Company Blog

Commercial Real estate, it’s a tough area to navigate. How does a company find the best time to move on a piece of property? They get a spotter. Bob Dikman is not only a driver and race fan, he’s a spotter.

What exactly is a spotter? In the world of racing, the driver isn’t the only one responsible for getting to the finish line; he has an entire team behind him. The spotter is responsible for letting the driver know all important information, which may be happening just outside his eyesight. He is the air traffic control of all the influential voices on the headset, the one voice to help that driver safely transition from lane to lane and get safely and quickly across that finish line.

Bob has been a member of Porsche Club of America for 34 years. He races his own Porsche alongside legends in 48 Hours at Sebring. Not only has Bob seen the race track from behind the wheel, he is also a spotter in the oldest road race in America, 12 Hours of Sebring and the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“As a spotter you’re responsible for the safety of that driver, and it’s a pretty awesome responsibility. You don’t take that lightly,” recalled Bob.

“In a recent race a spotter didn’t call out an oncoming incident, and the driver made a mistake that should have been avoided. By missing just a few seconds of a race, a spotter could potentially be responsible for a critical injury to the driver. That’s a big responsibility especially in a race that’s going on for 24 hours. At the Rolex it’s required that you have a spotter. It’s the smartest addition to a race team as far as safety is concerned,” Bob added.

In the world of commercial real estate having a spotter on your side helps you make the safest and most well thought out decision about which property to buy. With the aid of a spotter you are able to see information which may be “just outside your eyesight.”

Any entrepreneur can pick out and buy a piece of property. Will that property be best suited for his needs? Will it be able to handle the growth that he’s anticipating? By having an SIOR like Bob on your team these questions have already been scouted out for you. In anticipation of an oncoming competitor your SIOR has chosen to move you into an up and coming neighborhood, which has more than ample space for future growth. There will be no blind passing, only guided decisions preplanned and well thought out.

In racing the driver really counts on everyone on the team, the spotter position has one of the most important bonds with the driver.

“Sometimes you’re up for 36 hours; it’s an endurance race, much like most commercial real estate transactions,” said Bob.

At the end of a race you want to finish with the trophy, in commercial real estate that trophy is the right piece of property. The client is going to be paired with the best fit for them, he’s going to be safer, he’s going to finish better, there’s a higher guarantee he’s going to finish with the right piece of property with the right amount of parking, with room to grow.

Photo Courtesy of Tampa Bay Business Journal

In its heyday, Hyde Park Village was the most chic shopping and dining destination in Tampa. Then the International Plaza came along to compete. Yet still, the Hyde Park Village aura is more unique and more authentically South Tampa. Seven blocks of retail and dining options are in the heart of one of the most desirable residential areas in all of Tampa Bay, and in many ways the soul is still alive.

Last fall when a new development firm stepped in and purchased the district, they said they weren’t going to change a thing until they did more research. The tenants were cautiously optimistic.

It is now owned by WS Development, one of the largest privately owned retail development firms in the country. They want to retain its charm, and obviously plan to breathe more life into the district. As I understand it though, they first wanted feedback from area residents and shoppers.

Since then, the management group has been very active promoting the local businesses and restaurants. As many are, I’m looking forward to seeing what they do to our South Tampa treasure. Send your thoughts to me at

After much anticipation, the I-4 connector is finally open. It makes travel and access to 22nd Adamo Drive easier (including our properties near Ikea). This alone makes it good news for Tampa businesses.

If you ask people in Ybor, they have noticed a considerable reduction in truck traffic, which they needed. Others, such as commuters heading east at the end of the day, believe it’s still quicker to take the Lee Roy Selmon to Kennedy. The traffic has probably been reduced by others taking the Connector.

In my opinion, it achieved a lot of the goals the project leaders hoped to achieve. I thought I’d recap the latest updates and general facts regarding the Connector.

Project Cost & Duration

The project totaled $487 million. About $105 million of that was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, allowing the project to begin construction in March 2010. It was completed almost four years later in January 2014. The remaining funds needed to pay for the project will be paid over time with traffic tolls.

Truck Traffic

Cargo traffic for the Port of Tampa Bay is supposed to use the “Truck Only” lanes of the Connector, to channel cargo to and from the Port without going through Ybor City. Access to the cargo lanes are provided from both directions of I-4.

Despite relatively light traffic during parts of the day, the FDOT reported at the end of January that the number cargo trucks using the Connector is averaging 1,600 per day since its January 6th opening. The FDOT has also calculated that about 19,000 vehicles are using the connector every day.

