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Sarasota Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 5 years ago

City puts six parcels on the market


The city is in the process of selling six of its more valuable vacant downtown parcels.

Monday Oct. 1, city commissioners turned down a $100,000 offer on one of the lots, with Commissioner Terry Turner leading the way, saying that he wanted to see an offer closer to the $125,000 asking price.

That parcel, at the corner of U.S. 301 and 12th Street, was recently appraised at $100,000 — the same value as the offered purchase price.

Turner said he felt the offer fell short because the city had listed the parcel for $25,000 more, and he was uncomfortable with a contingency that the prospective buyer secure a business loan first.

City commissioners gave the go-ahead to a plan earlier this year to sell some city property to buffer city coffers in the face of several more years of tough budgets.

In March, the commission talked about the possibility of using profits from the sale of city land to pay down unfunded health-care costs, because it’s a broad-based category that would reduce costs for the entire employee base.

As the city moves ahead with plans to try to sell the vacant parcels downtown — most are located in the Rosemary District, which was active with redevelopment plans before the recession hit — one question remains:

Is it the best time to be selling commercial real estate?

“It’s a good time to buy,” said Dennis Dahm, manager of commercial real-estate office at Michael Saunders & Co.

But the positive side to the city selling is that the commercial market appears to be on the upswing.

“Leasing and commercial sales activity is up, and there is a tremendous amount of interest compared to a year ago,” Dahm said.

The real challenge is finding an owner for smaller pieces of property.

A city-owned parcel, located at 700 Central Ave., is under contract for $226,000 — $31,000 more than the appraised value. The higher contract price is due, in part, to that property’s prime downtown location. That parcel was originally listed for $225,000 by the city.

The commission chose the six parcels out of a list of 10 possible properties that could be sold to prospective developers. The city currently owns about 30 vacant, buildable lots throughout the city.

In all cases, the city is trying to get as close to, or above, appraised value for the properties that are on the real-estate market, said the city’s purchasing manager, Mary Tucker.

Commissioners will discuss selling a larger, more valuable parcel at 1440 Blvd. of the Arts at their Oct. 15 meeting. That property, also located in the Rosemary District, could net more than $500,000 for the city if it is sold.

At that meeting, commissioners will also discuss an invitation to negotiate with a developer who would build on the land, without transferring ownership of the property.

Property Address |  Listing Price
700 Central Ave. | $225,000
701 Cohen Way | $100,000
1869 Fourth St. |  $75,000
1007 N. East Ave. |  $40,000
2021 12th St. |  $125,000
2425 Central Ave. | $15,000

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