Investment group buys Regions Bank building in North Naples

A Regions Bank building in North Naples is the latest buy for Halstatt Real Estate Partners, a local investment group.

The group is a private equity fund, sponsored by the Halstatt Partnership, the real estate operating and investment arm of the Sproul family. The Sprouls are part of the Barron Collier family, which has deep community and business roots in Naples.

The 50,000-square-foot bank building — at 4851 U.S. 41 North, south of Pine Ridge Road near the Outback Steakhouse — fetched $9.5 million. It's the sixth investment for Halstatt Real Estate Partners in Southwest Florida since May 2011.

"It's a high-quality building in a fantastic location, with a great tenant base," said Bobby Sullivan, managing member of the Naples investment group.

The four-story building wasn't officially for sale, but the opportunity to buy it was brought to Halstatt a few months ago. The seller was not in financial trouble and the purchase price shows it, said David Stevens, a partner in Naples-based Investment Properties Corp., who negotiated the deal for the buyer.

"The sale represents yet another step toward economic stabilization in the local commercial real estate market," he said. "I would not consider this sale to be like many over the last few years — a distressed sale. This was simply a well-located, attractive building that investors felt was a good building with good financial potential."

The building went for about $190 a square foot.

"They didn't get into a forced situation where they were selling in a marketplace that was in the low $100s or $150s even this time last year," Stevens said.

The seller was CFC Partnership. Raymond DeAngelis, with RDI of Naples, represented the seller. He could not be reached for comment.

"The building is about 75 percent occupied and we're already talking with some interested parties on some of the available space," Sullivan said. "The building is in good shape and that was one of the things that made it interesting to us."

Minor improvements are planned, including updating signs, he said.

Halstatt Real Estate Partners' growing portfolio now includes several shopping centers: the Uptown east of Sam's Club off Immokalee Road and Tanglewood off U.S. 41, anchored by Outback. Other investments include the Del Prado Mall in Cape Coral and the partnership has purchased two residential properties, the Traditions inside the gated Grey Oaks golf community off Airport-Pulling Road and Waterside at Bay Beach, where it purchased 19 condominiums in a bulk sale along with a pad for another 58-unit high-rise tower.

"Our plans for the pad are to be determined," Sullivan said. "We could sell it or build it and develop it ourselves."

The investment group is looking for more properties to buy, both residential and commercial.

"We've invested about half of our available capital," Sullivan said.

The group, he said, targets opportunities in the $5 million to $20 million range.

"We see lots of opportunities on a weekly basis and we expect there to be a pipeline of opportunities for the next year and a half or so," Sullivan said.

Those opportunities won't just be in Southwest Florida.

"We have been busy in our own backyard," Sullivan said. "So we haven't spent as much time in other markets yet. But we are actually looking at other markets inside the state of Florida, for similar opportunities."

The fund's partners include "a few select institutional investment firms," which are pooling their money for the purchase of property, Sullivan said.

"They are part owners in the projects and they share in the fortunes of the funds, be they positive or negative," he said.

The fund will partner with developers of new projects "if and when appropriate," Sullivan said.

The sponsors of the fund, the Halstatt Partnership, developed Grey Oaks and owns the LaPlaya Beach Resort. The Sproul family co-owns the Barron Collier Cos., but Halstatt is not associated with that company, whose roots trace back to Barron Gift Collier Sr., the founder of Collier County.

In the coming months, Stevens said he expects to see more traditional sales like the Regions Bank building, which will give further evidence to a recovery in the commercial real estate market.

However, he said, there are still challenging spots in the marketplace, pointing to the recent sale of the troubled Promenade shopping center in Bonita Springs, which sold for $5 million in an online auction. In his eyes, the price paid was the value of the land alone.

"There are still Promenades out there," Stevens said. "There are still product, property and situations that are awaiting their cure."

Connect with Laura Layden at www.naplesnews.com/staff/laura_layden

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