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Centro Ybor no longer for sale

M&J Wilkow Ltd. of Chicago bought Centro Ybor in 2006 and had put it up for sale in July. 

STEFANIE BOYAR | Times (2004)

M&J Wilkow Ltd. of Chicago bought Centro Ybor in 2006 and had put it up for sale in July. 

YBOR CITY — After more than seven months on the market, Centro Ybor is not for sale anymore.

Owner CMJ Centro Ybor, an affiliate of M&J Wilkow Ltd. of Chicago, announced Monday that the retail, restaurant and office complex is no longer for sale.

"We were pleased with how the sale process was going, but as things moved along, we decided we want to continue our ownership," said David Harvey, senior vice president of sales and acquisitions for M&J Wilkow. "Interest from prospective tenants has increased, and we feel that the value of the property will continue to grow."

Michael Milano, the listing agent for Colliers International Tampa Bay, said there were six offers to buy it, but none of them was for a sufficient price. Colliers started marketing the property in July but did not set a price.

''I think a lot of investors thought that the owner was doing a good job and questioned why they were bringing this to the market," he said. "It was to achieve a certain price point, which they did not get."

M&J Wilkow bought the 216,315-square-foot center along Seventh Avenue in 2006 with plans to add more office space to the mix of restaurants, entertainment venues and retail. The center is 89 percent occupied and includes a 20-screen Muvico movie theater, which takes up 37 percent of the space. The rest is split among restaurants (18 percent), offices (15 percent), other entertainment (14 percent) and retail (5 percent).

The vacancy rate may have influenced the bids, which came in the fourth quarter of last year, Milano said. Without disclosing the bid amounts, he said two were from local groups, two were from South Florida and two were from out of state.

"A lot of people who looked at it bought into the concept but thought the property needed to finish its transition," he said. "We're very content to hold on to the asset and finish what we started."

Centro Ybor, the signature project of former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco, opened in 2000 as the spark for Ybor's revitalization but was slow to take off. In 2004, the city was forced to take over the developer's payments on a $9 million federal loan, which grew to more than $16 million with interest. That loan costs the city $500,000 a year and lasts through 2018.

The complex opened as an entertainment hub but has evolved into a mixed-use complex. Tenants include Game Time, the Improv comedy club, Carne Chophouse, Tampa Digital Studios and the advertising and marketing firm ChappellRoberts.

Susan Thurston can be reached at sthurston@tampabay.com or (813) 225-3110.

Centro Ybor no longer for sale 03/04/13 [Last modified: Monday, March 4, 2013 8:58pm]
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