Sundial, downtown St. Petersburg’s entertainment and shopping complex, is for sale.
Developer Bill Edwards bought the once-troubled property, which was then known as BayWalk, in 2011 for $5.2 million. He heavily remodeled it and lured an impressive array of shops and restaurants.
Rumors had swirled for some time that the property would be sold. It was listed Wednesday.
Within a few hours, there “was a significant amount of interest coming from across the country,” said Brett Chetek. “I’m getting emails from institutional investors all over, and extremely high-net-worth individuals.”
The 85,357 square foot complex, which includes a movie theater, gourmet market, upscale restaurants and shops, is being marketed unpriced with a “call for offers” on Sept. 1, Chetek said.
After those come in, “We will review all of them and hand-select about a handful that we want to invite into a best and final round of offers,” Chetek said. “We’ll give them an extra week to re-analyze their numbers and possibly do a second tour of the property and submit their best price and terms.”
Chetek said Edwards is “not in a hurry to sell but we anticipate the property selling.” Chetek’s partner, Alex Perez, called Sundial “the best property anywhere” in the country right now.
Edwards could not be reached for comment, but his company issued this statement: “There are stories published today about Marcus and Millichap representing the Edwards Group in evaluating the potential sale of Sundial. Whether or not a sale occurs we are highly confident in the long term outstanding success of Sundial in downtown St. Pete.”
So why does Edwards want to sell only 18 months after Sundial opened following a multimillion dollar overhaul?
“He’s a real estate guy,” Perez said. “It’s as good as any time to sell. St. Pete is exploding. Sundial is 100 percent leased with long-term tenants.”
Chetek said Sundial is ideally situated to benefit from the hundreds of new condos and apartments recently built or under construction downtown, including the 253-unit ONE St. Petersburg condo tower a block away.
“These accommodations are being bought by Floridians, they are not being bought by international investors looking to park their money so therefore all these units are going to be occupied,” Chetek said. “We expect that Sundial’s tenant sales over the next couple of years are going to increase considerably because of all that’s happening in St. Pete. As all of the units continue to get built and occupied, it’s only going to benefit Sundial because it’s a classy property.”
Sundial is also attractive because of the nearby 1,350-space parking garage that is owned by the city but is operated by Edwards under a 50-year lease, Chetek said.
“It’s very unusual for an outdoor lifestyle center to have enclosed parking and the owner has made it very inexpensive for patrons to park in the garage,” he said.
Business at Sundial at times appears slow, especially on weekdays. A Lululemon store closed in February, the first business lost since the remodel.
But Chetek said the tenants are “very happy and doing well.”
“The tenancy was carefully chosen by Mr. Edwards — he had a lot of tenants that wanted to be in this property, and he had to turn them away because (he) wanted the right synergistic mix where you can go to the movies, then might walk around and shop at Chico’s and maybe have a steak at Ruth’s Chris (Steak House) or go to Sea Salt. He’s strategically positioned the property for success.”