Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Real Estate

Lawsuit over 25-story St. Pete tower involves option to buy land for $720,00 and contract to resell it for $1.8 million

ST. PETERSBURG — The developer of a proposed 25-story mixed-use tower in downtown St. Petersburg is suing the companies that own and lease a parcel of land where the tower would go.

The dispute, which has put the project on indefinite hold, centers around an option to buy the parcel for $720,000 and a separate contract to resell it for $1.8 million.

The tower is planned for two parcels near the Sundial shopping and entertainment center. The parcel at issue is owned by Heritage Hotel Associates but leased to Robinson Sports, doing business as the Fit2Run shoe store.

Heritage and Robinson are named as defendants in the suit, filed this week in Pinellas County Circuit Court by Ping Pong Partners, the tower’s developer.

RELATED: Oops! Developers of that planned 25-story St. Pete condo tower don’t own the land

MORE: Go here for more Business News

In 2012, the suit says, Heritage and Robinson entered into a lease agreement that gave Robinson the right, on 90 days notice, to buy the Fit2Run property for $720,000 before the end of the fifth full lease year.

The fifth full year expired July 31.

In April, Robinson contracted to sell the parcel to Ping Pong Partners for $1.8 million. In May, Robinson notified Heritage that it wanted to exercise its option to buy the property for $720,000.

According to the lawsuit, Heritage has refused to honor Robinson’s purchase option. Robinson, in turn, has refused to assign the option to Ping Pong Partners, as they agreed it would if Robinson was unable to convey title to the property at 256 2nd St. N.

Palmetto-based Robinson did not return a call for comment. Heritage is affiliated with Tampa-based BayStar Hotel Group, which owns the Hotel Indigo next to the shoe store.

George Glover, Baystar’s CEO, said Thursday he had not read the suit and had no comment.

In July, Ping Pong Partners applied to the city for streamlined approval of the $40-million tower. BayStar/Heritage filed an objection. Because it, as owner of the Fit2Run property, had not authorized Ping Pong Partners to submit the application, city officials said the project could not move forward.

Since 2012, when Heritage agreed to the lease-purchase option for $720,000, prices for land in booming downtown St. Petersburg have soared. In its lawsuit, Ping Pong Partners suggests that Heritage doesn’t want to honor the option because it could get much more for the parcel than what it agreed to six years ago.

According to the suit, Heritage has received offers for the Hotel Indigo that would be nearly twice the amount needed to pay off the mortgage on the hotel and the Fit2Run property. However, the suit says, Heritage "has requested its lender to not release the (Fit2Run) property as collateral in an attempt to prevent Robinson and/or plaintiff from exercising the purchase option."

"Under information and belief," the suit continues, "Heritage is taking such action to either demand a higher price for the hotel or stall Robinson and plaintiff in hopes of defeating the purchase option."

Ping Pong Partners, which says it has had to delay closing on the Fit2Run parcel six times, is asking a judge to render a judgment allowing it gain title to the property.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate

Comments
Study: Some Tampa Bay neighborhoods among quickest selling in the state

Study: Some Tampa Bay neighborhoods among quickest selling in the state

Tampa Bay sounds like a home seller’s dream market — even compared to other locales statewide. According to a recent study by SmartAsset, four of the top 10 easiest places to sell a home in Florida are in the bay area. Northern Hillsborough County ac...
Published: 09/24/18
The guys who brought you Tampa’s Armature Works plan high-end offices next door, and they’ve already signed a lease with med-tech company AxoGen

The guys who brought you Tampa’s Armature Works plan high-end offices next door, and they’ve already signed a lease with med-tech company AxoGen

TAMPA — Coming soon from the developers who brought you the Armature Works: Heights Union, two high-end office buildings next door to the trendy food hall, event space and co-working complex overlooking the Hillsborough River.Developers said Friday t...
Published: 09/21/18
They spent $15,000 adding a driveway to their St. Pete House. Now the city says they can’t park on it

They spent $15,000 adding a driveway to their St. Pete House. Now the city says they can’t park on it

ST. PETERSBURG — One day in January, Dana Cremo was on her front porch hanging a vintage screen door when two city employees walked up. "You can’t park on your driveway," they said. "Why?" she asked. "Because somebody filed a complaint," they said. F...
Published: 09/21/18
Former Tampa Bay exec and Chico’s CEO Shelley Broader discusses changing retail in St. Pete visit

Former Tampa Bay exec and Chico’s CEO Shelley Broader discusses changing retail in St. Pete visit

ST. PETERSBURG — When Shelley Broader worked in Tampa Bay, she was turning around a failing grocery store.It was the early 2000s. Amazon wasn’t a powerhouse yet, people were still on Myspace and no one was ordering groceries online. On Thursday, she ...
Published: 09/20/18
Updated: 09/21/18
Homes sales jump in Pinellas and Hillsborough in August after months of declines

Homes sales jump in Pinellas and Hillsborough in August after months of declines

Home sales in August hit their highest levels in a year in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties as prices throughout the Tampa Bay area continued to rise. In Pinellas, sales of single-family homes jumped nearly 7 percent from the same month a year ago....
Published: 09/20/18
Valet parking? A concierge? Midtown Tampa outlines plans for an amenity-rich office building

Valet parking? A concierge? Midtown Tampa outlines plans for an amenity-rich office building

TAMPA — A sudden boomlet in premium office space is getting boomier as developers detail their plans for the first of three office buildings planned at Midtown Tampa, a $500 million mixed-use development near Interstate 275 and N Dale Mabry Highway.M...
Published: 09/19/18
Home refinancings up dramatically in the Tampa Bay area

Home refinancings up dramatically in the Tampa Bay area

Counter to the national trend, refinancings in the Tampa Bay area increased in the second quarter of this year. According to ATTOM Data Solutions, lenders originated 41 percent more refinancing loans in April, May and June than they did in the same p...
Published: 09/19/18
‘Something fishy’ about sale of a golf-course villa in Seminole

‘Something fishy’ about sale of a golf-course villa in Seminole

SEMINOLE — There were so many unusual aspects to the sale of a certain Seminole villa that it’s hard to know where to begin. Is it with the fact the villa sold for $100,000 despite a cash offer of $128,700? Is it that the buyer was a Realtor in the s...
Published: 09/19/18
‘Imminent’ bankruptcy filing for law firm of suspended St . Pete lawyer Mark Stopa

‘Imminent’ bankruptcy filing for law firm of suspended St . Pete lawyer Mark Stopa

The law firm of suspended St. Petersburg attorney Mark Stopa is in such chaos that much of its staff has quit — some after suffering stress-related breakdowns — and a liquidation bankruptcy filing is imminent.In an emergency motion filed this week in...
Published: 09/19/18
St. Pete condo of Weight Watchers’ Mindy Grossman hits market at nearly $4-million

St. Pete condo of Weight Watchers’ Mindy Grossman hits market at nearly $4-million

ST. PETERSBURG — Mindy Grossman, the former HSN chief who now heads Weight Watchers International, has put her Beach Drive condo on the market at the hefty price of $3.95 million.The three-bedroom, three-and 1/2 bath unit on the 24th floor of Ovation...
Published: 09/17/18
Updated: 09/18/18