Tricera Capital’s First Foray in Sarasota

The company paid $35 million for the acquisition of a two-tower downtown office property.

Tricera Capital has entered the Sarasota, Fla., office market with the $35 million acquisition of BB&T Financial Center.

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According to Tricera, the firm partnered with Alex Karakhanian and Merrimac Ventures to acquire the office property from George Spector. Scott Sherman, Tricera’s co-founder & managing principal, told Commercial Property Executive that the BB&T Financial Center was acquired with senior financing from Prime Finance at a 65 percent loan-to-value ratio.

Spector was represented by Marcus & Millichap’s Douglas Mandel, while the financing was arranged by Berkadia’s Scott Wadler.

The nine-story Class A office building offers 550,000 square feet between two towers, with most floorplates ranging between 1,000 and 5,000 square feet. Originally built in the 1980s, BB&T Financial Center went through more than $1 million in capital improvements over the last three years. According to Tricera, those upgrades included modernizing the three elevators, installing a new fire panel, adding new paint and furniture to the lobby, applying a new roof coating and other upgrades.

Sherman told CPE that Tricera’s BB&T property in Sarasota will also stand out due to its unique post-COVID-19 design. The property features open-air atrium common areas, separate HVAC systems for each suite and private bathrooms for a more COVID-19-conscious design.

The property was 70 percent occupied at the time of closing, with anchor tenant BB&T and a mix of legal, financial and other professional service firms as tenants.

Post-COVID-19 Sarasota strategy

In addition to the recent upgrades, Tricera is planning to further invest in capital improvements to enhance the lobby and atrium areas, as well as add more building amenities, Sherman told CPE. Tricera is also bringing in Robbins Commercial as a new property manager, according to Sherman. With its investment into the newly acquired asset, Sherman said Tricera is confident in Florida’s office market recovering quickly from the damage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Florida markets, in particular from Tampa to Sarasota and Palm Beach to Miami, are experiencing a huge migration/population growth from the north and west, which will ultimately lead to more demand for retail and office space in these urban markets,” Sherman told CPE. “Although COVID-19 is hurting office demand globally, we believe Florida is going to rebound fast and outperform coming out of COVID-19.”

Tricera’s confidence in the Florida markets predates the COVID-19 pandemic, as the firm previously acquired a mixed-use property in West Palm Beach, Fla. The company bought the 360,000-square-foot Palm Beach Post in an off-market transaction with the help of a $20.3 million loan.