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  • 12 Jan 2018 4:31 PM | Anonymous

    SARASOTA, Fla., (January 12, 2018) – GATES Construction has begun site development at a new Wawa, located at 5301 Clark Road in Sarasota. Set on two acres of land, GATES Construction will clear the project site and get it pad-ready. Site development will include grading and utilities and above & below ground storm water management. Wawa stores are located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida. They offer fresh, built-to-order foods, beverages, coffee, and fuel services. Bohler Engineering is providing engineering services.

    The project is being constructed for JBCC Development. JBCC is a full service real estate development company based in Sarasota with retail projects throughout the State of Florida.

    As Florida’s premiere builder, GATES Construction serves its clients from offices in Bonita Springs and Sarasota as a full service general contracting firm providing construction management and design-build services with a diversified project portfolio in all types of commercial, institutional, industrial and multi-family construction projects. GATES also operates in North Carolina and the Republic of Panama. For more information on GATES, please call (239) 593-3777 or visit the website at

  • 12 Jan 2018 8:07 AM | Anonymous

    Kellogg & Kimsey, Inc. has been selected as the Construction Manager and General Contractor for a new corporate office building in Sarasota, Florida for Codeware, Inc. Partnering with Carlson Studio Architecture for the new 26,854 sq. ft. office building, the team will work together to create an exciting space for the engineering software firm. Currently leasing space in Sarasota, the driving force for the new building is due to massive growth in the mechanical engineering software market and the desire to continue supporting their client’s needs in various industries around the world.

    The first floor will feature a 835 sq. ft. conference room with a connecting breakroom and an outdoor patio. Both floors will incorporate a mix of different size offices with unique and open collaboration spaces for employees. The second floor will utilize almost a third of the space for an on site fitness center, with men’s and women’s locker rooms for employees to have a great work/life balance. The 2 story building will be built with a steel structure using composite concrete slab on deck over bar joists. The foundations are spread footings with a slab on grade. The exterior skin is metal stud framing clad in an Exterior Insulated Finish system.

  • 03 Jan 2018 6:25 PM | Anonymous

    Contractors optimistic about growth, but still face labor woes

    Construction firms in Florida expect to keep growing in 2018, but they will continue to struggle to find workers.

    A survey of state contractors found that 85 percent anticipate increasing their payrolls by up to 10 percent this year, the Associated General Contractors of America reported Wednesday.

    And nearly 70 percent said they are having a “hard time” filling both salaried and craft workers positions right now.

    That’s no surprise in the Sarasota-Manatee region, where residential and commercial builders have lamented for several years that they can’t find enough labor for their projects.

    “My members are still finding it difficult to fill jobs, not just skilled jobs,” said Jon Mast, CEO at the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association. “This is a continuing saga.

    “Larger builders are finding relief by hiring ‘shell contractors’ that can build their product through the framing stage. This helps them keep up with closing schedules. Smaller builders and those that build custom homes still enjoy having consistent labor as they pay more for the service,” he said.

    Mary Dougherty, executive director at the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, said the labor shortage is a constant refrain among those in the local construction trades.

    “It is causing prices to increase and jobs to be delayed,” she said. “A lot of folks, with the labor shortage, aren’t bidding on certain jobs. They just don’t have the manpower to bid on them.”

    In Florida, nearly half of the companies surveyed by AGC said they had increased base pay to retain or recruit workers, while 62 percent said they provided new incentives or bonuses. Nearly a third said they paid more overtime.

    Mast said the labor squeeze also has impacted builders at the government level.

    “What has gotten worse is the shortage being felt by our local building departments,” he said. “They are short staff due to retirements and the additional workload due to the increased economy. Permits are increasing, which causes more inspections. Some of my members are months behind on getting closings completed due to the lack of building inspectors.”

    The regional construction workforce has been growing. In November, 24,600 workers were counted in the Sarasota-Manatee construction sector, a gain of 2,000, or nearly 9 percent, over the year, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

    But that remains well off the peak of 31,800 in April 2006, which then plunged to 14,900 in 2011 during the economic downturn, when projects stalled and building all but ceased, forcing workers to find other ways to earn a living.

