Sarasota Tennis Club sold – again – for $15.3m | Business Observer


SARASOTA — Two global real estate and investment firms have acquired the Bath & Racquet Club in Sarasota for $15.35 million — a price nearly triple what the 13-acre property sold for in May 2020.

The new owners intend to continue on the path of the previous owners: to create a mixed-use, living, working and playing project, while retaining some of the important features of the club. Plans include 270 residential units, in addition to commercial and retail space.

The buyers, through Sarasota Springs LLC/Forte Build, are a joint venture between Federal Finance Group and Silver Sky Global Capital, according to a statement. Federal Finance has offices in New York, London and Windermere, outside of Orlando. Silver Sky Global Capital has offices in London and New York. Kevin Robbins and Mitch Helmuth of Harry E. Robbins Associates Inc. of Sarasota negotiated the sale, working for developer Mark Lucas, who originally contracted for the property in the first quarter of 2017.

Courtesy. Kevin Robbins

The sale represents a big step in a long saga behind the Bath & Racquet Club, originally built in 1969. The club is at 2170 Robinhood St., behind a Trader Joe’s and just south of Bee Ridge Road and US 41, one of the busiest. crossroads in town.

Lucas and his development team led the club from early 2017 until February 2020. During this time Lucas and the team worked on a arduous process for new zoning and rights for the site. Lucas and his partners completed the sale of the club in May 2020 for $5.5 million. They’ve since spent at least $2 million to cover the club’s payroll, improve facilities, upgrade the fitness space, hire consultants and more, all aimed at redeveloping the site. “We are thrilled to be able to take responsibility for this historic Sarasota property and move forward with the renovations and redevelopment,” Lucas said in a statement when he purchased the site.

But Sarasota officials rejected the original rezoning request, in 2020. So Lucas, working with architect Michael Halflant and Robbins’ team acting as consultants, submitted a new plan in 2021. This new plan responded to both the concerns of the surrounding community and the city. committee – which voted 5-0 to approve it in November.

Bath & Racquet’s new zoning and redevelopment plan includes 270 residential units and 45,000 square feet of commercial/retail space, according to the release. Previous zoning had allowed just over 100 residential units and nearly 200,000 square feet of office space. “In my 35 years of development in multiple states and countries, Bath & Racquet has been one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, developments of my career,” Lucas said in the latest statement released Jan. 14. “I am delighted to see the club become a successful development.”

Robbins, a Sarasota native, grew up less than a mile from the property.

“This site is strategically located in the heart of Sarasota,” Robbins said in the release. “The Bath & Racquet has been a staple in the community for many years. Our firm was interested in getting involved in the project due to the owners’ desire to retain the tennis and fitness center as part of the overall development concept. The developer is committed to keeping the iconic bath and racket component. Other development companies just wanted to demolish.

“We are thrilled to have acquired this premier property and look forward to enhancing the community and contributing to the development of the City of Sarasota,” said Silver Sky Global Capital Founder and Chairman Fabio Di Prima. in the press release. “Our teams are already working to complete the design, architecture, engineering and permitting stages, and we expect to hit the ground by the end of 2022.”

Courtesy. Mitch Helmuth

To initiate the sale, the owners first asked Robbins and Helmuth to find a joint venture partner. Robbins and Helmuth have issued a “RFP” through their international network of trading brokers, investors and developers. The pair responded to more than 60 “legitimate interest” requests from development companies across the United States, the statement said, resulting in nearly a dozen unique offers.

“As expected, there was strong interest from local and regional development companies, as well as serious interest and offers from development companies in California, Texas, Montana, New York and in other states,” Robbins said. “This process has really illustrated the interest in the Sarasota real estate market.”

Founded in 1971, Harry E. Robbins Associates Inc. is Sarasota County’s oldest established real estate company under the same family ownership. It has 25 partners.


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