PALMETTO -- An early 20th-century building that frames the Palmetto historic district has come onto the market.
The 1912 brick building sits at one end of the spectrum of a downtown corridor plan that has goals of growing a business presence while preserving the city's small-town charm through a stronger historic preservation effort.
That location, in the 400 block of 10th Avenue West, is where Palmetto began as an agricultural center, packing products to be shipped down the Manatee River. The building has a quaint feeling with a variety of businesses like Norma Rae's Restaurant downstairs and the Eccentric Otter next door. Personal signs from owners adorn the doors and hours of operation are often "by appointment or by chance."
The 8,000-square-foot building, which includes five apartments on the second floor, was recently listed for $899,000 by current owner Joseph Iossa, who purchased the building in 2005 for $995,000. Handling the sale is Adam Doak, of American Property Group Inc.
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"It's listed as an investment property, which means you basically take on property with existing tenants," said Doak. "The owners live in New Jersey and they can't be down here very often, so they are looking at other ventures to move on to."
The building nets a profit of about $85,000 annually when full, according to Doak. Even though the listing is only about two weeks old, "there has been a lot of interest. It's a good building in the historical area of the city," he said.
Paul Devereaux is a partner in the building's antiques store. His relationship with Iossa has been a good one, he said, and he hopes that will continue with a new owner.
"I guess there is no reason to worry unless the new owner has different plans for the building," he said. "We would like to see things stay the same way."
Devereaux said there are issues with the aging building, as he showcased a downward slope of the floor from the front door to his back workroom. Original Spanish terra-cotta tiles make up the floors under modern carpet, but the only thing under the tiles is the shifting ground.
"Kind of makes it hard to level furniture you are working on," he said.
Doak lists the building on his Facebook page as "historical," but Community Redevelopment Agency Director Jeff Burton said it has not yet been designated as such.
But all it takes to protect the building at the city level is a city commission vote. Burton encouraged any new owner to take advantage of CRA incentive dollars that are geared toward historic preservation.
"We put our money where our mouths are," said Burton. "Things that really augment the historical presence in the city has an intrinsic value the city wants to keep. Those buildings have a huge history, and we would love to work with whoever does purchase it to encourage them to enhance it."
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter@urbanmark2014