SARASOTA, FL-The 11-story, 125,000-sf Gold Bank Plaza office building is under new ownership today. Triton Cos. Inc. of Rochester, MI and RBS Cos. Inc. bought the 125,000-sf Downtown landmark building from Brooklyn, NY private investor Isaac Stern for $40 million. The 17-year-old property is 100 % leased.

The $320-per-sf price is believed to be the highest this year in Central Florida for a class A office property, according to GlobeSt.com research. The acquisition includes an eight-level, 625-space parking garage and two vacant adjacent parcels available for the development of residential condominiums, apartments and a commercial office building.

RBS president Brian Stoy and Triton president Brent Virkus represented their companies in the transaction. The property is at 240 South Pineapple Ave. and takes up an entire three-acre city block bounded by Pineapple and South Palm avenues, and Ringling Boulevard and McAnsh Square.

Gold Bank Plaza’s tenant roll includes Gold Bank, Morgan Stanley, Morgan Keegan, US Assets Group, H&R Blocks and the Abel Band law firm. Average asking class A gross office rents in the Downtown Sarasota submarket are $18 to $21 per sf, area brokers tell GlobeSt.com.

Principals at all of the parties involved in the transaction couldn’t be reached by GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline for comment on near-future redevelopment plans for the property. Local sources in a position to know tell GlobeSt.com Stern bought Gold Bank Plaza for about $25 million, or $200 per sf, in 2000 from Dallas-based Cardinal Capital Partners.

Gold Bank, the flagship property of Leawood, KS-based Gold Banc Corp., holds a 22-year master lease on the three-acre site. The lease started in 1998, say area brokers familiar with the property and the deal. Prior to Stern’s ownership, Cardinal Capital had acquired the office building and vacant lots as part of a $250-million bulk sale-leaseback transaction with Huntington Banks of Columbus, OH, according to Sarasota mortgage banking sources.

Gold Bank moved into the building in 2002, occupying premises previously leased by Huntington and Barnett Banks of Florida, Downtown Sarasota sources familiar with the property’s history tell GlobeSt.com.

Construction on the office portion of what is now Gold Bank Plaza began in 1986, area brokers familiar with the property’s background tell GlobeSt.com. Two office towers and a 250-room Radisson Hotel Corp.-operated hotel were in the construction plans of developer JBS Ltd. However, JBS ran into financial problems, defaulting on a $12-million loan from Citicorp Real Estate Inc. That halted construction and Minneapolis-based Radisson pulled out of the deal.

Barnett Banks bought the property in 1988, paying Citicorp $10.1 million or $80.80 per sf. Barnett then invested another $5 million to complete the 11-story building and parking garage. The office building opened in 1989. The earlier planned second tower and hotel are still on the drawing boards, sources in a position to know tell GlobeSt.com.

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