March 2012

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Palm City Throws Party to Celebrate 100th Birthday

March 16, 2012

By Nicole Rodriguez, TC Palm

PALM CITY — Martin County business owners, politicians and descendants of Palm City’s pioneer families gathered at the Floridian on the St. Lucie River to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the community’s founding.

Johnny Leighton, 69, of Palm City recalled a time growing up when the area had 75 homes on 12 streets. Leighton’s ancestors came to the area in 1914 and are credited with building the first post office. They also donated land for the city’s first dance hall. Jock Leighton Park is named after the family’s patriarch.

Leighton stressed the importance of the celebration, hosted by the Palm City Chamber of Commerce. “It’ll be nice for the younger generations down the road to keep passing history along so people know about the pioneers,” Leighton said.

Leighton, who was honored during the celebration, also shared fond memories of growing up in the area.

“I was very fortunate to grow up with the pioneers,” said Leighton, whose father was Jock and grandparents were Charles and Rose Leighton. “Everyone knew each other.”

Peter Cummings, who now resides in Palm Beach County, received the Man of the Century Award by the chamber and event chairman Tom McNicholas. Cummings, who developed Martin Downs in the 1980s said the area had potential in the early days and has blossomed into a bustling city since his arrival in the 1970s.

“There was really nothing here. We built the sewer, roads and golf courses,” said Cummings, chairman of Ram Realty Services in Palm Beach Gardens. “We thought Palm City could develop into what it is today. I really love the area.”

The night’s attendees included billionaire Wayne Huizenga, state representatives Gayle Harrell and William Snyder and state Sen. Joe Negron, along with county commissioners Ed Ciampi, Doug Smith and Patrick Hayes.

The night ended with a fireworks display with the river as its backdrop. Dozens lined the Palm City Bridge for a good view.

Palm City residents Robert and Kim Johnson brought their children, Amelia, 12, and Sam, 10, to see the show.

“I like watching the fireworks,” Amelia said as the display began. “Everyone comes together to watch.”

Kim Johnson was happy to participate in the centennial celebration.

“It’s exciting that we live in a town that’s celebrating its 100th birthday,” Johnson said. “We love it here.”

Rich Atz and Wendy Younglove, both of Palm City, enjoyed the show from their prime spot on the bridge.

“It’s a beautiful night and a nice time to come out and see some fireworks,” Atz said.

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Ram Announces Rainbow Apparel Shop for Central Plaza

March 12, 2012

Ram announced today that Rainbow Kids will be opening at Central Plaza, a 74,600 square foot neighborhood shopping center west of downtown St. Petersburg, which brings the center to 100% leased.

The new 4,790 square foot location will feature kids, junior and plus size apparel, along with a dedicated shoe department. As a leader in popular priced apparel, Rainbow Kids, a division of Rainbow USA Inc. is a national chain that specializes in junior, kids, plus, and petite specialty apparel. Founded in 1935, Rainbow has grown to well over 1100 stores nation wide, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin islands. A Spring 2012 opening is planned.

Central Plaza is an urban center, located at the NE corner of 34th Street North (US Hwy 19) and Central Avenue, one mile from the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, FL. Other notable tenants include Goodwill, Citi Trends, Payless Shoes and Family Dollar. A new Walmart supercenter, US Post Office and Pinellas Suncoast bus terminal are across the street, further establishing the immediate Central Plaza location as a major retail destination.

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Ram Sells Final Parcel in Redeveloped Snellville, GA Site to Olive Garden

March 6, 2012

Ram has announced the sale of the final parcel in its redevelopment of commercial property on the northwest corner of Janmar Road and Scenic Highway in the heart of Snellville, Georgia.

Olive Garden ground-leased an outparcel from Ram and opened their full-service restaurant in December of last year. Ram sold the parcel last week for just over $2 million.

Ram acquired 6.5 acres of the development site from Home Depot, who previously operated a Home Depot Landscape Supply facility in this location. Ram subsequently acquired the adjacent former Lincoln-Mercury dealership from Group 1, unifying the property into an 11-acre commercial parcel.

Eight acres were sold to Academy Sports to construct one of their first stores in the Metropolitan Atlanta area. The site has been home to Academy Sports since June of last year. Ram executed all site improvements for Academy, Olive Garden and A & J Jewelers, who purchased the final portion of the development last June for the construction of their own store with additional space for other tenants.

“Our development of the site in Snellville shows the persistence and versatility of our team,” said Ram Chairman Peter Cummings. “We have been in the development business for over 30 years and savor opportunities such as this, where we can create value not only for our investors, but for the community. In Snellville, we took assets that were essentially shuttered, combined them and brought new energy to the neighborhood.”

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Ram Residential to Build $45 Million Apartment Complex

March 1, 2012

From Orlando Business Journal by Anjali Fluker, Senior Staff Writer

A South Florida developer wants to build a $45 million, 360-unit apartment complex in the Horizon West community — its first project in the Orlando area.

Palm Beach Gardens-based Ram Residential LLC, which operates several multifamily communities in South Florida, plans to buy a 21-acre site near Walt Disney World for an undisclosed price. There, it will develop the Residences at Lakeside Village later this year.

Avatar Properties Inc., which owns the land, wants Orange County permission to shift the project from townhomes to an apartment complex. If approved, Ram Residential will complete the land deal by April and begin site work by May, said Hugo Pacanins, vice president of Ram Residential. A general contractor has yet to be selected.

It’s one of many projects in the works as demand for new apartments grows. About 6,000 apartments were planned for the region as of September 2011, compared with 1,044 units in 2010, said Charlotte, N.C.-based apartment market research firm Real Data Inc.

Apartment vacancy rates in Orlando are slated to be 6.8 percent this year, down from 8.4 percent last year, while rents are expected to rise 3.1 percent to $883 per month, predicted real estate brokerage firm Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services.

Meanwhile, southwest Orlando — which includes Horizon West — is a hot submarket for residential and related commercial development, said Kyle Riva, president of Winter Park-based apartment developer Epoch Properties Inc., pointing to the area’s available land and proximity to theme parks as reasons for the growth.

Ram Realty Services and Orlando-based Boyd Development Corp. are building the 129,000-square-foot, $18 million Lakeside Village shopping center next to the apartment complex site.

The Orange County Commission is expected to approve the Residences at Lakeside Village plan at its Feb. 21 meeting.

The garden-style apartment complex will have a clubhouse with a fitness center and billiards room, a swimming pool, picnic tables, a tennis court, a tot lot and a dog park, said Karen McIntyre, project manager with Forum Architecture & Interior Design Inc. and Ram Residential’s architect. Rents will range from $950 to $1,600 per month.