HUDSON — A former auto salvage yard in Hudson now is one of the most expensive real estate purchases in Pasco County this year.
The 40 acres at 8838 Bolton Ave., site of the recently opened IAA — Insurance Auto Auctions, sold in October for just less than $13.89 million. That makes it one of only seven transactions to top $12 million in 2018, according to the Pasco Property Appraiser's Office.
The new owner is an Arizona-based real estate investment trust, VEREIT Real Estate, which also owns the Mister Car Wash on U.S. 19 in Hudson. Its other Tampa Bay area holdings include two commercial properties in Tampa anchored by LA Fitness gyms and 70 acres in Ruskin that is home to the Amazon fulfillment center. The trust closed on that $103 million transaction in 2016.
The price tag for the Bolton Avenue property raised eyebrows in local real estate circles.
"It's a baffling sale and it doesn't make any sense at all,'' said Greg Armstrong of Coldwell Banker F.I. Grey & Son Residential Inc.
Property Appraiser Gary Joiner had appraised the land and modular building at $936,845. The surrounding land in rural Hudson includes industrial sites and a pair of travel trailer parks.
"It may be a boost to that area in Hudson, and maybe that's a good boost for the west side,'' said Joiner.
"I think it bodes well for Hudson,'' agreed Commissioner Jack Mariano, whose district includes the property.
The sale doesn't affect the auction business, which began holding sales in September. The Hudson site is its 11th in Florida.
"Tampa is one of the fastest growing metro areas in the U.S., and this expansion into the North Tampa market will help us continue to provide superior customer service in an updated auction environment to our Florida customers," said John Kett, CEO and president of IAA - Insurance Auto Auctions.
An unanswered question is how the property's sale price will affect the value of comparably sized and zoned parcels, known commonly as "comps.''
"It could screw up the comps for years to come for anybody trying to sell property up there,'' said Armstrong.
Joiner, however, wasn't so sure.
"We don't have anything up there to compare it to,'' he said. "It wouldn't be fair to anybody else.''
The property formerly was the site of Pasco Auto Salvage owned by Frank McKinley, Joel Kehrer and Giolio Brevario. A decade after Brevario's death, McKinley, Kehrer and Brevario's widow, Virginia, sold the land in 2015 for $400,000.
The buyer then, WKH Development LLC, is headed by Greg Weaver, owner of Clearwater Auto Recycling. Weaver's company improved the property at an estimated cost of $1.57 million, according to county building permits. It leased it to Insurance Auto Auctions under a 20-year agreement before selling the site to VEREIT Real Estate last month. The sale price likely includes the expected income from that lease. The land now includes a 9,000-square-foot metal building and a fenced asphalt and graded lot sitting beneath acres of damaged vehicles to be auctioned.
"Interesting,'' said former owner Virginia Brevario of Hudson. "I had no idea it could go for that much.''
The other real estate sales topping $12 million this year include two hotels, an adult living facility, two apartment complexes and a travel trailer park. The list does not include Lennar's purchase of former Bexley family property in Land O' Lakes, because that included multiple transactions.
Contact C.T. Bowen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 435-7306. Follow @CTBowen2.