    Nationwide, 75 percent of construction firms plan to expand their payrolls in 2018 as contractors are optimistic that economic conditions will remain strong amid declining tax rates and regulatory burdens, according to the survey from AGC and Sage Construction and Real Estate. Despite that general optimism, many firms report they remain worried about workforce shortages and infrastructure funding.

    Locally, the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange plans to hold its second “Construction Rodeo” this spring to teach the 25 percent of graduating seniors who are not college bound about construction-related career opportunities.

    “We’re trying to introduce them to what a career in the trades can mean for them now and to later become a business owner,” Dougherty said.

    The BIA is working with the Future Builders of America and the National Association of Home Builders’ Student Chapters to get local coursework designed for construction in local secondary and post-secondary schools, Mast said.

  • 01 Jan 2018 6:40 PM | Anonymous



    Another great year.

    So say Michael and Drayton Saunders. And Ben Bakker. And Janet Robinson.

    The reviews are in. It’s a great time for the region’s commercial real estate market.

    Maybe not rating an A+, but the market descriptions belie the letter grades from these industry insiders.

    “Overall, 2017 was another great year for the commercial real estate market in the Sarasota/Manatee/Charlotte County area. B rating overall.” — Michael Saunders, founder and CEO of Michael Saunders & Company, and Drayton Saunders, president.

    “A solid B. Fantastic year-over-year returns.” — Ben Bakker, lifelong Bradenton resident, vice president of the family-owned HJB Properties and a commercial Realtor with MS&C.

    “I would give it a B or C as the last three years have been really hot in the primary and secondary markets.” — Janet K. Robinson, the commercial director for the Tampa Bay region of Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT. She has worked in this commercial real estate market since 1996.

    Saunders, whose Sarasota-born-and-based commercial real estate division continues to lead the region in contracts, specifically cited three reasons for the B grade:

    • “Office vacancy rates have stabilized, but rents continue to have room to increase.”
    • “Downtown Sarasota Class A rental rates increased 6.4 percent from a year ago. Landlords are taking full advantage of the strong market conditions and continue to aggressively push asking rates upwards, especially in Class B properties.”

    (Class A buildings are the most prominent in location, construction, accessibility, desirability and professional management with highest rents. Class B buildings are a little older with average rents and construction finishes but still good quality management.)

    • “Industrial: Rents have remained constant and for the fifth straight quarter, vacancy rates continue their low numbers, reaching 2.7 percent, and the metro has posted nine consecutive quarters of positive absorption.”

    In specifically describing Manatee County and Bradenton, Bakker said vacancy rates are dropping.

    Robinson also points out the bright spots: “The prices have risen in all portions of our market, including land, office, industrial, retail and multifamily. The vacancies have gone down considerably in all of these sectors.”

    Both Saunders and Bakker hold similar views. “Even with the tight office/industrial market and rising rents that could support new construction,” Saunders said, “new office/industrial development without preleasing will be limited by funding constraints and competition from multifamily developers for the same sites.

    “Downtown’s residential construction explosion will be a great positive to the downtown commercial and retail submarket. The growing live-work-play environment in downtown will remain a draw for people from all over the region.”

    Bakker described the industrial sector as performing “extraordinarily well” with vacancies getting snatched up and thus putting upward pressure on the prices of vacant land in Manatee County as sites for new construction.

    “We’re probably due for a leveling off in a new years,” he said.

    Brian Alford, a Tampa-based commercial real estate market economist at CoStar Group, a research and data firm with offices across the United States and Europe, regularly issues detailed reports on key commercial real estate sectors: retail, office, apartment and light industrial.

    Retail business

    Alford’s take on retail, supported by charts and statistics, credits the Sarasota-Manatee’s flourishing tourist industry and rising population for the strong demand since 2012. “This has combined with muted new construction over this same period to gradually compress vacancies to a level below the historical average,” he writes in a 2017 analysis.

