The Case for Maple Street Biscuit Company & Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group
When a business looks to buy or sell real estate, or expand its presence in a new market, they look for a commercial real estate broker. Brokers have personal knowledge of this new market and understand the nuances involved in finding a new location for their business. Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group has been helping businesses expand their presence in north and central Florida markets through their tenant representation service. Front Street has also been helping landlords successfully lease or sell their real estate properties through their landlord representation service. Front Street has also been assisting businesses with commercial property management and commercial insurance services for a combined total of over 25 years throughout north and central Florida. This experience allows us to create personal relationships with each client and take a custom approach to best serve each client with their real estate needs.
Maple Street Biscuit Company
Founded on the idea of making a difference in the community it serves, Maple Street Biscuit Company began in Jacksonville in 2012. Specializing in comfort food with a modern twist, Maple Street is known for its signature biscuit sandwiches and gracious, friendly service. They currently have nine locations in Florida and two in Tennessee.
Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group
Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group is a boutique, full service, commercial real estate service firm offering its clients brokerage, leasing, property management, insurance and mortgage banking solutions. As Gainesville’s only full-service commercial real estate firm, Front Street leverages the experience of our specialized and collaborative team to impact our community through investment in cause-related organizations. Our specialization allows us to bring about better results for our clients. Ten percent of our commission revenue from every transaction we close is given to a local cause-related organization on behalf of the client.
Background: Maple Street & Front Street
The dialogue between the two companies began in 2014 when Maple Street inquired about an active listing of Front Street’s in Gainesville, Florida. However, the Maple Street team declined to engage in a transaction on that particular listing at that time. But the dialogue didn’t stop there. Because of a listing inventory expanding into Tallahassee, Jason J. Hurst, MBA, Associate Director of Front Street, was able to start a conversation about a site in the Tallahassee market, a market that was also on Maple Street’s expansion radar.
Other Front Street Projects
Front Street’s real estate acumen, regional expertise, and strategic relationships all converged in 2011 as the company leveraged a multifaceted approach with Esplanade at Butler Plaza in Gainesville. Originally developed in 1975 by Clark Butler, the namesake of Butler Plaza, Esplanade is the center of more than 1,000,000 square feet of retail space in the Plaza. The property was purchased by Regency Windsor in 1982, with Regency acquiring the ownership interest in 2011.
Regency Windsor approached and retained Front Street to handle leasing of Esplanade. Soon after, the decision was made to start large scale renovations of the shopping center. Front Street provided extra value to the project through consulting and leasing.
Before 2011, Front Street cultivated a relationship with Regency Partners. As a leasing broker in Gainesville, Front Street used this gained knowledge to further cultivate a plan. With years of knowledge for the property and the market, Front Street advised Regency Windsor during the renovation. Part of their advisement included consultation on parking, facade and signage, and tenant synergy.
One of the first issues with Esplanade which Front Street was able to help ease was parking. Before renovations, the through road presented a barrier to customers between the parking lot and retailers. Front Street proposed re-adjusting parking for head-in parking along the entrance side except for Publix. This created a buffer for pedestrians crossing the through road and created more parking closer to tenant stores.
Facade & Signage
With an occupancy rate around 50 percent, Regency Windsor followed Front Street’s suggestions to begin a sweeping renovation initiative. Changes included:
- New color scheme
- New landscaping
- Sidewalk renovations
- Increased signage
The changes opened the space of Esplanade to have more open views of the storefronts and the structure as a whole, engaging and enticing customers to shop at Esplanade.
Even before working on the Esplanade revitalization, Front Street had personal knowledge of how the property worked within the local market. Esplanade’s corner space was the most visible for the entire property, facing one of the main roadways which connects all Butler Plaza. Under Front Street’s advisement, the decision was made to move the previous corner tenant, McAlister's Deli, down in Esplanade’s space. The new tenant brought in was a dynamic barbecue restaurant, 4 Rivers, popular in its other Florida locations.
When Front Street was retained for leasing Esplanade, only 50 percent of the center was leased. As renovations began, Front Street brought a specialized leasing approach which paid off as the property was 97 percent leased once completed. The key part of the leasing approach was introducing Regency Windsor, and the Gainesville market, to 4 Rivers. Front Street had an ongoing relationship with the Orlando-based barbecue restaurant, and scheduled a meeting between Regency Windsor and 4 Rivers. After this meeting, 4 Rivers signed a lease and became the new corner tenant in Esplanade.
Additionally, Front Street brought new tenants JoAnn’s Fabric, Guitar Center, CiCi’s Pizza, Cox Communications, Rent-a-Center, H&R Block, and Big Frog Custom Printing to Esplanade following renovations.
As with previous Gainesville property management transactions and Gainesville landlord representation services, establishing a trusted partnership early in Maple Street’s growth phase through their tenant representation service was foundational for Front Street. Through this time, Front Street used its comprehensive market knowledge and knowledge of development and property operations along with its relationship with Maple Street to bring the company’s first Tallahassee location, near Florida State University, to fruition.
Because of the success of that first site, they were able to open a second location in that market. Maple Street then engaged Jason once again to expand into the Gainesville Market. We leveraged our relationship with Butler Plaza to co-broker a deal on Archer Road in Gainesville. That too was a successful venture, which allowed them the opportunity to open their second location in Gainesville with the help of the Front Street team at Tioga Town Center. The Tioga Town Center Maple Street is the third location that Front Street helped Maple Street secure.
Taking the time to get to know Maple Street and their wants and needs on a personal level paid off for both companies. Since the initial meeting between the two companies, Front Street has been able to become a trusted advisor in the concept’s rapid growth. Front Street now holds an advisory role for Maple Street in markets such as Orlando, Tampa, Ocala, and even parts of Georgia.
“We are elated to partner with rapidly growing concepts like Maple Street Biscuit Company and aid in their efforts to be a household name throughout the Southeast,” Hurst said.
Whether we’re working with a locally owned small business or an established large public company, Front Street is guided by the same principles – integrity, professionalism, and attention to detail. Front Street provides more than retail space for lease Gainesville, FL businesses Companies in north and central Florida, like Maple Street, turn to Front Street’s team of professionals for unbiased, expert, real estate tenant representation. Our unparalleled knowledge of available lease and purchase space ensures that our clients will find the space that is right for their unique needs.
Additional Case Studies
The Transition of Esplanade
Serving under landlord representation services, Front Street advised and guided the owners of Esplanade to enhance their property, then controlled leasing on behalf of the landlord to bring national tenants, thus reviving the center.
The Story of Tioga Town Center
The evolution of Tioga Town Center showcases the management and leasing expertise of Front Street on behalf of our landlord clients.
Front Street leased on behalf of the former owner through landlord representation. We facilitated and co-brokered the sale of the property with CBRE, and we also advised and contributed to the collateral for this sale because the national firm greatly valued our local expertise and market knowledge.
We then ramped-up our marketing efforts once the sale was completed to the new owners, and we were eventually re-awarded leasing for the project. During this time, Front Street gained control of the property management for the center as well. We also exemplified our marketing capabilities with the creation of a drone video for the center.
Maple Street Relationship
We worked with Maple Street as a part of our tenant representation services.
Through the telling of the Maple Street story alone, Front Street helped Maple Street secure three locations in two markets, the newest of which is also at a property leased and managed by Front Street. This will also have a profound impact on the market because Maple Street will be the only breakfast spot west of Interstate 75 in our market.
The success of Maple Street was achieved through understanding its current utilization prior to expansion and helping it with budget and timing. Front Street's understanding of location requirements and site criteria allowed us to conduct initial searches and identify top property locations.