Tampa’s oldest wooden cigar factory opening as Ybor City apartments

TAMPA — Interior walls are still being painted, scaffolding surrounds the exterior, and some amenities await installation, but restoration of Tampa’s oldest wooden cigar factory and its conversion into an apartment building is nearly complete.

“Just the finishing touches now,” said Ariel Quintela, who along with business partner Darryl Shaw is the developer.

On May 1, after over three years of construction, the 32,000-square-foot, three-story structure built in the late-1800s at what is now Palm Avenue and 19th Street will open as the Angel Oliva Sr. Apartments.

The finished apartment complex will be as historically accurate as possible, Quintela said.

“We wanted to use as much as the actual material of the building as we could. When we couldn’t, we made it look real.”

Here are some examples:

Moldings and shutters on all 167 windows are original, as are 40 percent of the exterior sidings.

The original front door, once tossed in the trash as unsalvageable by a construction crew, was retrieved and restored.

The first floor’s interior stairway balusters date to the factory’s opening and the rest are exact replicas.

The entire structure has hardwood floors, but not enough of the original boards remained intact. So the developers used what remained and purchased wooden flooring that’s just as old, from a torn-down, 130-year-old building in Tennessee.

Even the new baseboards were designed to replicate the originals.

“Why not go the extra mile?” Quintela said.

The once wide-open factory floors are now sectioned into 38 apartments, each from 600 square feet to 1,200 square feet. Renters will be sought in the coming weeks.

Hillsborough County Property Appraiser records list the 2014 sales price for the factory at $780,000. Quintela wouldn’t reveal how much the partners have invested in the restoration, saying only, “It was worth it. We’re preserving history.”

Property appraiser’s records say the factory was built in 1885, but that’s wrong, said Tampa Bay History Center curator Rodney Kite-Powell. The first Ybor City cigar factory was built of brick, in 1886, Kite-Powell said. The first mention he found of the wooden factory is an 1899 Sandborn map — part of a series of street plans dating to the mid-1800s.

Most cigar factories from that era were wooden, not brick, Kite-Powell said, but they didn’t survive like the brick ones did. Aside from the Oliva factory, only one other made of timber still stands — the Salvador Rodriguez Co. at 402 22nd St. S. in Palmetto Beach. The building is a headquarters for Pilgrim Permocoat, manufacturers and distributors of adhesives.

“Those are the only glimpses we have left of that time,” Kite-Powell said.

The Oliva building was first inhabited by the R. Monne & Bro. cigar company and developer. Quintela said Cuban freedom fighter José MartÍ spoke there during his seventh of some 20 trips to Ybor City in the late 1800s to raise money for the island nation’s war of independence against Spain.

“Living here means you will live among history,” Quintela said.

Over the years, the factory was used by other tobacco companies, including Lopez, Alvarez & Co. Some of them rolled their own line of cigars as well as cigars for others, including the Swann family — namesake of the avenue that connects Bayshore and West Shore boulevards.

A “Home of Swann Cigars” sign was discovered under exterior siding on the Oliva building in 2015, though it was covered up again. Quintela said the developers soon will create a replica of it.

The apartments are named after Oliva Tobacco Co. because Oliva used it most recently and for the longest period. Founded in 1934, the Oliva Co. was a major tobacco supplier but didn’t make cigars and last stored its product in the building from the 1980s through late 1990s.

The Angel Oliva Sr. Building is one of a number of residential and commercial developments in the Ybor City area spearheaded by Quintela and his partner Shaw. Most prominent is the MartÍ building, with 100 apartments and 8,000 square feet of retail space at East Seventh Avenue and Nick Nuccio Parkway.

Quintela said they chose the names Oliva and MartÍ to help keep history alive.

“Our biggest quest is not building sticks and bricks. We live in one of the most historic cities in the country. We want to remind people of that while teaching them the stories.”

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Could virtual reality change Miami’s real estate industry? | Miami Herald

To most people, virtual reality is synonymous with a cool but unessential toy — the domain of video games, sci-fi movies and pop entertainments such as “Ready Player One.”

