5427 14th St. W. Urban Atlantic Group has not announced plans for the building. Purchased:April 15, 2010

Albert and Zuzana Shaw of OZA Inn LLC purchased the 20-unit Gulf Breeze Inn in Venice from Gulf Breeze Inn LLC for $700,000 this spring. The 10,331-square-foot motel, built in 1957, includes a four-bedroom home for the site manager and was last sold in 2006 for $1.65 million. The Shaws are also the owners of Venice’s OZA Café.Purchased: March 16, 2010

Sarasota’s Atco Inc. purchased a 1,400-square-foot BP gas station and convenience store on Holmes Beach from McCarley Oil Co. for $1.23 million. Atco, which owns about 20 stores along the Gulf Coast, will lease the property to an operator and has mortgaged it to McCarley Oil for $925,000. Purchased: March 11, 2010

Filed under
Show Comments