Penncap, LLC has purchased four parcels occupying a full city block in The Grand Central District of downtown St. Petersburg for $2.7 million. The four parcels totaled 24,000 square feet and consisted of two buildings, two vacant lots and an income-producing billboard.
The 14,610-square-foot building at 1850 Central Ave. is the former location of the Playhouse Theatre, which was built in 1925. The second building, a 6,636-square-foot property at 1833 1st Ave., was previously a night club.
The buyer is a company associated with Dr. Reid Graves and Dr. Nicholas Laryngakis, physicians at St. Pete Urology, who plan to redevelop the properties for medical office space.
Paula Clair Smith, CCIM, and Christine Daly of Colliers represented the seller, a private investment group, in the transaction. EJ Barkett of Barkett Realty represented the buyer.
“There were plenty of dreams of restoring the theatre to an entertainment venue, but in the end, the value was in the land and its location,” said Paula Clair Smith, CCIM, Managing Director, Tampa Bay, Colliers. “With the impending redevelopment of the Tropicana Field site, this is prime real estate.”
The properties, including space for two billboards visible from Interstate 275 just a few feet away, are located less than half-mile from Tropicana Field.
“Downtown St. Petersburg is expanding out further and further to the west,” said Smith. “Developers of office space want free-standing buildings that function for their purposes. Smaller square-footage buildings of high quality are becoming a rare find in Pinellas County, so business owners are creating their own spaces and paying the price to grab land when it’s available.”
The buyers intend to work with the city to determine how to best utilize the site, Smith said. Although the former Playhouse Theatre was built in 1925, its architecture has no historic significance.
“Because the theatre property was fairly gutted, we provided prospects with various architectural conceptual designs for office, restaurant and venue uses to help them visualize the many possibilities for the space,” Smith said. “The showing activity was brisk, and we were very active in helping prospects envision the adaptive reuse potential and clarifying the costs and risks involved for various scenarios.”