But as virtual reality matures and improves, a growing number of industries is finding creative uses for the technology. According to Entrepreneur, Walmart uses VR to train its salespeople. A 12-month study by Duke University found VR can help paraplegics with chronic spinal cord injury to restore locomotion. According to Endgadget, long lines of people waited to test drive new cars by Chevrolet, Ford and Honda at the 2018 North American International Auto Show using VR headseats. Royal Caribbean Cruises has designed some of their ships entirely on virtual reality.

Now the real estate industry is joining the VR craze. The national building contractor Suffolk Construction has opened a Smart Lab in its downtown Miami office, following other labs in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco and Tampa. All opened over the last year.

The lab uses technology such as a CAVE (Computer Aided Virtual Environment) room, in which clients don an HTC Vive headset to walk through a photorealistic 3D model of a future project that has been created from architectural blueprints and drawings. The CAVE also allows a group of people to explore a virtual environment together while wearing WorldViz VR 3D glasses.

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The effect is astonishing. You can walk through a work site to make sure the hallways are wide enough for construction materials and equipment; ride elevators from the ground floor to the roof of a project or step into a posh hotel room and change the color of the wallpaper or countertops with the click of a handheld controller.

“The basic concept behind the Smart Lab is that we can build it in pixels before we build it in brick and mortar,” said Joe Fernandez, vice president of operations for Suffolk Construction. “We take real-time decisions and put them in a 3D model so the client can immediately see the finished result. Instead of saying, ‘I hope it’s going to look this way,’ now it’s, ‘Here’s what it’s going to look like.’ This is game-changing technology.”

Other features of the Smart Lab include a Data Wall, comprised of nine large smart-board touchscreens, that provides predictive analytics and other information that can be used for ongoing and completed projects. The lab also offers clients live streaming feeds of their job sites; side-by-side comparisons of the construction phase at various stages; and a Huddlewall, a giant display surface for Lean pull planning meetings, which allow players from every aspect of the construction process — plumbers, electricians, painters — to compare notes and collaborate on their current project in real time.

A pioneer in the field

The software used by Suffolk in its Smart Labs isn’t proprietary. Earlier this year, for example, Plantation-based e-Builder was sold to a national firm, Trimble, for $500 million. But the labs are the culmination of the company’s trademark incorporation of technology into the construction process. According to a recent survey by Software Connect, only 6 percent of construction companies currently implement VR technology, although that number is expected to grow to 15 percent by 2020.

Fernandez declined to say how much each Smart Lab has cost to make, but he said Suffolk Construction reported revenue of just over $3 billion in 2017, and currently employs 2,000 people. The company was founded in Boston in 1982. The Miami office opened in 1994.

Recent projects that have employed Suffolk’s technological services include the upcoming 638-room Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino near Hollywood, which is due in summer 2019, and the mammoth new Royal Caribbean Cruises terminal at PortMiami, which is expected to be completed in October.

“There have been a lot of technology advancements in the last 10 years, but there hasn’t been a lot of drive to get those advancements into construction,” said Lance Dengerud, director of the Miami Suffolk Smart Lab. “Some developers have been a little skeptical about making the connection from a digital model into the physical world, but word-of-mouth from our clients is helping. The conversation is going from ‘What is this? It’s scary!’ to ‘This is what I want.’ ”

One of the true believers in Suffolk’s high-tech approach to construction is Edgardo Defortuna, president and CEO of Fortune International Group. His company collaborated with Suffolk in the design and building of the Jade Signature luxury condo tower in Sunny Isles Beach, which broke ground in 2013 and opened its doors on March 16. The futuristic structure, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, presented some unique construction challenges, including an underground parking garage 40 feet below sea level. The tower is also built at an angle, to maximize its exposure to sunlight.

“We knew Jade Signature would be an extraordinary undertaking and that a collaboration with Suffolk would be a cornerstone of the project’s development,” said Defortuna, whose sales team shipped virtual reality goggles to prospective Jade buyers during the preconstruction phase in 2016. “The result has exceeded every expectation.”

Smart Lab director Lance Dengerud (center) stands before the Data Wall at the new Suffolk Construction Smart Lab that opened this month. The lab allows architects and designers to visualize their projects in immersive 3D, make design decisions and spot potential problems before a single brick has been put into place.


Although the real estate industry has been slow to embrace technological advances beyond what smartphones and the internet provide, observers expect that to change soon. According to Inc.com, virtual reality will be the second biggest real estate trend in 2018, second only to blockchain technology, which powers Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency.

Beth Butler, president and general manager for Compass Properties Florida, said virtual reality could soon spill over to the real-estate-agent arena, allowing brokers to walk their clients through homes and condos without either of them leaving their house.

“The technology is still a little expensive right now, but it will become more mainstream,” Butler said. “Instead of having to fly someone down from New York to show them a property, they can see it from their home. It beefs up the viewing experience and makes you feel like you’re actually there. I’m seeing a lot of investment in this technology.”

Rene Rodriguez: 305-376-3611, @ReneMiamiHerald

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Loyola’s loss proved no one is safe from the Crying Jordan meme

Loyola-Chicago’s magical NCAA tournament run came to and end Saturday evening in Chicago, as Moe Wagner and Michigan overturned a 10-point deficit to win going away, 69-57. In doing so, Michigan became the first team to reach the national championship game without facing a top-5 seed.

Loyola won the hearts of fans nationwide, and the team’s 98-year-old chaplain Sister Jean became an internet phenomenon over the course of March Madness. Sister Jean was a frequent target of TV cameras Saturday, but she left the court late in the second half after Michigan had taken the lead (though she returned to greet players after the game ended.)

Because Twitter is Twitter, even Sister Jean’s heartbreak was reduced to a Crying Jordan meme.

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Rambler from ’49 team loving Loyola’s run

CHICAGO — Sister Jean may have most of the Loyola’s spotlight during the team’s road to the Final Four.

But there’s someone far less famous but certainly as passionate about the Ramblers.

Norman Buxbaum, 88, played on the 1949 Ramblers’ NIT team when that tournament was the most prestigious in the country.

After upsetting Cincinnati, Kentucky and Bradley, they lost to the University of San Francisco by 1 point.

Say hello to 88-yr-old Norman Buxbaum who played on the 1949 NIT team that lost by 1 point to USF. He’s as sharp as can be and a real Chicago treasure just like #Sr.Jean More at 6 pm on #WGNNEWS #LoyolaRamblers #whatAguy! pic.twitter.com/679CGcGogB

— Patrick Elwood (@patrickelwood) March 26, 2018

Norman played guard and forward for the Ramblers after graduating from Crane High School on the city’s West Side.

The ninth child born to his mother and father.

Coming off the Cubs World Series win of 2016, there’s nothing more that Buxbaum would love to see than a Loyola championship in 2018.

“It’s just fantastic!” he said.

Meanwhile, on campus, anything maroon and gold is in high demand and the staff at the bookstore have been working overtime just to keep the shelves stocked.

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HFF Announces $110.5M Sale of and $76M Financing for 900-unit Apartment Community in Bradenton, Florida

TAMPA, FL – Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P. (HFF) announces the $110.5 million sale of and $76 million acquisition financing for Carlton Arms of Bradenton, a 900-unit, garden-style apartment community in Bradenton, Florida.

The HFF team marketed the property on behalf of the seller, a joint venture between The Mahaffey Apartment Company and Brighthouse Life Insurance Company. MetLife Investment Management advised Brighthouse on this investment. FLF Holdings purchased the offering free and clear of existing debt.

Additionally, HFF worked on behalf of the new owner to secure the 10-year, fixed-rate loan through Freddie Mac’s CME Program. The securitized loan will be serviced by HFF, a Freddie Mac Multifamily Approved Seller/Servicer for Conventional Loans.

Built in 1980, Carlton Arms of Bradenton has been owned and managed by The Mahaffey Apartment Company for 38 years. The property is located on a peninsula overlooking the Braden and Manatee Rivers at 5200 Riverfront Drive, and is one of the only waterfront multi-housing rental communities in the Sarasota/Bradenton MSA. The property comprises a variety of efficiency, studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans averaging 880 square feet with a majority of the units featuring water views and large outdoor patios or balconies. Carlton Arms also features 12,519 square feet of 100-percent-leased retail space. Community amenities include two waterfront pools, two lighted tennis courts, two basketball courts, two clubhouses, a fitness room, on-site dog park, four guest suites for visitors, covered parking and five boat docks containing 50 boat slips.

The residential units are 99.7 percent occupied.The HFF investment advisory team included senior managing director Matt Mitchell and director Zach Nolan.HFF’s debt placement team consisted of managing director Elliott Throne.

“The borrower benefitted from a very aggressive Freddie Mac financing structure within the Green Up program that will allow them to effectively execute their renovation strategy on an asset that provides a truly unique waterfront lifestyle to its residents,” Throne said.

About The Mahaffey Apartment Company
Established in 1962, The Mahaffey Apartment Company is a family enterprise that specializes in developing, building, managing and owning large apartment communities. The goal of the company is to own these real estate developments as a long-term investment. The Florida-based firm has developed, built and managed 21 properties with 16,825 individual apartments in Florida and Indiana. Over the years the company has sold 7,515 rental apartments in 10 different locations. The company is distinguished by the total involvement of its principals in the creation of each community from initial site selection through architectural planning, construction and marketing.

About Brighthouse Financial
Brighthouse Financial (Nasdaq: BHF) is a major provider of annuities and life insurance in the U.S. Established by MetLife, Brighthouse Financial’s mission is to help people achieve financial security by offering essential annuity and life insurance solutions designed to help protect what they have earned and help ensure it lasts. Learn more at brighthousefinancial.com.

About FLF Holdings
FLF Holdings is a real estate development and management company targeting quality income producing real estate assets and unique development opportunities. The company’s core mission is to acquire and develop projects it can be proud to live in, live around and be a part of. FLF is dedicated to affecting a positive change through responsible real estate strategies for all stakeholders, including its tenants, neighbors, community and investors. FLF, together with its affiliates, owns a diverse portfolio of over two million square feet consisting of industrial, retail, office and approximately 2,500 apartments. In addition, it operates a management company in Chicago called Crossroads Partners with a portfolio of over four million square feet. FLF has offices and affiliates in Florida, Texas, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania. For more information, visit flfholdings.com or xr-partners.com.

About HFF
HFF and its affiliates operate out of 26 offices and are a leading provider of commercial real estate and capital markets services to the global commercial real estate industry. HFF, together with its affiliates, offers clients a fully integrated capital markets platform, including debt placement, investment advisory, equity placement, funds marketing, M&A and corporate advisory, loan sales and loan servicing. HFF, HFF Real Estate Limited, HFF Securities L.P. and HFF Securities Limited are owned by HFF, Inc. (NYSE: HF). For more information, please visit hfflp.com or follow HFF on Twitter @HFF.

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Engineer Reported Cracks on Miami Bridge Days Before Collapse

Two days before a new pedestrian bridge collapsed in Miami, killing at least six people, one of the project engineers called a Florida transportation official to report cracks in the structure.

The official didn’t hear that call until after the bridge collapsed.

The Florida Department of Transportation released on Friday a transcript of a Tuesday voice-mail message from an engineer with FIGG Bridge Engineers Inc., the Tallahassee, Fla., company that designed the bridge for Florida International University over an eight-lane road.

“Calling to, uh, share with you some information about the FIU pedestrian bridge and some cracking that’s been observed on the north end of the span,” the engineer said, according to a transcript of the call. “Obviously some repairs or whatever will have to be done but from a safety perspective we don’t see that there’s any issue there so we’re not concerned about it from that perspective although obviously the cracking is not good.”

The transportation agency said the state employee whom the engineer tried to reach was on assignment and didn’t hear the message until he returned to the office Friday, a day after the bridge collapsed.

“The responsibility to identify and address life-safety issues and properly communicate them is the sole responsibility of the FIU design build team,” Florida Department of Transportation said in a statement, adding that at no point was the department alerted to any life-safety issues.

FIGG said in a statement that “the evaluation was based on the best available information at that time and indicated that there were no safety issues.”

The $14.2 million bridge suddenly collapsed Thursday afternoon crushing eight cars underneath more than 900 tons of concrete. Its main 174-foot span had been lifted into place on March 10 in a matter of hours, after being built alongside the thoroughfare over the course of months.

Florida’s Transportation Department said one of its consultants met with members of the bridge engineering team Thursday midday at which point no concerns were raised about life-safety issues, the need for additional road closures or requests for any other assistance.

