09/02/15 Real Estate
TAMPA — The real estate arm of the giant Prudential Insurance Co. has purchased five buildings in east Tampa's Highland Oaks office park for $111 million.
It is Tampa Bay's third major commercial real estate transaction in the past few weeks.
"There's a lot of investor enthusiasm" in the area, said Dale Peterson of CBRE, which represented the seller in the Highland Oaks transaction. "What we're seeing is surging population growth, strong job growth, a very healthy labor market and rapidly improving infrastructure in roads. We've got a bunch of new residential units being developed that are attracting millennials."...
09/01/15 Real Estate
ST. PETERSBURG — The former general contractor for Bliss, an 18-story condo tower rising in downtown St. Petersburg, claims it was replaced with another contractor without cause or notice.
In a new lawsuit, Moss & Associates also alleges that developer Taub Entities refused to pay the full price tag of changes that "materially affected" the cost and scope of the project.
Brian Taub, who runs Taub Entities with his wife, Debbie, declined to comment Tuesday, saying he had not yet spoken with his attorney....
The Florida Bar has touched off a new brouhaha among the state's lawyers, this time by hiring a Miami public relations firm for $96,000 a year to advance "positive campaign messages."
Critics fear that the main message the firm will try to advance is a controversial proposal to let out-of-state lawyers practice in Florida without taking the Florida Bar exam.
"I'm flabbergasted," Miami lawyer Robert Allen said Monday upon learning that the Bar had hired Schwartz Media Strategies. "It seems to me that they hired a firm to push an agenda that neither the (Bar's) board of governors nor the vast majority of members of the Florida Bar supports. It's disturbing."...
08/28/15 Real Estate
ST. PETERSBURG — Holly Hail's first impression of Bay Isle Key was "gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous" — so stunning in fact that she paid $182,900 for a condo there nine years ago.
That was the peak of the boom, when Tampa Bay developers were busily converting apartments to condos to take advantage of soaring prices.
But with rents shooting up, condos are again becoming apartments, including the 370 units of Bay Isle Key in north St. Petersburg near the Howard Frankland Bridge. And despite a new state law that better protects owners, thousands are being forced to move out or become renters themselves....
08/28/15 Real Estate
With its stunning view of St. Joseph Sound, the Key West-style home in north Pinellas County would have been a dream listing for any real estate agent.
Owner Vickie McCloy, though, decided to sell the house herself.
"Commissions are a lot of money and I needed to get the biggest bang for the buck,'' McCloy said. So she spent just a few hundred dollars to have photos and a description posted on the Multiple Listing Service and online real estate sites like Zillow and Trulia. ...
08/25/15 Real Estate
The developer of St. Petersburg's beleaguered Signature Place condo tower faces more legal action — this time over two Tampa apartment complexes.
A California firm has sued two of Joel Cantor's companies, alleging they quashed contracts to sell the complexes, then refused to return $1 million in deposits.
San Diego-based Pacifica said that it "is ready, willing and able" to proceed with the sale but that Cantor is trying to force it to pay more. Cantor said Tuesday that the lawsuit is part of Pacifica's "nonstop haggle" since January to lower the purchase price and buy time to arrange financing....
08/22/15 Real Estate
While attending the University of South Florida, Ashley Christie worked at a title company and grew interested in real estate. She got her license, became active in the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors and in 2014 was named the organization's Rookie of the Year. The city of Tampa also selected her to be the exclusive listing agent for 11 affordable new homes built as part of a project to revitalize the Sulphur Springs area, once a popular resort but plagued by a high crime rate in recent years. ...
08/21/15 Real Estate
The slow summer selling season has been anything but as Tampa Bay home sales shot up 30.2 percent in July.
Year-over-year sales of single-family homes showed the biggest gain in Hernando County, up 40.5 percent, followed by Pasco (34 percent), Pinellas (27 percent) and Hillsborough (24.9 percent.)
All four counties did even better than Florida as whole, which posted nearly a 22 percent increase. ...
08/20/15 Real Estate
ST. PETERSBURG — Joel Cantor, developer of St. Petersburg's Signature Place condo tower, denies any blame for the building's construction problems and says the $8.7 million repair bill should be paid by the architect, builder, insurers and the city of St. Petersburg.
In a letter Thursday to Signature Place owners, Cantor also said he recalls dropping off a nearly $1 million check to the city's building department to ensure the 36-story tower "was built to specifications."...
08/19/15 Real Estate
ST. PETERSBURG — Condo owners in Signature Place, Tampa Bay's tallest and newest condo tower, are being hit with $8.7 million in special assessments to correct "urgent construction defects" that endanger residents and pedestrians.
Repairs to the 6-year-old building in downtown St. Petersburg originally were estimated to be less than $700,000 but mushroomed after experts discovered "missing or improperly installed" rebar, which helps strengthen exterior walls....
08/17/15 Real Estate
If nothing else, Port Tampa Bay's vision for the Channel District is notable for its literally lofty ambition.
A rendering of the $1.5 billion project released last week shows two 75-story towers soaring above the waterfront area that the port hopes to redevelop over 15 years.
Towers that tall would vault Tampa into the ranks of such sky-scraping cities as Dubai, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. ...
08/14/15 Real Estate
TAMPA — The chief economist of Fannie Mae, the national mortgage giant, came to town this week with a mixed bag of news about the housing market.
Among the positives: Even if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates in September, rates on mortgage loans are likely to remain low for several more months, economist Douglas Duncan said. Home sales are expected to stay strong.
But Duncan had words of caution, too. ...
08/13/15 Real Estate
Rents in the Tampa Bay area are eating up a bigger chunk of personal income, making it harder for people to save for a down payment — at time when homes otherwise are affordable by historical standards.
A new study by Zillow found that bay area renters paid an average of 32.4 percent of their monthly income on rent in the three months ended in June. That was up from 26.8 percent in the years 1985-2000....
Tampa socialite Jill Kelley and her husband have filed a legal malpractice suit against a Tampa firm they say botched a foreclosure case involving an office building they owned.
The suit, filed last week in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, draws attention once again to Jill Kelley, whose complaints about harassing emails led to the 2012 scandal that forced Gen. David Petraeus to resign as CIA director. ...
08/12/15 Real Estate
Five Pinellas County office parks with tenants including Jabil, FedEx, Digital Lightwave and Lockheed Martin have been sold for $103 million in one of Tampa Bay's largest recent industrial transactions.
Evergreen Industrial Properties bought Gateway Business Center, Gateway Business Park, Metropointe Commerce Park, Westbay Corporate Center and Joe's Creek Industrial Park in a deal that includes 34 buildings with 1.66 million square feet of industrial space. ...