Advertisement
  1. Business

Real estate mogul Ben Mallah buys Marina at John's Pass for $17.2 million

The Marina at John’s Pass, part of John’s Pass Village, has been sold for $17.2 million. DIRK SHADD | Times
Published Aug. 14

MADEIRA BEACH — Buffeted by storms and recession, the Marina at John's Pass is getting a new lease on life.

Entrepreneur Ben Mallah paid $17.2 million Friday for the waterfront complex, a popular but run-down tourist attraction with shops, water sports and restaurants, including Hooters, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and the Friendly Fisherman.

"It's been really neglected,'' Mallah said of the marina. "We're gonna come in, give it a bunch of TLC, clean and paint, get more stores and entertainment in there and get it like it should be.''

Mallah, who owns numerous properties throughout the Tampa Bay area, bought the 138,715-square-foot marina through the online auction site Ten-X. The property, part of what is commonly called John's Pass Village and Boardwalk, had been marketed as an "irreplaceable waterfront location'' that is Pinellas County's No. 1 tourist destination.

READ MORE: Tampa Bay real estate mogul Ben Mallah mixes profit with profane (w/video)

Included in the sale was Hubbard's Marina, named for a longtime Pinellas family that owned the entire marina from the mid-1970s to 2008. The Hubbards built a boardwalk and 325-space parking garage before lenders took over the marina after business slumped due to hurricanes and the recession.

"We lost the property in bankruptcy so during my tenure as vice president and majority owner of Hubbard we've always had a landlord, and the landlord was not easy to work with,'' said Dillon Hubbard, who succeeded his father in the business. "So we're very excited and feeling very positive about this change.''

Hubbard said he will continue renting four boat slips from his new landlord, Mallah, with hopes of expanding. Hubbard's now operates 12 boats out of John's Pass for charters, fishing trips, dolphin-watching and booze cruises.

"Anything you can think of on the water, we've got a boat to do it,'' Hubbard said.

Mallah has often visited and calls a "great place.''

"We feel that we can come in and do what the previous owner wasn't doing,'' he said."It's a neighborhood and tourist meeting place close to our house so it's easy to manage it.''

Mallah, who recently paid $16.5 million for a Belleair Shore mansion, said he plans to lease out the marina's 5,000 square feet of vacant retail space and add more entertainment options.

READ MORE: Developer Ben Mallah buys former Phillies slugger Ryan Howard's Pinellas home for $16.5 million

"Maybe new high- tech simulation stuff,'' he said, adding that he has also talked to a Largo company that makes amphibious vessels that can travel on both land and water.

A high school dropout turned real estate tycoon, Mallah rehabbed the Pelican Walk Plaza shopping center on Clearwater Beach and sold it last year for $14.4 million. Recent acquisitions include an LA Fitness Center in Largo.

"We're trying to get more into local retail,'' he said, "because we're local and we like working with businesses here in town.

An earlier version of this story should have shown the sellers as L C S Associates LLC.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at smartin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. The lobby bar at the Current Hotel on Rocky Point in Tampa serves eclectic cocktails and locally brewed coffee. SARA DINATALE  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Take a look inside Tampa Bay’s newest boutique hotel.
  2. The Florida Supreme Court building in Tallahassee. SCOTT KEELER  |  Times
    The Tampa Bay Partnership, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and Tampa-Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. filed a brief in the Florida Supreme Court.
  3. Tech Data's headquarters in Largo. TD AGENCY  |  Courtesy of Tech Data
    Largo’s Tech Data would be the fourth in as many years, though the potential sale seems far from a done deal.
  4. Former WTSP-Ch. 10 news anchor Reginald Roundtree, shown here with his wife Tree, filed a lawsuit Friday against his former employer alleging he was fired because of age discrimination and retaliation. [Times file] WTSP  |  FACEBOOK
    The suit comes after a federal agency took no action on age discrimination complaints he had filed.
  5. Guests of the Flying Bridge at the Tradewinds Resort, which is now under new ownership. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
    The new owner says he plans to keep its management and 1,100 employees.
  6. The University of South Florida has earned national accolades for its push to raise graduation rates. Student loan debt in Florida is so crushing that it makes it hard to afford a house.
    Staggering debt loads make it hard to buy a home.
  7. The “nakation” — aka clothing-optional tourism — is becoming one of the fastest-growing segments of the travel industry. Shirking that outer layer at nude beaches and resorts and even on clothing-optional cruises has become the vacation choice du jour for hundreds of thousands of free-spirited Americans. AP Photo/Caleb Jones
    It’s certainly bringing in big bucks in Florida, where the state’s tourism department reports that nude recreation made a $7.4 billion economic impact in the Sunshine State last year.
  8. Bay area gas prices increased by double digits since last week, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group. Pictured is a man in St. Petersburg filling up in 2017. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times (2017)] SHADD, DIRK  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Oil refineries’ seasonal maintenance, as well as wholesale gas prices, pushed prices higher.
  9. Former Morgan Stanley investment broker Ami Forte has been permanently barred from working in the broker-dealer industry as a result of thousands of improper trades that were made in the accounts of Home Shopping Network co-founder Roy Speer during the last months of his life. (AP photo | 2016) TAMARA LUSH  |  Associated Press
    Financial regulators barred brokers Ami Forte and Charles Lawrence as a result of more than 2,800 trades on Roy Speer’s accounts in 2011 and 2011.
  10. A conveyor belt takes bags of food from ghost restaurants to a room where delivery drivers pick up orders at Kitchen United's Chicago location on Aug. 29, 2019. Kitchen United, a start-up that builds kitchen commissaries for restaurants looking to enter new markets through delivery or take-out only, has plans to open 40 more kitchens in cities across the U.S. through 2020. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford) TERESA CRAWFORD  |  AP
    Owner Michael Kudrna launched the four spinoffs earlier this year in a matter of weeks as he races to keep his Chicago-area business ahead of a growing trend.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement