No Comments

CRE Market Insights

Uncertainty = Opportunity

Market conditions always change, it is inevitable. However, the pace of change has been greatly accelerated due to the pandemic, creating uncertainty in the commercial real estate and Capital markets.  

  • Users of office space have been uncertain as to how their needs of space will change. Recent data indicates that only 12% of the workforce would consider working at home on a full-time basis. The majority of respondents to a survey of 2,300 office workers said they would prefer coming back to the office on either a full time or flex schedule in order to be mentored, collaborate with colleagues and to be a part of their company’s community. We are social beings.  Employers are now very sensitive to their employees comfort in returning. Companies will undoubtedly be providing larger work spaces and will invoke social distancing in common areas. Users of office space may be facing a need to reconfigure and possibly expand their footprint. 
  • Industrial users are facing ever tightening market conditions, wherein available buildings and space are becoming increasingly harder to find. Lease rates and property values continue their steady rise. Investors of this product type are experiencing compressed cap rates/lower returns, buyer competition and higher pricing on their entry point. 
  • Retailers are having their own unique challenges. As described in this newsletter’s article, consumer behavior has shifted dramatically, thus causing a need to reshape the product/service delivery system. Small retailers to large box national stores are reassessing their customers desires and their real estate to meet the changing demand. 

These uncertain times will not only create challenges, but it will provide opportunities. The brokers of Commercial Partners Realty help provide current market conditions, availability’s and a realistic assessment of options for their clients. We take our assignments very seriously, with these goals top of mind: to deliver accurate data and the best counsel to best meet or exceed our client’s needs. 


Scott Clendening
Broker/President
Commercial Partners Realty, Inc.


Will COVID-19 Be the Death of Retail?

Rumors of the death of retail may be greatly exaggerated. While widespread novel coronavirus quarantines and stay-at-home orders will undoubtedly be the end of a record number of businesses, from Mom and Pop shops to nationwide retail chains, many are finding new ways to navigate this quickly changing landscape. Savvy retailers are positioning their brands for a “new normal” yet to come.

Not surprisingly, national brands with deep pockets that have been deemed “essential” during the pandemic have thrived. Amazon, Walmart and Target all saw sales increases in the first quarter of 2020. Unfortunately, not every business is considered “essential.” Restaurants that could not shift to take-out or delivery models are struggling. Buffett-style eateries are unlikely to return to a germ-conscious, post-COVID marketplace. Even national chains – J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, Gold’s Gym, JC Penney’s, Pier One Imports, to name a few – have found themselves unable to adjust or to handle the final blow that the virus has brought to an already declining operational model and have filed for bankruptcy.

But there are some retailers that were already preparing for change when the outbreak occurred. Large mall operators realized transformation was coming when many of the big box stores that anchor their properties began to go dark. The large regional mall is also not conducive to the way most people shop now. Shoppers prefer to park, run into a store, make a purchase and be on their way. COVID-19 has forced the acceleration of change that was already in the planning stages.

With the popularity of free retail apps that allow shoppers to purchase store inventory online, make a contact-free payment within the app and pick it up at the store, savvy retailers already had the technology in place to meet this crisis. Large malls, with their vast parking lots, are able to assign spots to individual retailers for pick-up of online purchases, aiding their tenants in moving to this new model that combines online retail with brick and mortar stores.

Another trend that has been accelerated by the pandemic is the move to more regional and local retail brands.
Millennials have long eschewed what they saw as the “vanilla” nature of big, faceless national brands.The pandemic has expanded this trend as isolated consumers feel a greater connection to their own community. Consumers want to support their neighbors, including local retailers. Social media amplifies the message to buy local and support locally owned businesses.

National retailers have been trying since before the outbreak to connect to this local-first movement. National brands now attempt to “regionalize” their product offerings and the character of their stores. “Un-branding is the new branding.” A seemingly local pizza shop appearing on delivery apps since this April called Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings, is actually owned by Chuck E. Cheese, the ubiquitous kid-centric pizza and game parlor. Applebee’s launched its own local sounding restaurant, called Neighborhood Wings and that indie bookstore near your local college is probably owned by Barnes and Nobel or Follet.

Some changes prodded by COVID-19 will probably stay with us for a long time. Developments that arose as a response to the need for social distancing will turn out to be technological and service-oriented advancements that consumers will want to keep due to their convenience. App-driven delivery or pick-up services for groceries and prescriptions don’t just support consumers trying to keep their distance during a pandemic, they offer busy people a way to quickly and conveniently get the items they need and be on their way. Supporting local businesses usually results in more personal customer service. While some retailers will not have the resources to come back from this crisis, when it is over, there will still be consumers wishing to buy and businesses ready to sell their wares. How and where those transactions take place will define the retail real estate landscape for years to come.

