Regional Roundup

By Beau Denton September 30, 2010


Port Manatee Eligible for Federal Grants

The federal Department of Transportation recently named Port Manatee as eligible for funding through the Marine Highway Program, which is aimed at reducing traffic and emissions by utilizing America’s waterways for cargo transportation. The port’s Cross Gulf Container Expansion project between Port Manatee and the Port of Brownsville is one of eight eligible marine highway projects competing for the $7 million in grants. 

Blake Announces Manatee’s First Trauma Center

Blake Medical Center in Bradenton has announced plans for a Level II trauma center for Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto county residents. The $2.5 million project will include an expanded emergency room and two trauma bays, and it will create at least 15 jobs. Blake will submit a full application to the Florida Department of Health early next year and should reach Level II designation by October 2011.

Bealls Opens 27 New Stores

Bradenton’s Bealls, Inc., which operates Bealls and Burke’s stores across the country, is opening 27 new outlet stores this fall, increasing the company’s total stores to 462 in 16 states. The family-owned company brings in $1.2 billion in sales every year. The expansion will bring new Bealls stores to Florida, Georgia and Arizona, and Burke’s Outlets will now be operating in 13 states.

Bradenton Sign Companies Merge

Lakewood Ranch-based Signs Now has bought Bradenton’s Budget Signs. The Bradenton operations of both companies will be consolidated to the Signs Now location at 5608 Cortez Road W., which will be managed by the former owner of Budget Signs. Signs Now, part of Allegra Network LLC, has 200 sites in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

Anna Maria Businesses Form NEMO

Businesses in the City of Anna Maria, on Anna Maria Island’s north end, have formed the North End Merchants Organization (NEMO). Twenty-five of Anna Maria’s 59 businesses immediately joined NEMO, which seeks to connect local businesses with the island’s community and make the businesses more visible to both residents and visitors.

Neal Communities Announces Central Park in Lakewood

After converting an empty pasture and planting almost 100,000 trees, grasses and plants to restore wetlands, Lakewood Ranch-based Neal Communities has opened Central Park in Lakewood, an 800-home, 380-acre community with picnic areas, tennis courts, dog parks, playgrounds, a baseball field and a splash park. The houses start at $126,990 and were constructed by Neal Communities and Bruce Williams Homes. Neal Communities sold 41 homes in August, 25 percent more than the same time last year.



SRQ Loses Condor Bid

Germany-based Condor Airlines announced in early September that it will not enter into a contract for flights to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. SRQ has been lobbying the airline for more than four years, most recently with plans for biweekly flights between Sarasota and Frankfurt. The proposal included $1.7 million in incentives from SRQ and area boards and businesses. In a letter to the airport, Condor cited the Gulf oil spill, slumping airline profits in Florida, and the size of SRQ’s customs facility as reasons for rejection. The airline also stated that it has no plans to begin service anywhere on Florida’s Gulf Coast and that the SRQ proposal may be reconsidered in the future. Currently the only direct international service from Sarasota is on Air Canada to Toronto.

Longboat Fixture Closes Its Doors

The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort closed this summer after a lengthy dispute between condominium owners and Murf Klauber, who ran the resort with his family for more than 40 years. The Klaubers’ announcement that they were shutting down operations came after a bankruptcy judge ruled that their operating partnership had to be liquidated. The condo owners have expressed interest in making the resort operational again, but the Klaubers still own the restaurant, swimming pool and tennis courts on the property.

Sunovia Files Countersuit

Sunovia Energy Technologies, Inc., which recently moved to Sarasota and is receiving expansion incentives from the county, filed a counter lawsuit against Illinois-based EPIR Technologies. EPIR, which supplied Sunovia with solar-power equipment, sued Sunovia for falling behind on payments, but Sunovia Energy is now claiming the payments stopped because EPIR’s founder was using the money for inappropriate personal expenses. Sunovia also hired a new CEO, Art Buckland, in early September.

Urban Trust Opens in Sarasota

Lake Mary, Fla.-based Urban Trust Bank FSB, with almost 30 locations throughout Florida and Maryland, has opened its first Sarasota branch at 235 N. Orange Ave. Urban Trust was founded in 1963 and is now the second-largest African-American-controlled bank in the country.

