Saturday, February 24, 2018
News Roundup

Now that it's for sale, what's next for Sundial in downtown St. Petersburg?

When the Sundial shopping center was listed for sale last week, real estate developers in Tampa Bay and others familiar with the project weren't surprised.

It wasn't the first time developer Bill Edwards had listed the property for sale. But this time it took, leaving the future of downtown St. Petersburg's only shopping center in flux yet again.

"The Sundial is unique and iconic. Bill Edwards poured a lot of money to turn it into a beautiful property," said Mike Milano, managing director of retail services for Colliers International in Tampa Bay. Milano was the broker who sold the former BayWalk complex to Edwards in 2011. "The challenge will be to find a buyer who recognizes the value of a property like this."

Real estate brokers say it could take some time to sell a property as unusual as Sundial, which has been open just shy of two years. Outdoor lifestyle centers are a mixed bag when it comes to performance — earlier versions of Sundial struggled, as did downtown Tampa's once-iconic waterfront entertainment district, Channelside Bay Plaza. And new ownership can come in many forms, though those in the industry expect another savvy businessperson to take interest or a private capital investment firm that could sell the center again at a profit in a few years.

"Private capital can be a broad range of folks, from high-net-worth individuals like Edwards or private companies," Milano said. "The catch will be to find someone who appreciates an iconic property and aren't just buying it for an investment. That would probably be the best situation."

Edwards bought the property in 2011 for $5.2 million when it was known as BayWalk and overrun with security issues and had only a few tenants. After investing in a significant renovation, it opened in late 2014 with a slew of national and local tenants, including brands such as Lululemon and White House Black Market.

"I know what I feel it's worth, but I want to see what the rest of the world thinks it's worth," said Edwards, who declined to elaborate on a ballpark price he would accept. "If I get that price, I'm a fool not to take it. If the market's not there yet, then I'll keep doing what I'm doing."

Edwards added that Sundial tenants were doing well and business has been strong.

The 85,357-square-foot complex, which includes a movie theater, gourmet market, two high-end restaurants and a mix of stores, will be marketed unpriced with a "call for offers" on Sept. 1 by Chetek Group of Marcus & Millichap.

Jackie Zumba, owner of Jackie Z Style & Co. and more recently Ansley Z Kids Co. in Sundial, was surprised to hear the shopping center was for sale. Zumba was among the first tenants when the complex opened. In April, she bought LOL Kids and replaced the children's store with Ansley Z Kids Co.

"I was unaware of the sale. I would be sad if there was new ownership, because I love having Bill as our landlord," Zumba said. She described Edwards as "cool and down to earth."

"He really cares about our success, and it shows by how much money and time he has put into this place," she said.

The Chetek Group claims average tenant sales at Sundial hit $480 per square foot. Zumba says her business has been booming since she relocated to St. Petersburg from a major mall in Sarasota.

But Faith Hope Consolo, a high-profile New York City retail broker Edwards hired early on as a consultant at Sundial, said sales are mediocre.

"That's a decent return, but it's half of the national average," said Consolo, who is the chairman of the retail group with Douglas Elliman Real Estate. "Clearly, he is ready to cash out."

Consolo said she thinks the next owner will need to understand the Florida market and how competitive it can be. The Sundial advertisement says the center is 100 percent leased. Lululemon was the first tenant to vacate in February. The yoga retailer opened up a 900-square-foot showroom with a short-term lease to test the market. It did not relocate elsewhere in St. Petersburg.

It's unclear if Sundial has been a moneymaking venture for Edwards. As of last year, tenants were paying an average rate of $32.50 per square foot in rent. Compare that to Beach Drive, where rents are anywhere from $29 to $40 a square foot.

Locale Market, the high-end grocer and restaurant headed by celebrity chefs, is perhaps the most popular of the anchoring tenants, but it had to tweak its concept and change staff.

"There are more local tenants there than national," Consolo said. "The trends in retail change so quickly. It's going to take someone who really understands the landscape there and can make it different than International Plaza or someplace else in Tampa."

St. Petersburg boosters say Sundial plays an instrumental role downtown for residents and tourists.

"The Sundial brought much-needed retail to downtown. It was always a great place for restaurants and art, and Bill helped us bring retail back into the environment, as well," said Chris Steinocher, president and CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

"This seems like a natural progression of things. I do think that all retail has somewhat of a life cycle to it, but I think the Sundial brings something unique and unexpected to St. Pete."

Contact Justine Griffin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.

Comments
Activists call for tech companies to drop NRA’s digital TV channel

Activists call for tech companies to drop NRA’s digital TV channel

Activists are calling for Apple, Amazon, Google and other streaming companies to drop the National Rifle Association’s digital TV channel in the wake of the mass shooting at a Florida school last week, putting the companies in the delicate position o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pregnant mother Paige Howard wins women’s Gasparilla 15K

Pregnant mother Paige Howard wins women’s Gasparilla 15K

TAMPA — Initially, Tampa's Paige Howard was a little reticent about joining the pre-dawn throng at the starting line of Saturday's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K.On a morning when temperatures began in the mid-60s and climbed, Howard's ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Concerned about gun posts, dad turns in son’s phones. Cops find something else.

Concerned about gun posts, dad turns in son’s phones. Cops find something else.

After the Parkland school shooting that horrified the nation, a Miami father told police he was worried about his son’s disturbing posts with guns on Instagram and Snapchat.So he gave investigators his son’s smartphones — and they found child porn, c...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

Roughly 20 minutes into Saturday morning's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K, reigning champ A.J. Richmond glanced over his left shoulder to former college teammate Jon Mott and flashed a quick hand signal."He was telling me that the two guys in...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Trump processes Fla. students’ grief as president, parent

Trump processes Fla. students’ grief as president, parent

WASHINGTON — Once again, it was the images of children that propelled President Donald Trump to act. Trump spent the first days after the Feb. 14 school shooting in Florida fixated on the grieving and anguished students and parents. While at his Flor...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Live blog: 2018 Gasparilla Distance Classic

Live blog: 2018 Gasparilla Distance Classic

The Tampa Bay Times will be there for every step of this year's Gasparilla Distance Classic. Whether you'll be walking, skipping, jogging or sprinting across the 5K, 8K, 15K or half-marathon finish, join us by using #gasparillarun.(function(d, s, id)...
Published: 02/24/18
Rotary prepares for annual ‘Wild Game Night’ in Plant City

Rotary prepares for annual ‘Wild Game Night’ in Plant City

PLANT CITY — The Rotary Club of Brandon will host a Wild Game Night at 6 p.m. on Friday (March 2) on Lupton’s Boggy Bottom Ranch, 8407 Lupton Place in Plant City. This is an annual stag-only event with $100 donations to benefit local charities.This i...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The real Jefferson Memorial has a statue, but this one has a jukebox

The real Jefferson Memorial has a statue, but this one has a jukebox

The building was in its infancy when a vintage Cadillac Eldorado rumbled up the construction path. Getting out, the driver demanded to know what the finished structure was intended for.Told that it would be a private home, the driver scoffed. The uni...
Updated: 5 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Feb. 23

Friday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 2, Crystal River 0BaseballCalvary Christian 9, Countryside 2Northeast 15, Tarpon Springs 1
Published: 02/23/18
Florida Capitol Republicans promise ‘complete investigation’ of what went wrong

Florida Capitol Republicans promise ‘complete investigation’ of what went wrong

TALLAHASSEE — A bombshell that South Florida police ignored tips that a teenager was planning an assault on a school and then failed to stop him when he attacked seems destined to complicate the election-year discussion around mass shootings.Even in ...
Published: 02/23/18