The Tolls

Overhead toll gantries on the highway eliminates the need for toll plazas, as Florida’s Turnpike is making such gantries standard for all new toll facilities. SunPass and the “We Bill You”/Toll-by-Plate program is utilized. The toll rate for trucks, regardless of direction, and cars traveling from westbound I-4 to westbound Selmon is $1.00 for SunPass customers and $1.25 for “We Bill You”/Toll-by-Plate. The toll rate for cars traveling from eastbound Selmon to eastbound I-4 is $0.50 for SunPass customers and $0.75 for “We Bill You”/Toll-by-Plate.

So, do you think it was worth the wait? Would you now be more interested in moving your business to, or staying in, the area near Ikea? Send your thoughts to me at

Rick Scott at Heat Pipe Technology

I had the pleasure of witnessing an act that will help Florida manufacturers as a whole. On Friday, May 17, Governor Scott signed a Manufacturers’ Sales Tax Exemption Bill at the site of one of our clients, Heat Pipe Technology in Oldsmar.

The bill offers a new sales tax exemption for Florida manufacturers that are purchasing machinery and equipment. The bill won’t take effect until April of next year, but some manufacturers are already moving forward based on the additional profit they’ll receive because of the tax break in 2014. QTM, a machined metal manufacturer in Oldsmar has already purchased two pieces of equipment and hired nine people since the bill was signed.

The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us Florida is home to nearly 18,000 Manufacturing establishments that employ close to 371,000 people. Florida’s Manufacturing companies have a total payroll of more than $18.0 billion and an average wage of approximately $48,630.

Think about it. If the majority of these companies increase their number of employees by as little as .5%, it will mean an additional 2,000 Florida jobs with above-average earnings. Good news for non-manufacturers as well since these new jobs will allow Floridians to spend more in restaurants, retail, travel, etc.


The Dikman Company is fortunate to be located in the heart of what Tampa residents know as ‘SoHo’, or South Howard, in historic Hyde Park. Hyde Park dates back to the 1880’s when railroad financier Henry B. Plant built the first bridge across the Hillsborough River at Lafayette Street (now John F. Kennedy Blvd.). Over the past several years, we watched this area, like all others, become crippled by the economy. Today, however, we are glad to report that the area is buzzing with new business and especially new apartment and hotel construction activity.

Near the corner of Swann and Howard, the epicenter of SoHo’s busy nightlife, Post Properties is underway with its construction of 231 apartments and 10,000 square feet of retail space. Apartments are said to average about 880 square feet in size and are scheduled for completion in early 2014.

A few blocks north of Kennedy Boulevard, NoHo Flats, a campus of over 300 apartments, is under construction for the Pollack Shores Real Estate Group.  The apartments will cater to the young professionals that are drawn into downtown Tampa by its offices and the surrounding nightlife.

At 319 Bayshore just south of the Platt Street Bridge, Crescent Resources is constructing a $68  million dollar, 500 unit apartment complex called Circle Bayshore. The amenities at the Spanish Eclectic-styled development include a two-story health club and a resort-style swimming pool. Apartments will have private balconies and full-sized washers and dryers.

Closest to The Dikman Company’s office and across the street from Bern’s Steakhouse, the 137 room Epicurean Hotel is also nearing completion.  The hotel, one in Marriott’s Autograph Collections, will be one of 34 in their high-end boutique resort collection. The resort will give gourmands and business travelers a luxurious food-themed dining and lodging experience, as well as a neighborhood bistro, spa, and bakery to visit. Construction is scheduled for completion prior to the 2013 holiday season.

With the economy digging out of a hole, housing starts are booming and people are beginning to feel more confident with their spending. It is good for us here at The Dikman Company to be in a place where we can physically see the return of confidence and the positive momentum that is also building along side these new construction projects.

Please feel free to send your comments and suggestions to



Bob Dikman races Porsches. It’s intense and exhilarating. Racing puts your mind and body on high alert and can be a great adrenaline rush.  After all, a mistake at 150 miles per hour is not the same as a mistake made while sitting at one’s desk. But for as much fun as racing is, Bob Dikman is equally passionate about being a spotter for TRG (The Racers Group) a Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series team owned by Kevin Buckler. TRG is one of the acknowledged leaders in sports car racing.  A spotter in auto racing is a trained team member whose job is to relay information to the driver, keeping him or her alert as to what is occurring on the race track, outside of the drivers own view. Spotters are typically positioned high above the track, atop one of the grandstands or other support buildings, with a bird’s eye view of the circuit. At the Rolex 24, Bob Dikman will spot standing above the tower.  Spotters keep in constant contact with their drivers, crew chief and owner via two-way radio communication while monitoring race control.  Spotters are considered the drivers’ “eyes in the sky”.  Lapses in a spotter’s concentration can have significant consequences to the team’s performance. In addition, the spotter also has to look out for his driver’s well being because when something happens on a race track, it happens in the blink of an eye.


