Southwest Florida Roundup
Ybor City's Gas Worx project plans to develop homes, retail and office space on former site of Peoples Gas
For the last several years, much of downtown Tampa’s redevelopment focus has been on Water Street, the $3.5-billion, 70-acre mixed-use project from Strategic Property Partners, a partnership between Tampa’s Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment.
Now, less than two miles away in Ybor City, there’s another massive project in the works: Gas Worx, from Tampa real estate investor Darryl Shaw and Washington, D.C.- based real estate developer Kettler. On a site that once housed a Peoples Gas storage facility and other industrial buildings, the 40-plus-acre development is planned to have as many as 5,000 homes, including 325 categorized as affordable, as well as 500,000 square feet of office space and 150,000 square feet of retail space.
Shaw, a native of South Africa who co-founded Blue-Pearl, a veterinary hospital chain, has spent an estimated $70 million since 2014 accumulating the land. He also owns other properties around Ybor City, including a former Kforce headquarters campus that has been mentioned as a possible site of a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays. The team’s lease to play home games at St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field expires in 2027, and it’s unclear where the Rays will play after that.
Hurricane Ian made landfall near Fort Myers as a Category 4 storm on Sept. 28, leaving behind a trail of destruction and death. The storm decimated Fort Myers Beach (above) and destroyed Pine Island Road (left) in Matlacha Isles west of Fort Myers. Ian registered among the highest wind speeds in U.S. history and struck in nearly the same spot where Hurricane Charley, also a Category 4, caused major damage in 2004. Donations to help support Ian’s victims and the recovery effort can be made to the Florida Disaster Fund, the state’s official support effort. Learn more at volunteerflorida.org/donatefdf.
- St. Petersburg-based Climate First Bank hired 12, bringing its employee total to 48.
- KnowBe4, the Clearwater cybersecurity and security awareness training firm, has created KnowBe4 Ventures, a venture capital company, to invest in cybersecurity startups. KnowBe4 Ventures, in partnership with cybersecurity venture firms Elephant and Ten Eleven Ventures, will target its investments in companies focused on the human error aspect of cybersecurity. “The majority of these attacks target the human, so it is important to support founders taking on the challenge of improving security culture and accelerating the importance of securing the human layer,” says Stu Sjouwerman, KnowBe4’s CEO.
- Plans call for a more than 800,000-sq.-ft. industrial park to be built on 72 acres in Fort Myers. The developer, Square Mile Capital Management, says it secured $97.5 million in financing for construction. The park will be called Tri County 75.
- Harrod Properties has built a $15-million, 130,000-sq.-ft. industrial building in Oldsmar.
- Switzerland-based health care company Inpeco is opening a 2,650-sq.-ft. foot regional headquarters at the University of South Florida’s Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS). The Swiss company makes lab automation systems. The office will employ 15. “Our upcoming partnership with CAMLS is a true synergy of disciplines and common vision of innovating and improving delivery of care,” says Maricel Roberts, Inpeco’s president and managing director of the Americas region.
- Tampa’s BeniComp Health Solutions, which develops wellness programs for employers, plans to create 100 jobs through 2025. Winter Haven-based Assure Infusions plans to build a $20-million, 60,000-sq.-ft. facility in Bartow, where it will manufacture sterile intravenous fluids. The plant will employ 100.
- Construction is underway on Trevesta Place, a 256-unit apartment complex in Palmetto, Manatee County. The first of the apartments — which will be divided among six, four-story buildings — should be completed by April 2023. Aventon, a North Carolina-based developer, has proposed building a 348-unit apartment complex on the site of the former Sarasota Kennel Club dog racing track near the Sarasota- Bradenton International Airport.
- Key International of Miami plans to build a 324-unit apartment complex near Gandy Boulevard in north St. Petersburg. Construction is expected to start next year.
- Halstatt Real Estate Partners of Naples has started construction on Altair by Soltura, 160-unit rental community in Fort Myers. Each of the two-story, single-family units will have a back yard and outdoor patio space. A 12-story rental tower has been proposed for downtown Bradenton. Nine20 Manatee is planned to have 137 units with rents starting at $1,300 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,600 for a two-bedroom unit.
- Clearwater-based boating retailer MarineMax is buying IGY Marinas, a Fort Lauderdale marina company, for $480 million. IGY’s portfolio includes 23 marinas in the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe.
- New York real estate firm Feil Organization bought the Wells Fargo Center, a 22-story office building in downtown Tampa, for $120 million. The seller was Feldman Equities of Tampa.
- Amazon spent $6.2 million to purchase a 70-acre parcel in Hernando County. The land is adjacent to the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport and is suitable for a warehouse.
- Wisconsin-based phone captioning services company Captel Service Specialists plans to cut 160 jobs at its Tampa facility.