Every day, thousands of motorists zip on and off the Howard Frankland Bridge oblivious to what could be 16 of the most valuable acres available for redevelopment in the entire Tampa Bay area.
After decades of ownership, Tampa’s L. M. Hughey Company is selling the Tampa Bay Marina complex, the adjacent Mariner Square and their aging, half-empty office buildings just off 1-275 between Kennedy Boulevard and the upscale Beach Park neighborhood. What the complexes lack in modern amenities, they make up for in sweeping bay views.
“This is the best waterfront in Tampa Bay,” says broker Ward Viator, who is marketing the sites. “Once every 50 or 60 years properties get redeveloped and we are at that point with this property.”
At a time of high demand for both Class A office space and huge waterfront homes, the 16 acres have the potential to support both. Residential developers, however, could face staff challenges from Beach Park neighbors and there is no guarantee the city would approve even single-family homes, let alone higher-density dwellings.
L.M. Hughey has not set a price, and it remains to be seen what the market will bear. But the company thinks this is an auspicious time to sell, given the properties’ location in the booming West Shore area and the easy access to St. Petersburg and downtown Tampa.
“There are no more large tracts of contiguous land in the downtown market so there definitely is a demand for 15 acres of developable land,” said Nick Ganey, a commercial real estate agent with Keller Williams. Ganey, who learned only this week that the properties were for sale, and he plans to call them to his clients’ attention.
For office developers, the sites could hold special appeal. In a recent port, Cushman & Wakefield said “intense interest” in Class A Tampa office space has boosted rents to the same levels they were before the bust. And at the end of last year, West Shore had the highest average rent — $29.29 per square foot — of any area in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
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