About 159 acres in Fort Myers that had been owned by Buc-ee’s just sold for $10 million. The Texas-based convenience store and gas station chain had intended to build its first Southwest Florida location near the southwest corner of the Interstate 75 and State Road 82 interchange until changing course because of traffic concerns.
Alessio Holdings bought the land for $10 million, public records show, with Indiana-based Kittle Property Group buying 23 of those acres from Alessio for $7 million. “They were closing at the same time, so it was just as a matter of convenience for everyone,” said Ron Zeigler of SVN Commercial Partners, who helped broker the deal between Alessio and Kittle.
Bryan Myers, senior adviser and team leader for SVN, and Tiffany Luongo brokered the deal that was almost a year in the making between Buc-ee’s and Alessio. “I believe it’s going to be a great incubator for the western side of State Road 82 and I-75,” Myers said. “It’s been somewhat of a corridor in that incubatory phase. This is going to be a catalyst that’s going to really get it going.”
Indiana-based Kittle specializes in building multifamily apartments and now owns the land fronting Ortiz Road, just east of where the Hanson Street extension connects with Ortiz.
The group is also planning to build an apartment complex in Cape Coral after buying 15 acres off Pine Island Road for $4 million in December. The plan there is to build four four-story buildings that will combine for 292 units and be called Vantage Luxury Apartments at 3050 Steeple Circle, just west of U.S. 41 and across the street from Merchant’s Crossing.
Alessio Holdings, which is based in Illinois and does environmental cleanup and industrial developments, owns about 137 acres of land fronting State Road 82 and the strip running south from there along the interstate. SVN team members Ashley Bloom and Rob Henry also assisted in the deal.
Kittle Property Group and Alessio Holdings could not be reached for comment.
Much of the acreage running alongside the interstate was never intended to be developed because of environmental issues such as the presence of wetlands, public records and renderings of the original Buc-ee’s plan show. Alessio Holdings plans to use about 47 acres fronting State Road 82 for industrial uses, Myers said, adding that there aren’t any environmental issues pertaining to contamination in that area.
There are about 30 more acres on the south side that could be sold to more apartment developers, Myers said.
“They’re a developer group out of Chicago,” Zeigler said of Alessio Holdings. “They’re moving a lot of their development programs to Florida. They do a lot of development. They do superfund cleanup. They do build-to-suit for industrial uses.”
Buc-ee’s appears to have banked more than $3 million in profits from the land sale after sitting on it for more than four years when it bought it for $6.64 million. “We sold the land,” Jeff Nadalo, general counsel for Buc-ee’s, confirmed. “The challenge is finding a site that would work for our project. The public infrastructure of the road worked against the project being able to proceed. The roadways necessary to maintain sufficient access to the property for our volume of traffic just wouldn’t work.”
Buc-ee’s, which began in Texas 40 years ago, now operates 41 gas stations and convenience stores with most of them in Texas and the southeast. Southwest Florida shouldn’t be ruled out of getting a Buc-ee’s, Nadalo said, but not at State Road 82 and I-75. “We’re still actively looking throughout Florida, including in that area,” he said.