Real estate professionals share projects they’re watching in 2024

Hillsborough | Manatee | Sarasota

Real estate is a fascinating industry to follow, especially with the robust activity in the Tampa Bay region. There are a lot of moving parts to projects; timelines get pushed back, construction can completely come to a halt, financing can fall through, etc. 

While I find real estate incredibly interesting, try as I might, I can’t keep up with it all. But, I do know who to turn to and ask for help. When in doubt, call your friends.

I asked some friends of Tampa Bay Business and Wealth’s ecosystem “What should our readers know and what projects should they be paying attention to?” 

In their own words, here are the projects they say you should be watching. 

HILLSBOROUGH 

EXPERT:
Joanne LeBlanc,
vice president at Colliers

MIDTOWN EAST

On the development front, there is only one office building under construction and that is Midtown East. Midtown East is an 18-story, Class A, office building located in the Westshore submarket of Tampa. The building is being developed by Highwoods Properties and Bromley Companies. 

Midtown East

Insight Global, an international staffing firm based in Atlanta, signed a lease for 20,000 square feet in Midtown East, in October 2023. The company plans to move from its current space to its new space, in 2025. 

Tampa Electric and People’s Gas is also moving into Midtown East, occupying 11 stories. 

With the TECO deal and the lease with Insight Global, that leaves only about four floors available for that building.

AER

AER (Arts and Entertainment Residences) is expected to be the tallest residential tower, in downtown Tampa, at 31 stories high with 334 luxury rental units. Located at 300 W. Tyler Avenue, the building will have an additional 13,688 square feet of retail space on its ground floor. It’s expected to be complete in spring of 2024. 

GAS WORX

Gas Worx, a project being developed by Darryl Shaw and Kettler, based in Washington D.C., will be Tampa’s first transit-oriented, mixed-use, development. Located on the TECO Street Car Line and Selmon Greenway, the development will include 5,000 residential units, 500,000 square feet of office space and 140,000 square feet of retail space. 

In 2023, Grow Financial Federal Credit Union signed a lease for 50,000 square feet to move its headquarters to Gas Worx. 

SARASOTA AND MANATEE

Experts:
 Jag Grewal and Steve Horn, partners at Ian Black Real Estate

THE QUAY (Pictured above)

The Quay is a 14-acre, mixed-use development under construction in downtown Sarasota, with 475 feet of linear frontage along the marina, adjacent to Sarasota Bay. This waterfront district is notable both in terms of its size and in that it represents a project rising from the ashes of the Great Recession, during which this piece of land went into foreclosure then languished until The Quay project was born. This rare swath of land is, perhaps, the largest contiguous piece of land on the bayfront in downtown Sarasota, with a slew of retail and housing options.

The district will include The Ritz-Carlton Residences (the first of the two towers is already complete); Bayso Sarasota, a luxury condo building that’s also been delivered; Cordelia by LMC, luxury apartments that are topping off this month; One Park, a condo community expected to begin construction this year; an Ocean Prime location (currently under construction) and additional residential, hotel, office and entertainment space. 

This project is Sarasota’s version of Chicago’s Millennium Park.

MOTE MARINE’S NEW AQUARIUM

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is under construction with a new Mote Science Education Aquarium (Mote SEA), at Nathan Benderson Park, near I-75, in Sarasota, just south of University Town Center. 

Mote Marine Construction

The organization has said that, compared to its current City Island site, it expects to double its annual visitation at the new site. The current site is 60,000 square feet, while the new location – which is shaped like a ship – will be 111,000 square feet and have capacity to host a million visitors annually.

This $130 million project will be a massive draw to the area.

DOWNTOWN BRADENTON

Bradenton is not usually considered a growing urban city, but that’s really changing. Last year, the City of Bradenton sold its City Hall property, which is located on prime waterfront property along the Manatee River, in downtown Bradenton. We expect that area to be redeveloped and, while we don’t know specific plans, I’m sure it will make the best use of the waterfront. This will be transformative for the city, because it’s really the best piece of real estate in Bradenton.

Our brokers have also worked on deals last year that signal the revitalization of downtown Bradenton. Investors are seeing the appeal of the area and opportunities to renovate and redevelop here.

Residents are also watching where Bradenton’s City Hall will relocate. Recently, an architect presented plans to the city for an $18-million project to redevelop an existing building, to start this summer, once the location for the new City Hall is finalized.

ST. REGIS LONGBOAT KEY RESORT

Construction is nearing completion for the St. Regis Longboat Key Resort, with opening expected this summer. It’s the only St. Regis property opening in the United States, this year.

The resort is large – its facilities span 18 acres of land, including an 800-foot private beach. It includes 168 guest rooms, a series of pools with cabanas, a 20,000-square-foot St. Regis Spa, overlooking the water, and a four-acre saltwater lagoon populated with stingrays, turtles and tropical fish.

Their goal is to make the St. Regis the first Forbes Five Star resort on the Gulf Coast. It is a big deal for residents of Sarasota, who have been here a while, as it was built on the former Colony Tennis and Beach Resort. That resort hosted many celebrities, including Dustin Hoffman, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Bobby Riggs, Tommy and Dick Smothers, George Bush, Marvin Hamlisch, Angela Bassett, James Taylor, Johnny Unitas, and more. 

The site has a tremendous past that is being reimagined.♦

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