Monday, July 16, 2018
Business

Texas-based company buys St. Petersburg's Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center

ST. PETE BEACH — One of Tampa Bay's last family-owned beach hotels has been sold to a Texas-based company.

Crescent Real Estate LLC said it has acquired the 382-room Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center in an off-market deal with the Nicklaus family. The price was not disclosed, and the deed had not been recorded as of this morning.

"This is a unique opportunity to secure an excellent resort property ideally positioned to grow,'' Jason Anderson, Crescent's CEO, said in a press release. "Located on one of the best beaches in the country, the Sirata Beach Resort attracts guests from across the U.S. with its easy drive-to-acess and proximity to the St. Petersburg and Tampa airports.''

Crescent said it will make "significant capital investments'' to the Sirata including updating guest rooms and making improvements and additions to indoor and outdoor amenities.

The resort with its three pools, three restaurants and 30,000 square feet of meeting space will be run by HEI Hotels, which manages hotels in several states under such brands as Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott. In Tampa, it manages the Westin Harbour Island.

The Sirata, at 5300 Gulf Blvd., was started in the early 1960s by the Nicklaus family and repeatedly expanded to its current size. But growth had stopped by 2002 due to local restrictions that have kept the Sirata and other St. Pete Beach hotels struggling to compete with much newer hotels on Clearwater Beach. Among them: the opulent 15-story Opal Sands Resort and a luxury Wyndham Grande.

In a brief interview with the Tampa Bay Times last month, CEO Gregg Nicklaus acknowledged sale talks were underway and expressed frustration — as he had in the past — about the city-imposed limits. Even without any major structural changes or expansion, the Sirata spends heavily trying to keep pace with its newer rivals, Nicklaus said, and a major overhaul could cost what he called an "eight-figure'' amount.

Property appraiser records value the Sirata at $28.5 million for tax purposes.

Crescent, a real estate operating company and investment advisor founded by billionaire John Goff, partnered with Atlanta-based Five Start Realty Partners to buy the Sirata.

"The Nicklaus family has been great to work with on this transaction,'' said Justin Wilson of Five Star. "There was a clear pride of ownership and community involvement that we plan to continue in our ownership. We are excited for what the renovation will bring to the resort and how the changes will impact the guest experience.''

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

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