    At the same time, investment activity in retail space has been “extremely robust,” averaging more than $210 million annually since 2014 — “well above the historical average,” Alford notes. Yet new construction has been way down since 2010, “averaging less than half of the metro’s historical norm,” he said.

    “In addition to having one of the higher population growth rates in the nation, Sarasota’s retail/wholesale trade has been one of the fastest growth sectors, with job increases of approximately 18 percent since 2015,” Alford said. “These have combined to fuel a steady retail demand, which is likely to continue into the foreseeable future.”

    Apartment sector

    The apartment market appears to be contradictory. In the midst of a supply boom, formerly sound rent growth has been squeezed to a level below the historical average even though demand has been potent enough to keep vacancies below the historical average, Alford said. More than 3,500 units have been created since 2014, and 1,100 units are under construction.

    “As typical for most Florida markets and despite the construction boom, Sarasota remains undersupplied,” he said. “Since 2010, household growth has outpaced housing starts and apartment growth combined.”

    Jon Mast sees a growing market. The chief executive officer of the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association said demand is high for multi-family housing with the supply increasing because of several condominium and apartment complexes being developed in both Manatee and Sarasota counties. “Multi-family housing, both condominium and apartments, are considered commercial and a strong part of my members portfolios,” he said.

    Saunders sums up the market’s bright position. “In 2017, the Sarasota/Manatee/Charlotte County condominium and apartment project market remained very strong and healthy, especially in downtown Sarasota. Downtown Sarasota saw a boom in development along with multiple new proposed projects. With land becoming less available throughout the area, land prices continued to increase each quarter.”

    Investors poured tens of millions into apartment complex purchases in 2017, apparently bullish on rates of return. Four sales alone amounted to $223 million.

    Office market

    “The office sector is the most interesting to watch,” Bakker said.

    Technology and mobile communications have inalterably changed how the work world works, especially on large-scale employers. “Nobody needs these giant footprints anymore,” he said, citing Bank of America’s departure of a Bradenton high-rise because more and more customers have turned to online banking. “People can get more work done on the run,” Bakker added.

    Still, Alford said, “Sarasota office demand has been exceptionally strong.”

    Surprisingly, this is the region’s largest employment sector. Office workers represent 20 percent of the entire workforce, Alford said. The education and health services sectors are the prime drivers, he said. One reason: The abundance of medical offices to serve seniors since some 40 percent of the population is age 65 and above.

    “Office construction has been significantly down during this cycle, averaging less than 10 percent of the metro’s historical annual construction levels since 2010,” Alford has found. “The lack of new supply and strong demand has seen net absorption greatly outpace deliveries in recent years, markedly compressing vacancies to levels approaching historic lows.

    “In addition, the tightening fundamentals allowed landlords to push rents throughout much of the recovery, hitting a cyclic and historical peak in 2015. Investment activity has significantly increased in both volume and price since 2011, averaging over 30 percent higher annually than the metro’s historical average sales volume.”

    CoStar reports that as of mid-December, there was only one office property currently under construction, the 40,000-square-foot Sabal Palm Plaza in downtown Sarasota. The building was 75 percent preleased to Sabal Palm Bank and Gilbane Building Company.

    The current vacancy rate stands at 5.7 percent with the year’s rent growth at 2.3 percent, according to CoStar. The company predicts the 2018 vacancy rate will drop to 5 percent and rent will rise 2.1 percent.

    A future gem

    Perhaps Sarasota County’s crown jewel in commercial real estate in 2017 only caters to the imagination at this point. But as blueprints and renderings go — and the promising future economic wallop — the imagination runs wild.

    The Atlanta Braves broke ground on a planned $100 million stadium complex in the West Villages in September, intending to open the major league baseball team’s spring training headquarters in February 2019.

    The West Villages Improvement District estimates this commercial development’s 30-year economic impact on the region at more than $1.7 billion.

  • 29 Dec 2017 9:44 AM | Anonymous



    C I T Y O F

    S A R A S O T A

    January 23, 2018

    8:00 A.M. - 2:30 P.M.

    Robert L. Taylor Complex

    1845 34th St., Sarasota


  • 22 Dec 2017 1:41 PM | Anonymous

    The replacement of approximately 3.7 miles (20,000 linear feet) of 40+ year old potable water mains and related infrastructure in the City of Sarasota is over half way complete, on budget and ahead of schedule.

    As part of the US 41 AC Water Main Replacement project, which started in May of 2017, the installation of 3 to 16 inch water mains has mainly been located in the Arlington Park Neighborhood area. The remaining areas of major work include US 41 by Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Bahia Vista from US 41 to School Ave. and School Ave. from Bahia Vista to Payne Park. The project will be completed in winter of 2018. The project team includes Atkins Global and Jon F. Swift Construction.

    “Numerous repairs to the subject mains and related infrastructure have increased over the years and this project is intended to harden some of the City’s infrastructure with modern materials,” said William Swick, Project Manager at the City of Sarasota. “At the project’s completion, the neighborhoods will have increased fire protection, a larger water capacity for service and a sound distribution system.”

    For more information about this project including an overview of the project, proposed construction schedule, project up-dates and answers frequently asked questions visit A link to the website is also posted on the City of Sarasota website and can be found by clicking on the construction hard hat on the homepage.

    About Jon F. Swift Construction, Inc.

    Jon F. Swift Construction, Inc. is recognized as one of the area’s leading commercial contractors, serving Sarasota and Manatee County public and private sector clients for 35 years. The company has a proven history of providing high quality construction services for commercial, institutional and municipal projects and offers a wide array of services to meet their client’s needs including general contracting, construction management, design/build and estimating. For more information, visit

  • 01 Dec 2017 5:28 PM | Anonymous

    Seaward Development Breaks Ground on 7 One One Palm 16 Luxury Residences to Debut in Downtown Sarasota, Winter 2018/2019

    Patrick DiPinto, President of Sarasota-based Seaward Development and developer of 7 One One Palm, announced the ground breaking of the 5-story residential mid-rise took place on Tuesday, November 28th. Pilings and foundation work are now underway.

    7 One One Palm, designed by Sarasota’s Mark Sultana of DSDG, recognized leaders in contemporary architecture and luxury custom homes, offers distinctive floor plans ranging in size from 2,025 -2,124 square feet under air.  Located in one of downtown Sarasota’s most desirable residential neighborhoods on South Palm Avenue, all residences feature 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, a west-facing terrace, 10ft. ceilings, Bosch appliances with gas cooking, Hans Grohe and Kohler fixtures, imported cabinetry from Cucine Ricci and oversized porcelain tile floors.

    Community amenities include garage parking, conditioned storage, oversized pool, spa, private cabanas, fitness center, gas grills, fire table and a Paw Park with convenient pet grooming station. Five of 7 One One Palm’s residences are now under contract, with 11 available for sale - priced from $1,049,000 to $1,299,000.

    "We are excited to bring a new boutique community to South Palm Avenue,” says DiPinto. “7 One One Palm is a great alternative to the larger buildings in commercial centers that we now see going up downtown. Both our buyers and Realtor partners recognize how special our walkable residential location is; they value our intimate scale, floor-through residences, and semi-private elevator foyers which provide the intimacy of a single home. Of course, everyone is also excited about the many benefits that come with the purchase of a new construction home."

    Seaward Development is recognized for their successful Lido Key Project, Park Residences of Lido Key - as well as the many custom homes they have built over the past twenty years. The company is managed by Patrick DiPinto and his partner, David Hargreaves, a former Fortune 500 CEO. Seaward also recently opened a new office located at 53 South Palm Avenue in downtown Sarasota.

    Seaward’s team for this project includes consultant, Brian Jones, of Jones Development Company. Jones has over 20-years of real estate development and construction experience having been involved in over 200 real estate projects during that time. One of Florida’s premiere builders, GATES Construction, has been appointed the general contractor. With offices in Bonita Springs and Sarasota, GATES is a full service general contracting firm providing construction management and design-build services with a diversified project portfolio in all types of commercial, institutional, industrial, healthcare, and multi-family construction projects. They also operate in North Carolina and the Republic of Panama.