Frank Bozikovich is a retail specialist with over 20 years of experience. He has worked with many of the nation’s 100 largest retailers, the franchise industry, developers and investors.


Recent Transactions

CPR Team Continues to Close Deals – Helping clients navigate the market during a crisis

There is no denying that the current pandemic and its economic fall-out will have particularly strong effects on the commercial real estate market for years to come. Having the right advisors can ensure that owners and users of commercial properties make it through such uncertain times in a fiscally strong position. Despite government ordered business closures and shelter-in-place recommendations, there will always be a need for commercial real estate and a good real estate broker can help an owner or user make financially strong decisions, regardless of the economic conditions that surround them.

During the first five months of 2020, the Commercial Partners Realty has continued to close deals, guiding their clientele through the uncertainties that have accompanied this pandemic. This has at times required coaching clients in new technologies, from online video meetings to remote, “contact-free” closings. For others, it has required changing the focus of their marketing to find a new highest and best use for property types that have faced extreme challenges due to the outbreak.

For one CPR client, the pandemic disrupted their plans to move their operations to another state just as they were scheduled to close on the sale of their Tampa Bay facility. Their CPR agent was able to negotiate a last-minute, short-term leaseback with the buyer so that the sale could be completed as scheduled. Another buyer, moving their offices from Tampa to St. Petersburg, found themselves unable to secure financing due to the funds of most lenders being tied up in Payroll Protection Plan loans. The CPR Broker helped arrange short-term seller financing that the buyers could later refinance with a traditional lender once banks returned to funding commercial real estate, and the sale closed without delay.

The following are recent transactions closed by CPR Team members during the novel coronavirus pandemic and its resulting economic downturn.

Broker Scott Clendening represented the tenant, Ensurem, LLC in $2.6 million lease of a 28,150 SF Office located at 8560 Ulmerton Rd., in Largo, and in a long-term lease of 10,244 SF of office space in the Piers Center at 6239 Tacoma Dr. in New Port Richey, FL.

Scott Clendening recently completed a $6,000,000 sale/leaseback of Nautical Structures’ 94,000 sf manufacturing facility on 5 acres in mid Pinellas County. Nautical Structures will remain in operation as the tenant of the property. Clendening was the only broker involved in the transaction representing the seller. Woodhill Real Estate, LLC was the buyer.

Chris Ewing represented the tenant, Kenick, Inc., in leasing 15,000 SF of flex space located at 11400 47th St N., Pinellas Park FL, with a lease value of $597,000.

Chris Ewing represented the seller, PE Enterprises II, LLC., in sale of a 4,031 SF office, located at 1025 1st Ave N., in St. Pete’s Edge District for $820,000.

CPR agent Jim Engelmann represented the landlord, Asset Trust Holdings, in the lease of 900 SF of office space located at 102 Myrtle Ridge Rd., Lutz to D Retro Salon & Spa.

Jim Engelmann represented the seller, BRS Industries, in sale of a 2-acre parcel in the final phase of a larger development deal near the intersection of State Rd. 54 and Suncoast Parkway in Odessa FL.

CPR Team member Frank Bozikovich represented the seller, Montana Holdings, in the sale of an 11,189 SF office building in the Skyway Marina District of St. Petersburg. Located at 2861 34th Street S., the property sold for $1,500,000.

The QA Team of Dan Quarles and Austin Karrick has recently completed the following transactions:

  • Represented the landlord, B & L Management, in the lease of 4,574 SF of flex space located in the Bryan Dairy Business Center at 7279-81 Bryan Dairy, Largo FL.
  • Represented the landlord, B & L Management, in the lease of 7,485 SF of flex space located in the Bryan Dairy Business Center at 7225 Bryan Dairy, Largo FL.
  • Represented the landlord, B & L Management, in the lease of 2,575 SF of flex space located in the Starkey Center at 12505 Starkey Rd., Largo FL.
  • Represented the landlord, B & L Management, in the long-term lease of 12,520 SF of flex space located in the Starkey Center at 12505 Starkey Rd., Largo FL.
  • Represented the landlord, Mainstream Business Park, in the lease of 2,400 SF of flex space located at 7201 112th Ave N., Largo FL.
  • Represented the seller, Ashby Green, in the sale of a 1,612 SF office at 5511 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg for $335,000.
No Comments

Commercial Partners Realty Negotiates Sale of 11,000 SF Skyway Marina District Office

Commercial Partners Realty team member Frank Bozikovich represented Almased in the sale of their 11,189 SF office building located at 2861 34th Street S., in St. Petersburg for $1.5 million. The property was purchased by an investor who plans to lease out the office space in the Skyway Marina District. Currently, office space in the growing market is in high demand, with a record-low 1% vacancy rate for the area.

