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Sarasota County buys energy-efficient office building on Fruitville

The building previously won the "Design Award of Excellence" from the Florida chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
The building previously won the "Design Award of Excellence" from the Florida chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
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Sarasota County has purchased the former CAN Community Health headquarters in Sarasota, a prominent, sleek, glass office building on Fruitville Road about halfway between Interstate 75 and downtown Sarasota.

The county paid just under $12 million for the property and the 23,192-square-foot office building, according to Kevin Robbins with Harry E. Robbins Associates Inc. 

Robbins and his brother Derek Robbins represented the seller, CAN Community Health. CAN has a focus on helping people with HIV, Hepatitis C, STDs and other diseases. It has moved its headquarters space to Ybor City in Tampa.

The county’s purchase, according to a statement from the brokerage, includes the two-story commercial structure as well as 1.9 acres to the east, bordering Tree Road and formerly occupied by the Julie Rohr Academy. A county spokesperson wasn't available Wednesday evening to comment on the purchase; Kevin Robbins said he believes the county will use the space for the supervisor of elections office. 

“The fact that such a beautiful and high-profile location will be utilized by Sarasota County is really encouraging,” Derek Robbins said in the release. “The office building is practical and versatile, but it’s also visually stunning outside and in, with floor-to-ceiling windows and some great views. We’re really happy to have helped make this happen for Sarasota.”

Tampa-based Alfonso Architects designed the energy-efficient building in 2003, and it's a past winner of the "Design Award of Excellence" from the Florida chapter of the American Institute of Architects. CAN paid $4.8 million for the property and the 3 acres surrounding it in 2018. 

Before that the building was occupied by two other entities: Corporate photography firm Photo-Tech, which developed the property 21 years ago, and then Cast Retail, a company that handled secret shopping for clients worldwide. That company, under the name Orr Enterprises of SRQ LLC, sold the building to CAN in 2018, according to Sarasota County property records. 

“This is a fantastic property highlighted by this beautiful piece of modern architecture,” Kevin Robbins said in the statement. “It’s a great purchase and it represents an environmentally conscious, forward-thinking local government.” 

The Robbins Team was initially engaged to evaluate and list the undeveloped 4.17-acre site on the corner of Fruitville and McIntosh. This property is predominantly considered a development site for retail, office or multifamily, the brokerage said.

In the marketing process, CAN expressed an interest in relocating its corporate office and vacating the headquarters. The Robbins Team evaluated the entire eight acres, including the headquarters building, as a bulk sale. Ultimately, Sarasota County pursued an acquisition of the headquarters building and the additional 1.9 acre site to the east of the building. 

The 4.17-acre parcel remains on the market —what the brokerage called “one of the last available undeveloped sites on Fruitville Road west of I-75.”

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