    Construction of 7 One One Palm is expected to take 12-14 months with completion planned in late 2018/early 2019.


  • 30 Nov 2017 5:55 PM | Anonymous

     Mullet's Aluminum Products, Inc. Receives Award of Excellence

    For the 11th consecutive year, Mullet's Aluminum Products, Inc. received the Aluminum Association of Florida's 2017 Awards of Excellence at the association's annual board meeting held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, FL. Mullet's Aluminum received awards in two categories—Railings for fabrication and installation of aluminum stairs installed at Fruitville Elementary in Sarasota, FL. (the architect of record for the project was Sweet Sparkman and the general contractor was Jon F. Swift, Inc.) and Miscellaneous Metals for the fabrication and installation of a custom aluminum trellis at the Wyndham Resort on Clearwater Beach (the general contractor was MOSS Construction)

  • 30 Nov 2017 5:41 PM | Anonymous

    Surety Broker Agency, Guignard, Gains New Senior Account Executive Eileen Heard joins Guignard’s account service department after 27 years  servicing the Tampa Bay area.  

    Orlando, Fla. – Surety bond broker, Guignard, hires Eileen Heard as the company’s newest senior account executive. Having serviced accounts throughout Florida and the southeast for over 25 years, Heard brings a wealth of experience to the Guignard team. 
    As a seasoned account executive, Heard has worked with accounts of all sizes, including accounts with multi-million dollar contract and commercial bond needs. In 1990, Heard began her surety career with the Joseph U. Moore agency in Tampa.  Most recently with Willis Towers Watson, formerly Willis, Heard has also contributed her surety brokerage skills to companies across the Tampa Bay area, including Aon Risk Services and Lykes Insurance, Inc. For more than two decades, Heard has worked directly with clients, supervising contract bonds, implementing necessary procedures and ensuring commercial surety needs are achieved. 
    As a top surety bond agency in Florida, Guignard provides both contract and commercial bonds to businesses across the state. Heard’s combined experience and skills in surety bond brokerage are a great addition to Guignard’s team of industry-leading professionals. 
    About Guignard Celebrating 40 years in business, Guignard provides quality surety bond solutions and programs that are tailored to your company’s unique needs. With Guignard, you gain a truly valued partnership, fierce advocate and trusted partner there for you every step of the way. Guignard: An Uncommon Bond.

  • 09 Nov 2017 6:05 PM | Anonymous

     HALL ARCHITECTS Hires Director of Operations and Senior Project Manager

    Frederick Koenig has joined Hall Architects of Sarasota as a Director of Operations and Senior Project Manager.  With over 21 years of professional experience, Fred will provide senior leadership and will oversee the firm’s workflow, architectural standards, and quality control.

    Fred’s expertise ranges from educational institutions to affordable housing, municipal and commercial facilities, religious buildings, and private custom residences. He is experienced in all phases of the building design and construction process, including existing building survey, schematic design, design development, construction detailing, consultant coordination, contract administration, specifications, and quality control review.

    Before relocating to Florida, Fred worked as a Senior Project Manager specializing in educational design, and as an Office Manager, with a large architectural firm in New York. He was past president of the AIA Central New York Chapter and served as a board member on the Education Committee. Fred holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Architecture from Clemson University.

    HALL ARCHITECTS is a multi-disciplinary architecture firm specializing in creative solutions which contributes to our community’s rich cultural heritage; helps to foster business growth; and enhances our clients’ passions to live, work, and play. The firm has rich and varied experience with all types of public and private sector projects. We believe design excellence arises from a gauged response to every factor affecting development including: physical, social, environmental, regulatory, and financial considerations. Mastering these elements inspires project-specific solutions for distinctive architecture that celebrates the art and craft of design and construction regardless of scale. For more information, call 941.917.0883 or email us at

Gulf Coast Builders Exchange is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. Copyright © 2017. All Rights Reserved
8433 Enterprise Circle, Suite 120
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
Telephone (941) 907-7745
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