EAST MANATEE --For five years, the two-story, 14,000-square-foot building sat vacant in Ranch Lake Plaza on State Road 70 East.
The empty shell, next to what is now a Wal-Mart store, was the victim of the Great Recession, when office space large and small went begging for occupants.
On Thursday, workers on stilts were in the building, plastering the 7,200 square feet of the second story, while Jeff Fleming of Bradenton Electric hooked up electricity for the elevator.
J. Daniel Douglass of Bradenton, a licensed real estate broker, announced this week that Bradenton East Integrative Medicine will be moving several miles east from its current location at 6120 53rd Avenue East.
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The destination: east of Interstate 75 to the second story of the long-vacant building at 8614 S.R. 70 E.
"After a successful 10-month lease negotiation with the current owners and their bank, the medical practice is poised to take possession of their new location and continue to expand their homegrown presence in the area. I represented the practice in their lease negotiations in this deal," Douglass said in an email.
"Some of the larger office space that has languished vacant on the market for several years may be filling," he said.
Bernard Croghan has a 25-year record as a commercial developer in Manatee County, including ComCenters in Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, and East Man
atee. He agrees with Douglass in sensing a possible shift.
"The vacancy rate is dropping pretty steadily and rental rates are rising," Croghan said.
The office vacancy rate in Manatee-Sarasota is 19.6 percent, with Lakewood Ranch at 9.2 percent and downtown Sarasota with a rate of 13.4 percent being the lowest, said Brian Kennelly, president of Lakewood Ranch Commercial Realty.
The vacancy rate at Lakewood Ranch is the lowest since 2007, Kennelly said.
"There is still inventory, but it has been reduced the past year. You do see the tightening in the market, but I don't think we are ready for new construction yet," Kennelly said.
Integrative medicine is the practice of medicine that incorporates all of the healing arts that have been shown to be useful in creating and maintaining good health, according to the Bradenton East Integrative Medicine website.
"We approach each person as an individual looking at all the underpinnings of health: food, family, exercise, love and connection with community. We work with you to devise a treatment program. If you need help with lifestyle change or use of herbs or medications, if you need a hospital stay or surgery, if your problem is best addressed with acupuncture...all these are considered," the website says.
For more information about the practice, visit http://www.beimonline.com/
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee editor, may be contacted at 941-745-7021 or tweet @jajones1