Benderson park attracts Classic Cars of Sarasota, robotics company

Herald Business ReportersJanuary 1, 2014 


A little over seven months after starting construction of its SRQ Commerce Park, University Park-based Benderson Development has leased all but 19,000 square feet out of 233,000 in two buildings.


SOUTH MANATEE -- A classic car restoration shop and automation robotics company are among the latest tenants that will fill a new Benderson Development commercial park slated to open in two weeks.

Classic Cars of Sarasota has signed a 10-year lease for a new 19,875-square-foot showroom for its vintage muscle cars that it buys, sells and consigns in the new SRQ Commerce Park off U.S. 301 on 25th Court East, according to lease documents filed in Manatee County Circuit Court. The dealership has been in business since 1977 and has recently operated on McIntosh Road in Sarasota. The lease includes one five-year renewal option.

Robotics company RND Automation & Engineering from Sarasota also signed a five-year lease with one five-year renewal option for 11,500 square feet of space in the new commercial park, according to court documents. The company makes robots used to automate assembly, welding, packing, measuring and indexing processes, according to its website.

When opened, SRQ Commerce Park will be Manatee's

newest Class A commercial park, featuring 233,000 square feet of space. University Park-based Benderson Development is about 2 1/2 months behind schedule on opening the second of four buildings in its SRQ Commerce Park at the intersection of 77th Avenue East and U.S. 301.

But that hasn't slowed demand from tenants, who have signed up to lease all but 19,000 square feet in the sprawling, semi-trailer friendly buildings.

Larry Fineberg, Benderson's executive director for industrial, office and warehouse space, said up to a half -dozen subcontractors and 50 construction workers are pushing to get the park's second building finished by mid-January. A rainy summer slowed construction, leading to the late finish date.

The 150,000-square-foot building will be home to Berry Plastics, a Evansville, Ind.-based plastic food container manufacturer. The company, which produces bottlecaps for Tropicana among other clients, signed a lease with Benderson in May.

Omicron Granite, a stone importer with 11 showroom and distribution locations in Florida, is the only other tenant that has publicly announced its intention to move into SRQ Commerce Park. The company has started moving into about 20,000 square feet in the north end of an 83,000 square-foot building at the development. Construction finished on that building late last year.

The development has attracted more manufacturing operations and showrooms than Benderson anticipated when it started building. The buildings' 28- to 30-foot interior ceilings and dock-height truck bays are ideal for warehousing and distribution use, Fineberg said, so getting manufacturing in the buildings was a bonus.

"More manufacturing means more good-paying jobs," he said.

Benderson will start construction on a third, 110,000-square-foot building on the property "as soon as possible," Fineberg said. He expects to have no trouble quickly leasing that space, as well as another 15,000-square-foot building to be started around the same time.

Benderson's Class A properties are leasing better than the county average for industrial space. According to figures assembled by Janet Robinson, the commercial property director for Coldwell Banker Commercial's Sarasota-Manatee-Charlotte region, countywide vacancies were at 11 percent during the third quarter of 2013.

Benderson's other Class A Manatee County property, the 687,000-square-foot Sarasota-Bradenton Commerce Center, is only 7 percent vacant.

Class A buildings command the top rents in their markets, tend to have the best locations, with above-average upkeep.

Tenants at SRQ Commerce Park have signed leases ranging up to 15 years. Although Fineberg did not disclose lease rates for space at the development, he said they will pay more than the county average.

The average triple-net lease rate for industrial space in the third quarter of 2013 was $4.66 a square foot, according to Coldwell Banker Commercial figures.

"We're above that rate, certainly," Fineberg said.

Benderson may be expanding its industrial space portfolio into Sarasota County later this year. Fineberg said the company is finalizing plans to build on the 42-acre Fruitville Initiative Area near the intersection of Fruitville Road and Interstate 75. Benderson is in negotiations to purchase the land from the county.

Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.

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