RUSKIN — Gateway Classic Cars has signed a deal to lease 37,500 square feet of warehouse space for a showroom in the South Shore Corporate Park, becoming the development's first tenant.
It's another boost for the area with Amazon building a distribution center on nearly 80 acres of adjoining land.
Gateway, based in St. Louis, sells vintage cars, such as Corvettes and Mustangs, on consignment for private owners, collectors and estates. It has six showrooms in the Midwest; Tampa will be its first Southern market, according to company spokesman Adam Larkin.
"Tampa has a unique, vibrant park culture and we like to open in areas that have a lot of car aficionados and buffs, which Tampa has right down to Bradenton and Sarasota," Larkin said.
"Tampa is going to be our springboard Southern market since we have plans to open in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale in the near future."
Because the company markets, sells and ships its vehicles primarily online to domestic and international customers, the Tampa showroom will only have about 100 vehicles on site, staffed by a small sales force and an office manager.
The fact that the facility is move-in ready in a flexible industrial space for inventory is the key, along with accessibility off the major interstates and a climate that is conducive to year-round sales.
Redstone Commercial, representing the corporative park, said the property and area are positioned for growth now that the recession is fading. Redstone's Robert J. Krueger said the only modifications that were needed for the warehouse are the installation of some lights, a ramp and a door so the vehicles can be driven into the showroom.
"The building is designed for such flexibility that it allows you to do just about anything from an office, manufacturing and warehouse combination to pure warehousing," Krueger said. "From a state standpoint, the South Shore Corporate Park is at the apex of just about everything, from Interstates 4 and 75 to the Sarasota/Bradenton area . . ."
Ryan Companies built the 90,000-square-foot facility in 2007 and stuck with the project through the recession, hopeful for a rebound.
Gateway Classic Cars has plans to host a spring classic car show May 10. Larkin said the event will benefit Shriners Hospital for Children in Tampa.
Kathryn Moschella can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.