Almased is a private, multinational company that manufactures and distributes dietary supplements worldwide. They have owned and occupied the former bank site for the past 18 years. Almased has decided to consolidate its operations in Charlotte, NC in order to be more centrally located within its distribution area. However, due to the COVID-19 crisis the move has been delayed and Bozikovich has helped the company negotiate a short-term lease with the new owner.

Commercial Partners Realty is a proud member of the George F. Young corporate family. Our parent company is a full-service professional consulting firm offering engineering, planning, landscape architecture, environmental, and surveying services throughout Florida. Established in 1919, George F. Young, Inc. has been serving the Tampa Bay area and beyond for over 100 years.

No Comments

CPR Team Welcomes David Culligan

Commercial Partners Realty welcomes broker David Culligan to our team. As an industry expert, Culligan represents commercial clients throughout their entire real estate pursuits. Operating out of the firm’s Tampa office, David is responsible for new business development, as well as all-inclusive consultation for his customers both locally and nationally. His ultimate goal is to aid his clients in improving long-term profitability and help them navigate the increasingly complex negotiations of commercial real estate transactions.

David’s more than 25 years of experience in the Florida commercial real estate market have given him a wealth of knowledge and practical skills. As a specialist in optimizing the bottom line and developing innovative workplace strategies, David conducts critical path forecasting, in-depth market research, financial analysis and strategic planning for clients in need of both corporate offices and data centers.

Prior to joining the CPR Team, David worked with Savills as a managing director and as the owner and president of Centerpointe Development, where he developed multiple office, retail and industrial projects throughout Central Florida. As a former director for Waterford Construction & Development, David was responsible for design, construction, sales generation, lease negotiation, land acquisition and engineering to assist in the development of more than two million square feet of projects throughout West and Central Florida. In addition, he has gained institutional landlord experience having spent time as a leasing director of Childress Klein Properties and Paragon Group.
Outside of the office, David is a member of the Westshore Alliance and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. He has also spent many years coaching and mentoring youth sports in Hillsborough County Youth Leagues.

No Comments

Commercial Partners Team Sets National Record at FGCAR Golf Tournament!

Clouds were gathering on a hot, humid Florida Fall afternoon. Four members of the CPR Team (Austin Karrick, Chris Ewing, Jim Engelmann and Frank Bozikovich) stepped up to the first hole of the Cove Cay golf course. It was the FGCAR Annual Golf Tournament, and this was “The Fastest Hole Competition”.

Austin Karrick [back], Chris Ewing, Jim Engelmann and Frank Bozikovich [front L-to-R]

The Fastest Hole Competition challenges tournament foursomes to get the ball from the tee box into the hole on a par 4 in the fastest possible time. No one player can hit the ball twice in a row.

The first hole of Cove Cay is a 360 yard par 4 with sand traps flanking the landing area of the initial drive and the front right lip of the green. The group arrived at the hole during the latter part of the tournament, so many of the other teams had already taken their turn. Austin asked the Flying Locksmith representative, who had sponsored the competition, what was the time to beat. Not wanting to give too much away, all the rep said was, “You guys have to be under 30 seconds.”

The mark was set, and our team began planning.

Jim, who has participated in this event for three years now, immediately laid out a plan of attack. He would be the first shot, Austin and Chris would be responsible for the second/approach shot and Frank would be on the green for the finishing putt.

After a small discussion, they took their positions along the fairway.

The team gave their final thumbs up to the timekeeper and Jim teed off. He hit a piercing drive that began to favor the right side of the fairway, heading right at Austin, towards a bunker. Jim crushed the drive as it sailed over the bunker and just clearing Austin’s head. Realizing that he needed to get to the green to back up Frank on the putt, Chris took off running at top speed.

The ball came to rest about 70 yards away from the hole. Austin steps up to the ball and quickly assesses the next shot. He can hear the timekeeper saying, “Take your time! Take your time!”

He takes his swing and flushes the ball, it takes a high trajectory right towards the hole. Unsure of if he hit it far enough, he fears of the encroaching sand traps nip at his confidence. The ball reaches its pinnacle and begins to descend, a plop, and relief! It bounces just on the outer fringe of the green and rolls towards the hole.

Frank is at the ready. He lines up his putt before the ball has even rolled to a stop. Chris arrives at the green for a final tap-in, if needed. When ball finally comes to a rest, Frank pulls back. A slight *tink* can be heard as his putter contacts the ball. It rolls right towards the hole and drops in!

