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Central Plaza sells for $5.1M in St. Pete’s opportunity zone

Veronica Brezina

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Central Plaza. Photo by: Courtesy of Franklin Street

The Central Plaza Shopping Center along Central Avenue has a new owner.

The 19,016-square-foot plaza, at 3270 Central Ave., sold in a roughly $5.1 million deal between the seller California-based Brbrshy Investments and the buyer Charles Githler, who is the President and CEO of Sarasota-based Githler Development Inc.

Franklin Street arranged the sale of the property, which is fully occupied by seven tenants. The property is located along Central Avenue and falls within a qualified opportunity zone, which allows investors to qualify for tax incentives in exchange for generating economic development activity in certain areas.

Franklin Street’s Retail Investment Sales Team of Anthony Suarez and Ryan Derriman represented the seller, a California-based private investor, in the sale. The buyer is a local investor who owns several other multi-tenant properties throughout Florida.

“The buyer was interested in low maintenance, established asset with in-place income and strong return on investment potential,” Derriman told the St. Pete Catalyst in a prepared statement. He said the buyer doesn’t have any plans for redevelopment at this time and will continue to operate as usual.

Central Plaza’s tenants. Photo by: Courtesy of Franklin Street

“Central Plaza presented the opportunity to acquire a stable, low maintenance asset with strong in-place income and an excellent tenant mix,” said Suarez in a news release. “This property is well-positioned for continued success, and rents will be easy to replace if needed in the future, especially with a discount retailer.”

The current net-leased tenants have an average tenure of over 22 years. Tenants include Rent-A-Center, Amscot and Rainbow Clothing. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the retail industry, the plaza remained fully occupied.

“The nearby growth will only impact the property positively. As newer and nicer residential developments are delivered to the area, the local customer base will become denser and have more disposable income than the current local demographic,” Derriman said.

“This shopping center is in a prime position to increase the current rents, as well as potentially curate a new tenant mix to better serve the changing neighborhood over time.”

Built in the early 1950s, Central Plaza was the first regional shopping center in the area, and the first commercial threat to downtown St. Petersburg businesses, and dominated until Tyrone Square Mall opened in 1972.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Brian Fornuto

    June 15, 2021at1:50 pm

    Hey Veronica, random question. In the article it states, “the buyer doesn’t have any plans for redevelopment at this time and will continue to operate as usual.” As part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, in order to maintain a qualified opportunity zone investment, the investment has to include some type of substantial improvement to the property as a reinvestment. The act defines substantial improvement as a
    reinvestment into the QOZ property equal to the property’s initial acquisition cost, within a 30-month timeframe. For example, if someone acquires an existing property in a QOZ for $5 million, the QOF
    has 30 months to invest an additional $5 million in improvements to that property. There’s a couple nuances to that rule but ultimately they need to ‘enhance’ the property. Otherwise, the property will not qualify for the preferential tax treatment. Was there any discussion about how they plan to enhance the property.

    • Veronica Brezina

      Veronica Brezina

      June 15, 2021at2:37 pm

      Hi Brian, that’s a very good question. They did not specify any improvements at this time and I do not want to speculate. You do bring up a valid point and I will be sure to follow up with my sources regarding that concern.

  2. Avatar

    Asia Katara

    June 15, 2021at3:45 pm

    I love the information and being informed about the latest that is happening around our community. I have an interest in this statement alone “new tenant mix to better serve the changing neighborhood over time.” I’ve lived in this area of town for about 25 years and the idea of it now becoming a greater mix is interesting to say the least. I can only imagine what types of tenants will be here since the area is now becoming so wealthy, to put it mildly. It’s just amazes me that Socioeconomic is what qualifies if quality businesses or homes are brought to lower social class areas. It’s just a comment oh the wonderful changes that are happening to the southern region of the city. Again thanks for sharing.

  3. Avatar

    SilentFlute

    June 15, 2021at11:55 pm

    Interesting dialogue. Awaiting answers .

  4. Avatar

    Sallie Lowell

    June 16, 2021at5:58 pm

    Awwww. Does anyone remember Wolfie’s?

  5. Avatar

    FELIX FUDGE

    June 16, 2021at8:30 pm

    Yes, i ate at wolfies several times with my parents, I was very young. The sandwiches were always double what i could eat.

  6. Avatar

    Jody

    June 16, 2021at9:10 pm

    Sure I remember Wolfie’s Restaurant and Pub. Until recently I actually owned 4 of the original red velvet, deep tufted, bar stools from the pub and the entire record album collection from the time in the 80s when it was a disco.

  7. Avatar

    lsu2fan

    June 21, 2021at3:22 pm

    I worked at Kinney Shoes and my manager and I ate breakfast at Wolfie’s almost every day.

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