The Rise of Commercial Real Estate in Downtown Pensacola
The revitalization of real estate in downtown Pensacola began a number of years ago and has recently accelerated to levels that havn’t been seen in generations. There are a number of factors that have added to this resurgence, such as the ECUA treatment plant being relocated, new developments regarding the Community Maritime Park, economic improvement, and local desire to be in an area where they can live, work and enjoy a variety of entertainment.
Update on Current Downtown Investments and Developments
- The most significant new development in downtown Pensacola is a planned $50 million mixed-use project that will encompass the entire city block where Pensacola News Journal used to be located, in downtown Pensacola. This development has an anticipated plan of 260 apartments and office and retail space on the ground floor. Developers apparently already have a waiting list for the residential units, one of the ground floor spaces has been pre-leased by a walk-in medical provider, and that they are seeking a small grocery store for one of the retailspaces. Demolition has just begun, the plans are currently before the Architectural Review Board. This project should be completed in 2016.
- Across the street plans are finalized and construction is set to begin in late Fall for brand-new, $15 million dollar YMCA that will replace their outdated building on Palafox Street.
- Another one of the most significant factors in the resurgence of Downtown Pensacola was the relocation of the Emerald Coast Utility Authority’s wastewater treatment plant from 19 acres of prime real estate in the heart of downtown to a location in northern Escambia County. This property will be critical in the future growth of downtown and was on the market for a little less than two years before Quint Studer recently purchased it for $5.2 million. At the moment, there are no development plans available for viewing by the public.
- A group led by local businessman Bobby Switzer has recently finalized the acquisition of an entire 4.5 acre city block in downtown Pensacola, with an excess of 200,000 square feet of commercial space within the historic buildings. $7.5 million is the total sale price, based on records from the county. Not all of the plans have been finalized and the renovations will take place over the course of a few years. However, it is worth a note that some of the vacant office space will be renovated first. The new owners intend to upgrade the ground floor restaurant and retail spaces and add residential units to some of the long-vacant floors.
- A group of hoteliers recently acquired a 0.70 acre site for $1.5 million and plan to fill that space with a five-story Holiday Inn Express. It is expected that plans will be turned in to the Architectural Review Board by the end of summer and the construction should be completed toward the end of 2016.
- One of Pensacola’s most prized local organizations is the Institute For Human & Machine Cognition. They broke ground on a 30,000 square foot expansion of their facility that will cost them over $7 million with an anticipated completion in the sping of 2016.
Other Downtown Pensacola Proposals
- It is reported that Space Florida has moved forward with the design of a 70,000 SF, $9 million dollar office building that will be anchored by a currently unidentified aerospace tenant. Space Florida is hopeful that construction will begin by early 2016.
- Five proposals were recently submitted to the Community Redevelopment Agency for the proposed purchase and development of Hawkshaw, the 2.2 acre site just north of Admiral Mason Park. A five-person committee was appointed to evaluate the proposals.
- Two major proposals currently sit before the Community Maritime Park Associates board to ground lease and develop the remaining available parcels. Studer Properties proposed leasing parcels with potential uses including improved training facilities for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, a daycare and a mixed-use building. A proposal from Miami-based MCM-BAP, LLC is to lease all of the other remaining parcels for a proposed $65 million development that will include retail, hotel, office, and multi-family space.
Each of these projects demonstrate the amount of private capital that is being invested for commercial real estate in downtown Pensacola, for all property types, from office and retail to multi-family and hospitality, which will continue the revitalization of the area and allow for more opportunities to capture the demand for a live, work and play community.
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About Chris Palmer – Chris has been working with commercial real estate in Pensacola, Florida since 2010. He primary specializes in working with commercial real estate clients on development and investment related properties. Click here to read his full bio, or if you would like to contact him, you can call him at 850-434-7500 or email him at [email protected]