Multi-Family properties currently available on the Gulf Coast of Florida (7/22/15)

Multi-Family properties currently available on the Gulf Coast of Florida (7/22/15).

Sarasota-Manatee Tourism: From Europe, with love

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British transplant Mark Toomey owns Robin Hood Rentals on Siesta Key.

 PHOTO by/ NICK ADAMS

By Dale White
Year after year, the Sarasota-Manatee region has been shattering its own records for attracting European tourists and 2015 appears to be no exception.

From 2010 through 2014, the numbers of Europeans patronizing area lodgings, restaurants and attractions from Anna Maria Island to Venice climbed by more than 50 percent – from more than 125,350 to more than 188,500. Reports from the first quarter of this year already show that foreign visitor count up 7.3 percent compared with the same three-month period of 2014. And the bulk of European visitors expected for this year are still two or more months away from making landfall.

Those year-over-year increases do not come by chance. Visit Sarasota County and the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau credit a strategy that promotes this area as a destination for travelers from the United Kingdom and central European countries such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland. That strategy calls for targeted advertising and making connections with travel agencies most Europeans rely on. The strategy continues to work, even when the exchange rate is not in the dollar’s favor.

CLICK HERE <—– For complete article

Cash buyers still dominate housing market

By  via Herald Tribune. com

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Cash on the table remains the preferred method of payment for homebuyers in Southwest Florida.

Buyers paid cash for 54 percent of all residential real estate purchased in Sarasota and Manatee counties in May, real estate Researcher RealtyTrac said Wednesday.

The two-county region ranked second among major U.S. metropolitan areas for the highest share of cash buyers of single-family homes and condominiums.

Cash buyers have dominated the Sarasota-Manatee real estate market for several years, even leading the nation for the top share in April.

But no-loan buying has actually slowed down, as 58.1 percent of home sales were closed with cash in May 2014.

Nationwide, all-cash buying dropped to 24.6 percent in May, its lowest level since November 2009, RealtyTrac reported.

Locally, Realtors say smaller investors have become key players in home sales while large institutional investors — who commanded the market during its early rebound — have stepped back.

Retiring baby boomers who have sold homes up North also are paying cash for homes here.

“As housing transitions from an investor-driven, cash-is-king market to one more dependent on traditional buyers, sales volume has been increasing over the last few months and is on track in 2015 to hit the highest level we’ve seen since 2006,” said RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist.

Institutional investors — those that buy at least 10 properties a year — accounted for just 1.7 percent of home and condo sales in Sarasota-Manatee in May, down from 4.8 percent one year earlier.

For complete article and others, CLICK  HERE <——-

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge K. Rodney May will allow a $23 million judgment auction to the Colony’s Trustee to move forward later this summer.

The Colony

by: Kurt Schultheis

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge K. Rodney May approved an emergency motion from Colony Beach & Tennis Resort Chapter 7 Trustee William Maloney this afternoon that allows him to move forward with bids and an auction for a $23 million judgment against unit owners this summer.

Maloney, who doesn’t foresee a settlement among Colony parties, and his attorney, Jordi Gusso, urged May to move forward with procedures that could lead to an August auction of a judgment that longtime Colony owner Dr. Murray “Murf” Klauber won on appeal against unit owners.

Maloney seeks to sell the judgment to Unicorp National Development President Chuck Whittall, which offered $3.5 million for the judgment, or a higher bidder with a better offer at auction. Maloney and Whittall, who already submitted a $200,000 deposit for his offer, have already signed a contract for the judgment.

“In the face of a $3.5 million cash offer, it’s appropriate to bring this forward to you,” Gusso said.

Gusso asked for a bid process for other parties to compete with Whittall’s offer that included the following parameters: an all-cash offer and a deposit that would amount to 10% of the amount of the total bid. The first available bid above Unicorp’s, Gusso said, should be set at $3.6 million.

For complete article, CLICK HERE <——

Your Grocery Store May Soon Be Cut in Half

via Money

tara bay CC sunset - by Richard Bottorff

Many grocers known for the gigantic mega-supercenter shopping experience are trying out store models shrunk down to the size of the old neighborhood market.

@bradrtuttle

For decades, the average American supermarket’s size evolved similarly to the average American’s weight: It grew and grew. Lately, though, many grocers known for gigantic mega-supercenters are trying out store models shrunk down to the size of the old neighborhood market.

A few years back, the average size of a grocery store was measured at over 45,000 square feet, up from 35,000 square feet in the mid-’90s. The supersizing of supermarkets may have come to an end, however. The shrinking of grocery stores has been a noticeable trend in recent years. Chains such as Aldi and Trader Joe’s, which both operate stores typically under 20,000 square feet—and which both happen to be owned by the same German company—have been extremely successful, opening new locations left and right. Walmart, the ultimate big-box megachain, has stepped up efforts to expand its small store formats, especially in urban neighborhoods, to compete not only with local grocers but dollar stores as well.