Lawmakers have provided differing accounts of what was happening on the bridge when it collapsed. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) wrote on Twitter that the engineering firm building the bridge at Florida International University ordered on Thursday that the cables be tightened. “They were being tightened when it collapsed,” he wrote late Thursday.

Other elected officials, including the Miami-Dade County mayor, said they had been informed that a stress test was being conducted at the time of the collapse. University officials didn’t respond to a request to comment.

It wasn’t clear why officials allowed the road underneath the bridge to remain open during the time of the work, or why this work wasn’t scheduled for night hours, when there is little traffic.

“If it’s a critical stage in the construction, why would you keep traffic going under the bridge during that particular step?” said Ted Krauthammer, a University of Florida civil engineering professor who said he didn’t have direct knowledge of the incident.

The state Transportation Department said it never received a request to close the entire road. The department said it also wasn’t made aware by the FIU design build team of any scheduled “stress testing” of the bridge following installation.

The bridge was designed by FIGG and constructed by a Miami firm, Munilla Construction Management, or MCM.

Two federal agencies, local police and state attorneys are investigating the collapse.

A team from the National Transportation Safety Board should be on the scene for about a week, NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said. Mr. Sumwalt cited the 2007 collapse of the Interstate 35 bridge in Minnesota, which killed 13 people, as an example of the board’s expertise in catastrophic bridge collapses.

Juan Perez, director of the Miami-Dade Police Department, said his priority was recovering the bodies in the eight cars trapped beneath the rubble, saying he expected more bodies to be found.

Among the victims was Navaro Brown, 37 years old, who worked for Maryland-based Structural Technologies, said Mike Biesiada, a spokesman for the company. The firm supplies structural reinforcements and was at the bridge providing installation support for post-tension hardware, he said. Two other company workers were injured, he said.

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A video posted to Florida International University’s Twitter page on March 10, 2018, shows a recently-constructed pedestrian bridge before it collapsed.

Mr. Biesiada said he couldn’t provide details on what the three were doing at the time the bridge came down, citing the continuing investigation.

Write to Scott Calvert at scott.calvert@wsj.com and Valerie Bauerlein at valerie.bauerlein@wsj.com

Appeared in the March 17, 2018, print edition as ‘Work Under Way When Bridge Fell.’

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British prime minister: ‘Highly likely’ Russia behind spy poisoning

British Prime Minister Theresa May told members of the U.K.’s Parliament today that it was “highly likely” Russia was responsible for poisoning Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England earlier this month.

She said Skripal and his daughter Yulia were exposed to a military-grade nerve agent developed by Russia. They fell ill in Salisbury, England, last week after being exposed.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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Lingerfelt CommonWealth Acquires Buschwood III in Tampa, Florida – South Florida Business Journal

RICHMOND, Va., Feb. 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Lingerfelt CommonWealth Realty Partners, LLC, a Richmond, Virginia-based commercial real estate investment firm, today announced the acquisition of Buschwood III, a 78,453 SF class A office building in Tampa, Florida.

Buschwood III, located at 3350 Buschwood Park Drive, is within the Northwest submarket in suburban Tampa. The two-story office building recently received a substantial renovation and is approximately 86% occupied under long-term leases to a diverse group of credit tenants.

Lingerfelt CommonWealth will operate the office building via its vertically integrated operating platform. Commonwealth Commercial Partners, the Company’s property management affiliate, will handle all aspects of the day-to-day asset and property management.

More on Lingerfelt CommonWealth can be found on the web at www.LingerfeltCommonWealth.com.

Lingerfelt CommonWealth Partners, headquartered in Richmond, VA, is a vertically integrated, full service real estate investment management firm with additional offices in Charlotte, NC, Greensboro, NC, Greenville, SC, Hampton Roads, VA, Houston, TX, Jacksonville, FL, Nashville TN, Raleigh, NC, Reading, PA, and Tampa, FL. Together with its predecessors in the private sector and public REIT sector, its partners have built, acquired and managed nearly 20 million square feet of commercial real estate valued at approximately $2 billion of commercial properties across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. Learn more at www.lingerfeltcommonwealth.com

View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/lingerfelt-commonwealth-acquires-buschwood-iii-in-tampa-florida-300602165.html

SOURCE Lingerfelt CommonWealth Partners, LLC

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