Cerebral palsy organization buys former KOC hall for day center

mjohnson@bradenton.comMay 21, 2014 

United Cerebral Palsy of Southwest Florida has purchased a former Knights of Columbus hall on 30th Ave. W. in Bradenton that it has used as a day center since 2012. MATT M. JOHNSON/Bradenton Herald

MANATEE -- United Cerebral Palsy of Southwest Florida has made good on its intention to purchase the building its Bradenton area day-program center has called home for two years.

UCP of Southwest Florida purchased the approximately 14,000-square-foot building and more than 6 surrounding acres at 2203 30th Ave. W. for $800,000 on May 13. It previously leased former Knights of Columbus building . UCP made the purchase through Regional Properties, the real estate arm of its parent company, Sunrise Communities.

UCP first leased the building in 2012, the year it consolidated day programs run by the former UPC Sarasota-Manatee and Manasota ARC. Norma Israel, UCPs executive director, said her organization has long wanted to buy the building.

"It gives us a presence in Manatee County," she said. "It gives a sense of community with our neighbors."

About 85 people with developmental and intellectual disabilities use the center every day. Center staff provide job training and life skills training. The center also provides a social venue for its users.

Israel said UCP plans to renovate the day center and build classrooms inside. The center might also serve as a place where local businesses could bring some work for center users who want to earn a living. That, Israel said, would require county approval as the property is designated for institutional use.

UCP partner Bealls currently hires developmentally disabled people to sort clothes hangers at its Bradenton warehouse.

The acquisition is the latest of several UCP has made in the Manatee County area as it expands its services around Bradenton.

Last August, the organization purchased six group homes from Manasota ARC, a nonprofit that served people with developmental disabilities. That organization disbanded soon after the group homes were sold. It transferred its operations and programs to UCP Sarasota-Manatee in 2011.

Regional Properties purchased those group homes for a total of $519,072, according to Manatee County property records. Sunrise had leased and operated the homes for about a year prior to the sale.

When UCP announced its intention to buy the former Knights of Columbus hall last October, it was still trying to raise funds for the purchase. Had the group failed to come up with the money, it had plans to continue leasing the building, Israel said.

The seller in the transaction was the Columbian Association of Bradenton, a Knights of Columbus chapter associated with St. Joseph Catholic Church. St. Joseph has a church and school campus two blocks west of the former Knights hall.

The corrugated metal building was constructed in 1974, according to county records.

Bill Rex, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT, represented Regional Properties in the transaction. Lee Delieto Sr. with Michael Saunders & Co. represented the seller.

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

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