A San Diego-based life sciences company focused on providing scientific and engineering services to the U.S. Department of Defense and Homeland Security is expanding to the East Coast by adding a second location to its operations. Paloma Azul, LLC, affiliated with Amaratek, has purchased a 33,846-square-foot industrial property located at 150 Douglas Ave. in Dunedin for $3.9 million.
With move-in to 150 Douglas Ave. planned for early 2024, Amaratek President David Dumas expects Amaratek’s expansion will bring 20 new high-paying jobs to the area. Amaratek plans to hire for program managers with defense contracting experience, machinists, welders, chemists, and engineers.
Heidi Tuttle-Beisner, broker-owner at Commercial Asset Partners (CAP) Realty represented the buyer in the real estate transaction. Brian Andrus of Stonebridge Real Estate/Andrus Development Group, represented the seller, Bridgeview Property Investments, LLC.
“This is a perfect example of companies from other states seeing the many benefits of living and operating a business in Florida,” said Tuttle-Beisner. “Life sciences companies have particularly been interested in the greater Tampa Bay area, and we’re thrilled to have found a property here that works for Amaratek’s needs. The City of Dunedin and Pinellas County really rolled out the red carpet to help bring Amaratek here.”
Originally founded in November 2002 to deliver research and development services to the U.S. Department of Defense and Homeland Security, Amaratek developed a biological system for the neutralization of chemical weapons and delivered a working system to the U.S. Army in March 2004. Later, Amaratek recognized it could also apply many of the skills and insights honed for military applications to civil government projects. Now, in addition to its focus on U.S. defense and security, Amaratek provides technical services to foreign governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and social entrepreneurs.
The industrial property in Dunedin is over three times larger than Amaratek’s building in San Diego. The building was previously used as a manufacturing space, so it met many of Amaratek’s electrical and plumbing requirements. A build-out is currently underway to meet the company’s additional needs, such as adding chemistry labs, a medium-scale chemistry manufacturing space and fencing to secure the yard.
“It’s very hard to do business in California,” Dumas said. “The manufacturing and real estate regulations are crippling. And those appear to largely go away with this move to Florida. Our hope is that expanding to Florida will allow us to set up manufacturing operations in a more business-friendly environment.”
As for why Dunedin and Pinellas County, Dumas cited the availability of the property on Douglas Avenue and assistance from Tuttle-Beisner, the warm welcome he received from the City of Dunedin and Pinellas County, family ties to the area and Tampa Bay’s workforce quality for specialized jobs. Amaratek also works closely with groups housed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
“We very much appreciate that Amaratek recognizes the value Dunedin brings for their expansion – from boating to the Blue Jays to the Pinellas Trail, and everything in between,” said Bob Ironsmith, economic development director for the City of Dunedin. “When companies like Amaratek come here, it helps put Dunedin on the radar for other high-quality companies looking to expand or relocate.”
“On behalf of Pinellas County, I am thrilled that Amaratek will be expanding into Dunedin and adding to our robust defense industry,” said Pinellas County’s director, Dr. Cynthia Johnson. “Pinellas’ ideal business climate offers all the right things that mission-critical companies need – a talented defense and manufacturing workforce, a cluster of the nation’s leading contractors, and technical and business assistance programs to help defense contractors expand. We look forward to helping the company succeed and grow.”
“Duke Energy is proud to support Amaratek’s expansion to Dunedin,”said Danielle M. Ruiz, director, industry recruitment, Florida economic development at Duke Energy. “Pinellas County, the City of Dunedin and Commercial Asset Partners Realty were a great team to join in our sharing of the many attributes that make this area ideal for scientific and engineering services within the defense sector. The evaluation of the building’s existing electrical infrastructure, along with providing an overview of programs and services offered through Duke Energy, locally and through the state, will support Amaratek’s ability to save time and money as they ramp up their new location.”
“A lot of satisfaction comes from knowing that our transactions improve the local area,” Andrus said. “The seller has moved into a larger location in Pinellas Park, where the current mayor welcomed them at their grand opening a few months ago.”
About Commercial Asset Partners Realty: One of the top mid-sized commercial real estate companies in the Tampa Bay area, CAP Realty handles leasing and sales of retail, office and industrial properties, along with helping clients with real estate investment sales and land transactions. Based in New Port Richey, Fla., Broker-Owner Heidi Tuttle-Beisner and her team have built a company that has the experience and resources to handle a wide range of assignments, while offering a high level of personal service for each client. For more information, see the company’s website at www.cap-realty.com.