The same can be said for managing The Dikman Company. Professional designations such as SIOR, CCIM, CRB, and ALC all convey the level of education attained so you are assured that your team member has the highest level of training. Bob’s job, much like that of a spotter, is to clearly relay information to you about a particular property or current economic condition, to keep you,  the client alert and current as to what is going on in the market.  Just as a driver must trust in his spotter’s ability to see the broad picture on the race track, clients must trust that his or her broker can see and anticipate changes in the road ahead.  He must be well trained in the art of careful attention and good communication.  A successful transaction is largely the broker’s responsibility, and having one with as much knowledge, training and ability as The Dikman Company, is the key to spotting good investments that will drive your financial success to the checkered flag.


My wife and I recently visited Auckland New Zealand. New Zealand is 18 hours ahead of Tampa’s Eastern Standard Time and so operating in the “future” was quite interesting for us.  The rest of the world is always trying to catch up with you.  To give you an idea of its size, New Zealand has 2 islands;  the south island, measuring about the same square miles as Florida and the north island, about 24% smaller than the South Island.  Both islands of New Zealand are home to 4.5 million people, while the greater Tampa Bay area alone has nearly 4.5 million people.

New Zealand’s economy is primarily agricultural with its 40 million sheep holding top honors in its revenue producing ability. Like Florida, tourism is vital to its economy.  People come from all over the world to visit its majesty and beauty.  Because the US dollar is worth 25% more in New Zealand than here, it’s a great time to visit. New Zealand’s population had been moving to Australia where the wages are higher, but with the strengthening economy, its population seems to be stabilizing.

Australia is about the size of the US but has only 26.5 million people; 7.5 million people fewer than the state of California. It lies 1200 miles west of New Zealand.  Most of Australia is desert so the majority of its residents live in or near Sydney.  Sydney is by far the largest city with about 4.6 million people.  Australia is growing and faces similar struggles as the US including illegal immigration.  Boat people seek asylum in Australia, and are frequently granted their wish, but like the US, the costs of caring for non-taxpaying citizens is beginning to take a serious toll on its budget. Citizens are becoming upset and concerned even though they are, like many in the US, sympathetic to the plight of the unfortunate.  However, Australian citizens are struggling with the costs and responsibility of supporting those who do not pay taxes.

Another very interesting fact that directly impacts US real estate prices now and into the future is this: Sydney, Australia, the second most expensive city to live in the world, and Auckland, one of the most livable cities in the world are experiencing a huge influx of capital from all around the world because both cities are considered safe havens.  You see, when you consider the 7 billion people living in the earth’s nearly 200 countries, only a few countries are thought to be safe havens; a place in which you can put your money and have it available when you desire.  With that said, the US has several cities that standout as safe havens:  New York, Washington, San Francisco, San Diego, Miami, Seattle, Boston, Los Angeles, and Houston. Interestingly, Australia loves the US and is a heavy investor. Have you ever been to a Westfield Mall?  Those malls are owned by a Westfield Group, based in Sydney, Australia.

Foreigners still consider the United States one of greatest countries on earth and one of the best places to invest; so do I.  We need to continue to work hard to be certain their faith in our country and our economy stays strong.

Using Synergy From Associations to Benefit Clients

Synergy is defined as ‘the combined effort being greater then the parts: the working together of two or more people, organizations, or things, especially when the result is greater than the sum of their individual effects or capabilities.’

Synergy is the reason that associations are founded. Together, the member benefit of professional growth and development is far greater in an association than as a single individual.  Because we are members of several associations, we tap into the 2 major ways professional growth occurs – continuing learning in our field through the presentations, workshops and conferences professional groups sponsor, along with networking with other professionals in our industry.

The benefits to our clients are easily recognized. We are informed and current about trends in our industry, not only on a local level, but a national and global level as well. We know the outlook for the economy and can advise our client so that the decision making process is easier and confidence levels are higher.

In short, we stay involved with our associations so we can present our clients with the most current and reliable information available.

For more information about our associations, you can visit them online.





There has never been a better time than NOW to reinvest in good properties and move forward with development of future commercial real estate. The current historically low interest rates and construction costs make it an ideal time to ‘reinvest’ in your business.  READ MORE »