LAKEWOOD RANCH -- The former home of Gemesis Corp.'s diamond company has been purchased for $1.8 million by a Sarasota real estate development company.
The Starling Group has purchased the industrial building in Lakewood Ranch from SITC Inc., a company owned by Half Acre Construction of Sarasota.
The 61,100-square-foot building is at 7040 Professional Parkway E.
"We plan to do some minor upgrades and then we'll be leasing it," said Fred Starling, owner of The Starling Group.
The building has been sitting empty for more than 18 months since Gemesis moved in 2011 to smaller quarters at Portal Crossing in Lakewood Ranch. Gemesis makes and sells diamonds, but during the recession, its sales suffered and it was forced to cut back its staff.
Starling said the building, which is air-conditioned and has back-up generators and about 10,000 square feet of finished office space, would be ideal for a manufacturer. Since 1981, the Starling Group has been involved in the real estate industry handling acquisitions, planning, design, construction, sales, leasing, marketing and management. The company has completed more than $500 million in real estate development.
Anthony Mazzucca, withNAI Manasota, a commercial real estate firm in Lakewood Ranch, said he is seeing an uptick in the leasing and sale of commercial buildings.
"We are seeing a surge of interest as companies decide to expand and look at areas like Florida where there is less rules and regulations," Mazzucca said.
He said he expects commercial property sales and leasing will continue to climb in 2013.
Gemesis had opened in 2002 in Lakewood Ranch after spending six years in trial-and-error experimentation to perfect diamond-growing technology originally developed in Russia.