Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Not a Convention, but

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Not a Convention, but

Article excerpt

RV SHOWROOM: Sarasota's closed center has found someone to lease it

MANATEE COUNTY

A former Sam's Club building revamped to draw thousands to Southwest Florida meetings is now home to a business that sells vehicles for people to travel elsewhere.

La Mesa RV Center Inc., one of the nation's largest RV dealers, replaces the Sarasota-Bradenton International Convention Center, which struggled for most of a decade to attract meetings and turn a profit.

La Mesa quietly opened its fourth Florida dealership in the 120,000-square-foot facility near Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport about a month ago, and now more than 90 large campers are parked in the converted indoor showroom and on 17 surrounding acres.

"La Mesa was looking for a position on the West Coast and a nice inside space that would be comfortable for customers in the summer," said Peter Bartys, an agent with the Sperry Van Ness Commercial Advisory Group, in Sarasota, who handled the lease.

"They can get a good number of big RVs inside that building. …

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