BY JAMES A. JONES JR.
Once rare in Manatee County, state-of-the-art industrial space has been a hot commodity in recent years in the Bradenton area and across central Florida. Barron Collier Companies and Imminent Ventures announced this week they have begun construction of the Manatee County Logistics Center. It will be a 563,451-square-foot Class-A industrial park on the southwest corner of U.S. 301 and 44th Avenue East.
It’s also Barron Collier Companies’ first planned industrial development.
The campus-style project will feature tilt-wall construction, 32-foot clear heights and 54-foot column spacing.
Among other recent Class A projects completed, under construction or planned include:
▪ The Palmetto Industrial Park, a 427,000-square-foot-development on 40 acres at 830 17th St. E. Palmetto
▪ Benderson Development’s 2 million-square-foot Florida International Trade Port in Ellenton
▪ Harrod Properties’ Gatewood Corporate Center half million square feet of industrial flex space at Lakewood Ranch
▪ 301 Corporate Center at 5807 24th St. E. with two 208,000-square foot buildings on 16 acres, just west of U.S. 301
▪ SRQ Logistics Center south of Tallevast could have 1.5 million square-feet of industrial space when completed.
Barron Collier Companies was founded by Barron Gift Collier Sr., who made his fortune in streetcar advertising. Collier County and Barron Collier High School in Naples are named for him.
When Barron Collier died at age 66 in 1939, he was the largest landowner in the state of Florida.
After his first visit to Florida in 1911, Collier purchased Useppa Island for $100,000, and eventually acquired over 1.3 million acres of land in Florida.
“He brought the first telephone service, first railroad, first newspapers, and first bus company to this area. And, he constructed the Tamiami Trail through the Everglades from the Lee County to the Dade County line,” the Barron Collier Companies website says.
“Over the years, the Barron Collier Companies has grown from a land holding company to one of the largest diversified companies in Southwest Florida, with business ventures including extensive agricultural operations, commercial and residential real estate development, and oil exploration and mineral management,” the company website says.
Manatee county site sold; big centers coming
Sarasota Herald-Tribune | USA TODAY NETWORK
Two massive new warehouses are being built on a Manatee County par-cel off U.S.301 in Oneco.
According to commercial building permit applications filed with the county in late March, the two warehouses are being built on an 18-acre site in the southwest corner of U.S. 301 and 44th Avenue East, with an address of 47th Terrace East.
Manatee County spokesman Bill Logan confirmed that the two warehouses will cover 187,000 square feet and 188,144 square feet, respectively.
It’s not clear who the tenant is, Logan said. There’s no indication on the permits as to who it could be. But on the permits, both are referred to as distribution warehouses.
What is clear, however, is that the parcel recently changed hands. In late February, the previous owners of the property sold it for $7.75 million to Man-atee County Logistics Owner LLC.
That entity is registered to Barron Collier Companies at 2600 Golden Gate Parkway in Naples, which does land development, agricultural production and mineral management across the state.
An email sent to Barron Collier last week requesting more information was not returned. The company owns several commercial properties throughout Florida, including in Naples, and it’s also developing Ave Maria, a 4,000-acremaster-planned community in Collier County.
Close to the new warehouse property is the Beall’s corporate warehouse and distribution center at 2100 47th Terrace East in Bradenton.
Last year was a strong one for industrial real estate in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. The vacancy rate was 0.9% in the fourth quarter of last year, down from 2.9% the year before, according to statistics from MSC Commercial.
Rents were up 19% for industrial space in the fourth quarter, hitting $9.35 per square foot, compared to $7.85 in the same period in 2020.
Growth in e-commerce has led to the establishment of an Amazon delivery station in Manatee County at 7925 21st St. East. It opened in August 2020.
The Harllee family, who started farming in Manatee County shortly after the Civil War, and helped pioneer the Florida tomato industry, have sold the Harllee Packing House in Palmetto.
The 18-acre property at 2308 U.S. 301 N., sold for $6,750,000, according to the Manatee County Property Appraiser’s website. The buyer is Yue Zhou Development LLC, whose principal address is listed as the packing house property.
William M. Blalock of Wyman, Green & Blalock Real Estate, served as the seller’s broker. The seller was listed as Harllee Packing Inc. The registered agent was listed as John P. Harllee IV.
The packing house, located directly across the street from Feld Entertainment, has 121,180-square feet under roof, including cold storage facilities. The Bradenton Herald was unable to reach the new owner to ask her about her plans for the property.
The Harllee family, like many other farming families in Manatee County, have sold significant acreage to developers.
Heritage Harbour, Manatee County’ second largest master planned community, is being developed on 2,496-acres that was formerly the Harllee Ranch.
In 2015, Diane Ingram, Manatee County Agricultural Museum supervisor, wrote a History Matters column for the Bradenton Herald headlined “Peter S. Harllee: Builder of barns and Manatee’s tomato industry.”
Born in 1845 in South Carolina, Harllee served in the Civil War, briefly moved to Texas after the war, and finally settled in Manatee County in 1872, where his older brother, John Wardell Harllee was a mercantile store proprietor, selling horses, mules, and supplies to farmers on both sides of the Manatee River, Ingram reported.
“Peter began farming and around 1880 bought a plot of land north of downtown Palmetto on Highway 41 in Palm View. The property became known in the area as the Harllee “100,” Ingram said in her column.
“Peter built a two-story pole barn on the property. The exterior had stalls between each pole where mules were kept and the inside was used to store seed and fertilizer in the second story and feed and livestock supplies in the first story,” she wrote.
Harllee was one of the first commercial tomato farmers in Florida. The Harllee Barn, now on display at the Manatee County Fairgrounds, is a reminder of those pioneering days.
Over the years, several members of the Harllee family became elected officials in Manatee County.
A descendant, Peter S. Harllee Sr., joined his father, John Pope Harllee and his brother, J. P. Harllee in the family business in 1932, when he was 19.
“The Harllees grew tomatoes all over the county, including where the county jail is now located at Port Manatee, according to a Bradenton Herald story in 2003, when Mr. Harllee died at 89.
For his farming and civic contributions, Mr. Harllee was inducted into both the Manatee County Agriculture Hall of Fame and the Florida Agriculture Hall of Fame. He was named Manatee County Man of the Year in 1990 and served as first chairman of the board of the Manatee County Agriculture Museum.
“He is the last of the generation that built the industry and engendered the respect of the community for this industry,” Jay Taylor of Taylor-Fulton said in 2003 of the passing of Mr. Harllee.