Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Buyer Obtains Seven Venice Storefronts

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Buyer Obtains Seven Venice Storefronts

Article excerpt

VENICE

A new landlord now owns seven commercial properties along high- profile Venice Avenue -- including one of the city's historic sites, El Patio Hotel, as well as popular stores and restaurants.

The sweeping transaction shows that investors remain bullish on pedestrian-oriented downtown Venice, where the occupancy rate has remained high and businesses are expanding.

The new owners reportedly have no plans to replace the tenants or alter the look of the business district.

"Nobody is changing anything," said Giuseppe Del Sole, owner of the Made in Italy restaurant, one of the acquired properties.

Del Sole noted that he has 11 years left on his lease.

As part of a $7.58 million deal that includes a retail building on Main Street in Sarasota, Smulron LLC -- the firm is managed by Robert J. Smullin and Cheryl Giffin, with a Nokomis post office address -- recently acquired the properties in a two-block stretch of Venice Avenue.

"These are investment properties," said Barry Seidel of American Property Group, who represented the buyers. "They are all leased."

"We negotiated it as one deal," which included a 7,000-square- foot building at 1540 Main St. in Sarasota, Seidel said.

Smulron bought the Venice and Sarasota properties from companies managed by David N. Macrae of Nokomis.

Last month, Bersam Development Co., also managed by Smullin, sold a 14,250-square-foot shopping center at 3908 S. Tamiami Trail to CMA Realty LLC, a University Park company managed by Alan Kesten. Tenants there include Scottrade, Mattress Firm, Best Buy Mobile, Supercuts, Mantra and More Space Place.

That sale motivated his clients to find new commercial properties to rent, Seidel said.

"As soon as you sell your property, your income stops," Seidel said.

The Smulron properties on Venice Avenue include one of the city's oldest structures: El Patio Hotel, which Macrae bought as part of a $2. …

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