For nearly 40 years, Ken and Linda McGurn have been major players in developing and revitalizing downtown Gainesville.
They have owned much of the real estate in the district, including the Sun Center, Department of Corrections building and a downtown parking garage. But now, they are passing the torch to a new developer.
Tuesday, the McGurns closed on a package sale for eight properties priced at $22.2 million. The sale includes the Sun Center, a downtown parking garage, 32 units in the Palm Condominiums, offices in Union Street Station, the DOC building and Midnight Cafe. The garage is at 210 SE 2nd Ave., across from Union Street Station.
In the past two years, the McGurns also have sold the parking lot in front of the Hippodrome State Theater, the Wells Fargo building and Oakbrook Walk Condominiums to the same developer, Mordechai Boaziz of Maverick Investments, for at least another $8 million.
Boaziz did not return calls to The Sun for comment. He is from Miami and is also part of GNV City Center LLC, which was incorporated in May, records show.
In 2016, Ken McGurn ran an unsuccessful campaign against Ted Yoho, R-Gainesville, for Congress District 3, which includes Alachua and Marion counties. Yoho gained 56 percent of support throughout the district to 39.7 percent for McGurn. McGurn, however, won Alachua County voters over by gaining 56 percent support.
In an email, Ken McGurn said the properties were a bulk deal and the group did not haggle over individual property prices.
Linda McGurn, 65, cited age as one of the leading factors that led to the sale. Ken McGurn is 71.
“It just seems like time,” Linda McGurn said. “It’s been a long time.”
The couple still own several properties in the downtown area and will keep their office in the Sun Center office for at least the next five years, Linda McGurn said. They also still hold interest in other developments around Gainesville, including spaces in a parking garage across from an empty lot often referred to as Lot 10.
She said she still remembers the first properties the two bought in downtown — Rockey’s Dueling Piano Bar at 112 S. Main St. — in 1980 and said the new developer will bring new ideas to the development. Already established businesses in the Sun Center won’t be affected by the sale, she said.
“(Boaziz) is real happy with our tenants,” she said.
Nathan Collier, owner of The Collier Companies, a local investment and development group, has been close friends with the McGurns for almost 40 years and said he was aware the couple were looking to sell a bulk of their properties.
Collier, 65, who owns Arlington Square in downtown, a property the McGurns developed, called the recent sale a “changing of the guard.” However, he said he doesn’t think Boaziz will have much free space for additional developments.
“Ken and Linda have an extraordinary love for downtown Gainesville and it will be difficult to find anybody that loves it that much,” he said.
In an email, Ken McGurn said it was time for “new energy” to take downtown Gainesville to the next level.
“They plan on investing heavily in the downtown and are considering a new six-story hotel or mid-rise condominium,” he wrote. “They intend to bring more restaurants and activity to the area.”
Contact reporter Andrew Caplan at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AACaplan.