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Longtime Lee County developer Dan Creighton and investor Mike Devito of Alpha Equity Group considered putting a shopping center at one of the busiest intersections in Southwest Florida on the market in 2020. Their real estate broker advised them against doing so then. 

Broker Jim Shiebler, now a senior vice president of CBRE, has been preparing the marketing materials over the past month. This week, he’s launching efforts to sell College Plaza, 7070 College Parkway in south Fort Myers, for $15.2 million. 

It’s a hefty boost from the $3.9 million Creighton and Devito paid for it in December 2010 under the entity College Venture I LLC. 

College Plaza includes 56,386 square feet of space. It’s a fully leased shopping center, with Ada’s Natural Market, West Marine boat supply store and Pet Supermarket the largest tenants. Five Guys burgers, The Good Feet Store and Tijuana Flats round out the roster of a shopping center that has, on average, about 109,000 vehicles pass by it every day. 

“They purchased that corner when it was a dark Publix and Walgreens,” Shiebler said. “It was post-recession. It was very rundown.” 

The investors then redid the shopping center’s concept, redoing the parking layout, which provided them space to build the 7,000-square-foot, three tenant outparcel. 

“It’s been 100% occupied for the past 10 years,” Shiebler said. “Radio Shack went under. That space was only empty for 45 days before Good Feet became the tenant. The reason they’re selling it is because in 2020, I analyzed that property and learned they had five of their six leases imminently expiring.” 

Instead of selling then, Shiebler advised the investors to renew the leases, making it more attractive to a prospective buyer. 

“They secured all of them,” he said. “Each one of them now has lengthy lease terms. I would say the opportunity is there for a new buyer to be able to plant a flag in the ground on the most incredible corner. You have very strong tenants with long-term leases. If they leave, then you have the ability to recalibrate the rents. They’ve harvested as much capital as they could.” 

In 2020, they would have asked $10.6 million with an 8.25% cap rate. Today, they’re asking $15.2 million at a 6.4% cap rate. 

“They basically added 50equity in four years,” Shiebler said. “It does make sense for the seller to sell and then take that capital and deploy it to a higher yield. And it makes sense for a buyer that wants to plant a flag in Florida. It has no alternative but to grow.” 

Shiebler spent the past month compiling materials to take it to market. He organized six aerial photography shoots from drones and a helicopter. He compiled a 40-page pamphlet. And he’s preparing to blast those materials to thousands of investors across the country via email. Shiebler doubted the eventual buyer would be local. 

“I would believe it would most likely be an out-of-state, private investor that’s high net worth that is redeploying their capital out of the high-tax states,” Shiebler said. 

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