USF Receives $2 Million for Mote Research

The U.S. Department of Commerce awarded a $2 million grant to the University of South Florida for the USF CONNECT program with Mote Marine Laboratory’s Aquaculture Research Park. Mote has spent more than $23 million on the facility, which is designed for researching affordable, eco-friendly methods of growing fish and invertebrates for commercial purposes.

Nadel Ordered to Pay

In August, a federal district judge ordered Arthur Nadel to surrender funds acquired in a Sarasota-based Ponzi scheme. The order is part of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s case against Nadel, 77, who is currently in prison and will receive an official sentence in New York this month. Nadel was indicted a year and a half ago, and he could be facing a 280-year prison term if found guilty on all charges.


BP to Pay Florida Realtors

Florida Realtors, formerly known as the Florida Association of Realtors, will receive $16 million from BP to assist real estate professionals affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. National Catastrophe Adjusters, an Indiana-based claims adjustment firm, will oversee the claims and allocations. BP has also agreed to pay realtor organizations in four other states. ■



Taylor Morrison, Inc. purchased a portion of the Artisan Lakes community in Palmetto from Property Reserve, Inc. for $4.22 million. The 322 acres on Moccasin Wallow Road near I-75 were last sold in August 1986, along with additional parcels, for $4.27 million. Taylor Morrison now owns 700 acres in Artisan Lakes and is planning 1,800 single-family lots for the property.

SLS Holdings, LLC purchased a 19,000-square-foot strip mall from Allris Properties, LLC for $2.85 million. The property, located on U.S. 301 in Ellenton, was built by Allris Properties in 2007 and was 91 percent occupied at the time of the transaction. The new owners plan to lease the last 1,657-square-foot store at $23 per square foot. Larry Richards, CCIM, then with Sperry Van Ness, brokered the transaction for Allris Properties.

Zia Butt, CEO of North Port Retirement Center, purchased the Pan Am Professional Center, including a two-story, 7,600-square-foot building and a three-story, 21,600-square-foot building, from OB Pan American, LLC for $2.5 million. The center is located at 5900 Pan American Blvd. in North Port and was last sold in two stages: $488,000 in October of 2004 and $539,100 in August 2005. USF Sarasota-Manatee recently leased 6,400 square feet in the center; 10,000 square feet are vacant.

Sarasota 21, LLC, a branch of Valley Crest Landscaping in California, purchased a Sarasota warehouse building at 7175 21st St. E. from Bank of America for $1.45 million. The 16,200-square-foot building includes 4,050 square feet of office space and was last sold in July 2004 in increments totaling $1.15 million.

CJL of West Florida, LLC purchased Sarasota’s Tuttle Manor Apartments, at 251 N. Tuttle Ave., for $1.23 million from Tuttle Manor Apartments, LLC. The 12,350-square-foot apartment complex was built in 1971 and was last sold for $1.33 million in January 2007. The purchase agreement also included two mortgages on the property, valued at $400,000 and $842,000.

A. Patricia Galdamez, owner of

the Bradenton Beauty and Barber Academy, purchased a medical office building from Morrison Enterprises, Inc. for $900,000. The 7,200-square-foot building is at 4212 W. Cortez Road and will be the new location for the beauty school after renovations. The property was last sold in May 1997 for $600,000.

Salem’s Gyros & Subs Restaurants purchased property for a new Bradenton location at 5605 W. Manatee Ave. for $890,000. The 2,176-square-foot property was formerly a Dunkin’ Donuts and was last sold in October 1998 for $300,000. Community Bank of Manatee foreclosed on the property in July before selling to Salem’s, which opened its first Bradenton location on U.S. 41 earlier this year. The new restaurant will open after about six months of renovations.

Fuma Group, LLC purchased an office building in Sarasota’s Rosemary District from Hunter Street River View, LLC for $615,000. The 8,112-square-foot building, at 329 Central Ave., will be the new location of the National Hair Center and was last sold in October 2004 for $1.53 million. BMK Architects will continue leasing its 2,606-square-foot office in the building.


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