Celebrations begin, but was it good enough?

Austin looks back to the timekeeper and sees his mouth dropped open.

“What was the time?”

*Silence*

“What was the time?”

Finally, the ref speaks, “19 seconds!”

High fives all around – they are confident this number can’t be beat.

At the awards ceremony the team awaits the news.

The owner of The Flying Locksmith takes the podium and tells the crowd that they sponsor this Fastest Hole Competition at 19 other tournaments nationwide and there has never been a winning team with a faster time in any of the events hosted by the Flying Locksmith. The CPR Team swept past all competitors with a time of 19 seconds, a record that the sponsor “is confident, will never be beat”.

The team expects to soon receive their trophy and will surely be enshrined into the Golfers’ Fastest Hole Hall of Fame.

No Comments

Commercial Partners Realty, Inc. Announces sale of .12 AC of land for development in the Tampa CBD

Commercial Partners Realty, Inc. is pleased to announce the sale of a .12 AC parcel of raw land located at 1013 N. Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602.  The sale price was $850,000 which translates to over $7 Million per acre, making this one of the highest value per acre land transactions completed this year in the Tampa Central Business District. 

Jim Engelmann represented the seller, Aston Chase Investment Company, in the transaction.  The buyer was Om Ventures, a development group from Tampa, FL. The property is adjacent to the Herman Massey park as well as buildings of historical significance.  Lying within the Tampa CBD, this property is zoned for many uses allowing for residential, office and restaurant/nightclub projects.

About Jim Engelmann

Jim is a land and office real estate specialist in the Northern Tampa Bay and Pasco County markets. Working with retailers, the franchise industry, developers and investors, Jim collaborates with sellers to market land to active users expanding into the market, while finding the site best suited to each developer’s individual needs and financial objectives. 

Jim’s key areas of focus include site selection and demographic analysis for ALFs, multifamily and retail uses, as well as vacant land disposition. He is active in multiple commercial organizations including CCIM, ULI, FGCAR and SOREP.  Jim sits on the Board of Directors for the Greater Pasco Chamber and is President of the Rotary Club of Land O’ Lakes.

Commercial Partners Realty is a full service Commercial Real Estate brokerage specializing in Office, Industrial, Retail and Investment leasing and sales. Representing landlords, tenants, buyers and sellers of commercial real estate in Tampa Bay and West Central Florida, they have transacted over four hundred million dollars of real estate.

No Comments

QA Team Partner Austin Karrick Receives Connect Media Next Gen Award

Austin Karrick, an accomplished leader in the Tampa/St. Petersburg CRE industry, has been honored by Connect Media with its Next Gen Award. As an office and industrial real estate specialist for Pinellas County at Commercial Partners Realty Inc., Karrick is a dedicated team member and a partner in CPR’s Industrial and Office group, The QA Team.

Karrick, 27, has received numerous accolades thus far in his career, including being named a 2017 and 2018 FGCAR Pinnacle award winner for overall industrial production. Austin was also the youngest member of the 2017 Dale Carnegie Sales Course, Tampa – How to Win Friends and Influence People – and his classmates and instructors voted him the highest honor of leadership for that session’s class.

Karrick has been recognized by his colleagues for his ability to see an industrial or office space for what it could be, rather than what it is. His ability to help clients through the demo and remodel phase of flex spaces is noteworthy. He is also quick to help a landlord understand the CAP rate value of their investment, and bring parties together for portfolio sales opportunities, something not normally seen from a third year CRE professional.

No Comments

One Man’s Vision Leads to Neighborhood Success

When Frank Bozikovich looks at South St. Pete he doesn’t see its troubled past. Frank sees opportunity. As a long-term resident of Broadwater and local commercial Realtor, Frank’s daily commute took him past the challenged landscape of US 19 South. Properties in decline after the loss of most of the big box stores caused prospective new tenants to question the wisdom of moving into the spaces. Many fell into disrepair. For Frank, like many area residents, it was frustrating to watch businesses turn away because they were reluctant to invest in this market.

But instead of losing hope, Frank got to work doing what he does best – selling. As a successful Broker with Commercial Partners Realty, Frank knew how to sell and lease commercial property. This, however, was different. He needed to “sell” an entire sub-market to a variety of people – prospective tenants, developers, the City, and brand-name retailers.

Bozikovich started reaching out to contacts within the city and to residents of the communities that bordered US 19 S., as well as to their elected representatives. This ultimately led to the creation of the Skyway Marina District and their rebranding vision for the community. Frank served on the board of directors of the district for five years and has been instrumental in bringing over $200 million of new business to the district, including almost 700 new apartments and a significant number of new retail and office tenants.