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ST. PETERSBURG, FL-In a record $306-per-sf price deal, Dr. Kiran C. Patel and partner Rupesh Shah have acquired a trophy three-acre beachfront site here for $40-million or $13.3 million per acre. The partners plan to develop Clearwater Beach Resort, a $100-million, 350-room, 14-story hotel topped by 75 condominium residences.

The South Gulfview Boulevard site currently houses a Days Inn and other hotels owned by local hotelier Tony Markopoulos. Markopoulos had planned to develop the hotel himself before he struck a quick deal with Patel and Shah, brokers in a position to know tell GlobeSt.com.

The deal wasn’t even made known in advance to city officials who had previously approved the hotel project for Markopoulos, according to brokers familiar with the deal. The properties were never on the market.

“It was a private, hush-hush deal strictly between Patel, Shah and Markopoulos,” a Downtown St. Petersburg broker intimate with all of the parties but not associated with the transaction itself tells GlobeSt.com.

The only recorded comparable transaction is the $41-million local investors Dean Kucera, Jimmy Aviram and Ron Bailey paid in 2002 for the 27-story Bank of America Tower, city officials confirm. That estimated 540,000-sf property went for $75.92 per sf.

The planned Clearwater Beach Resort will be Patel’s biggest development challenge to date, say brokers who have worked with the healthcare entrepreneur in the past.

Patel is a cardiologist who sold his WellCare HMO to New York investors in 2002. “for an 11-figure price,” according to area brokers. The doctor had purchased the fledgling HMO in 1992 and built it into a $1-billion business with 400,000 members at the time of sale, brokers tell GlobeSt.com.

City officials confirm Patel has donated $5 million for the naming rights to the new arts school at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. He has also pledged $400,000 to help the University of South Florida in Tampa establish a charter school.

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