Plenty of other big names in groceries are also now jumping on the small-store trend. The Orlando Business Journal reported that Publix, which runs supermarkets as big as 60,000 square feet, mostly in the South, is working on a store prototype in the neighborhood of 20,000 square feet.RetailWire noted that several other large—and typically large-sized—supermarket brands, including Kroger and Hy-Vee, are also launching or expanding mini-grocery stores.

Last fall, Kroger opened three 7,500-foot-square-sized stores operating under the name Turkey Hill Market in the Columbus, Ohio, area. The markets are a fraction of the size of the typical Kroger (67,000 square feet), and it’s being presented as a cross between a convenience store and a supermarket. Hy-Vee opened a 14,000-square-footer under the “Hy-Vee Mainstreet” concept in Iowa in mid-April.

For the complete article, CLICK HERE <—–

Publix may be considering smaller stores

Publix may be considering smaller stores

By John Ceballos
Halifax Media Group

LAKELANDRumors of Publix Super Markets Inc. launching a smaller-scale version of its successful grocery stores have resurfaced.

Representatives from the Lakeland-based chain met with city of Gainesville planning staff members — including the planning manager, Ralph Hilliard — about constructing a smaller-concept prototype near the University of Florida campus, according to a report in The Gainesville Sun.

Publix spokesman Brian West declined to comment specifically on the development or imminent debut of a smaller store.

“We continually evaluate our store prototypes and market area opportunities,” West said. “There are many factors considered in site selection and choosing the appropriate prototype for the site.”

The Tampa Bay Business Journal reported in October that Publix was developing a design for a 20,000-square-foot store in Charlotte, North Carolina.

West said the average Publix store is about 45,000 square feet, and the chain’s current smallest location is 27,000 square feet.

The proposed site — 201 NW 13th St., Gainesville — is presently occupied by the city’s first McDonald’s, which opened in 1968. According to The Gainesville Sun report, McDonald’s officials are in the process of relocating the restaurant.

If Publix does debut a smaller-store prototype in the near future, the company would be joining a growing trend in the supermarket industry.

CLICK HERE for complete article <——

Sean Dreznin & Jag Grewal from Ian Black complete the sale of a property near the new Wal-mart on Bee Ridge Rd & Beneva.

Sean Dreznin & Jag Grewal from Ian Black complete the sale of 4020 S. Beneva Rd, near the new Wal-mart on Bee Ridge Rd & Beneva.

The property at 4020 S Beneva Rd was sold for $1.3 million by Sean Dreznin & Jag Grewal of Ian Black Real Estate.  Sean & Jag represented Seller & Buyer, respectively.

Sold by Sean Dreznin for $1.3 million

Sold by Sean Dreznin for $1.3 million

Sean Dreznin from Ian Black Real Estate sells another investment property! 1739 Siesta Dr in Sarasota, FL

Sean Dreznin from Ian Black Real Estate sells another investment property! 1739 Siesta Dr in Sarasota, FL.

Cheers to the Tampa Bay Lightning, as they take game 3, 6 to 5 in OT.

Cheers to the Tampa Bay Lightning, as they take game 3, 6 to 5 in OT.

Has traffic affected tourism in Sarasota County?

Has traffic affected tourism in Sarasota County?

NYC pic by J. Parisi (C)

Congestion pic by J. Parisi (C)

by: Alex Mahadevan Digital Editor via yourobserver.com

Traffic woes again surfaced during a local government meeting Tuesday, with Sarasota County officials downplaying the effect it has on the local tourism industry.

“Do we have traffic problems? Yes. Do we need to continue to work on it? Yes,” said Commissioner Christine Robinson. “But, the comments that tourists are beginning to shy away from Sarasota simply aren’t true.”

Robinson said she looks forward to working on traffic problems, but said the “rumor mill” she’s heard at community and government meetings about gridlock crippling regional tourism weren’t true. And that amplifying those comments could actually hurt the tourism sector in the long run.

“We have had occasional complaints, but they have had more to do with parking ticket issues,” said Visit Sarasota County President Virginia Haley, who was presenting the Tourist Development Council’s annual report.

According to visitor profiles complied by the Visit Sarasota County for the first quarter of this year, 97% of tourists polled were satisfied with their trips and 93% of respondents said they would return to the region again. While Haley expected to get dinged this year due to traffic, those numbers did not fall compared with the same timeframe in 2014.

Gridlock doesn’t have a profound affect on visitors because they aren’t in a hurry to get to work or drop their kids off at school, Haley said. And when traffic backs up on the Ringling Bridge or through St. Armands Circle, the views of Sarasota Bay and surrounding areas are pleasant sights.

“It’s not a terrible experience,” Haley said.

But, Haley said it will be important to explore new ways of moving tourists throughout the county, citing ideas for more trolleys or water taxis as potential transportation options.

For complete article, CLICK HERE <—–