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Former Trump Tower land sold for $5 million

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 01:39 PM
The new owner is -

There may never be a Trump Tower Tampa, but the downtown riverfront property known by that name may finally become home to something other than parched dirt and tall weeds.

The high-profile land, which includes the CapTrust Building, sold to a local development group for $5 million.

That's a bargain from the $16 million paid in 2004 by the original developer for the failed condo tower.

Brownstone Tampa Partners, an investment partnership of O,R&L Facility Services, Owens Realty Network and Community Reinvestment Partners II, LP, a joint venture investment fund of Forge Capital Partners, LLC and DeBartolo Development, LLC.

Previously slated as a 52-story luxury condominium complex, the site is the only undeveloped parcel in the downtown core located on the Hillsborough River.

"The commercial real estate market continues to show signs of recovery with the multi-family sector leading the way and demand for retail and office space gradually increasing," said Edward Kobel, president and CEO of DeBartolo Development. "The nature of this project, with an existing revenue-producing, multi-tenant office building and an adjacent, highly-prized development parcel, affords us the opportunity to let the market come to us."

The land has been in limbo for nearly two years, ever since Colonial Bank foreclosed in July 2009. The bank attempted to sell the site at a foreclosure auction at the courthouse but ended up taking it back.

The foreclosure ended dreams of a 52-story tower and brought to a close another chapter for investors and buyers who sank money into the failed project.

Tampa's SimDag/Robel LLC announced the project in early 2005, but the economy tanked and the developer wasn't able to get financing for the $300 million tower.

The developer prepped the land for construction but never started vertical construction.

Trump sold rights to his name for the tower to local developer SimDag LLC. SimDag filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and reached a mediated agreement with Trump.

Some buyers have sued Trump, saying they were led to believe he was building the tower and that's why they agreed to purchase.

Meanwhile, immediate plans for the site include completing the Tampa Riverwalk along 350-feet of vacant land and tying into the Brorein Street Bridge underpass currently under construction by the City of Tampa.

Bob Owens, CEO and president of O,R&L Facility Service and a partner in the project, said the CapTrust building is 60 percent leased and he wants to fill it up.

Long-term plans for the vacant land include a mixed-use project of retail, restaurants, office space and hotel, he said.


sbehnken@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7804 Twitter: @TBORealtyCheck
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