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Orlando Sentinel Property Downtown Undergoes Redevelopment

29 Aug 2014, 3:43 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

The owners of two blocks in downtown Orlando have planned a major redevelopment. The land in question is currently leased to the Orlando Sentinel under a long term agreement, housing its offices and production facility.

The property, owned by an affiliate of Chicago-based Tribune Media and managed by Tribune Real Estate Holdings LLC, is located between Colonial Drive and Amelia Street along North Orange Avenue. It is also home to an engineering firm and a media & design company.

The recently filed master plan calls for two phases of residential and commercial development, bringing apartments, offices, shopping destinations and a hotel to the area.  Groundbreaking, however, is not due to happen in the next couple of months as the plans and the traffic impact study have yet to be reviewed by city planners before being put to a vote by the Municipal Planning Board and by the City Council, the newspaper reports.

According to plans submitted by Kimley-Horne Associates Inc., the first phase includes the construction of 318 apartments, 140,000 square feet of office space, about 28,000 square feet of retail and a garage with a capacity of 910 vehicles on the parcel closest to the Orange County Courthouse.  In its current state, it serves mostly as a surface parking and has three relatively small office buildings on it. The second phase calls for another 428 rental units, a 144-room hotel as well as office, retail and parking spaces on the southern block. According to the Sentinel, conceptual plans show multiple buildings of four or five stories.

Image of the current Orlando Sentinel headquarters, courtesy of Google Maps


Trader Joe’s Buys 76-acre Brownfield Site for Distribution Center

22 Aug 2014, 9:01 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

Approximately 76 acres of land located on the east side of Interstate 95 changed hands recently, Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co. announced.

Although the company did not name the buyer in the announcement released on August 15, the Orlando Business Journal learned that Trader Joe’s East Inc. had the property under contract for several months as it finalized plans and incentives to build a new regional distribution center in the Aero Park Brownfield Area.

Consolidated-Tomoka reported the transaction was worth close to $7.8 million. This translates to $103,000 per acre resulting in an estimated gain at closing of approximately $3.8 million. An additional gain of approximately $400,000 will be recognized as certain road improvements are completed over the next six months. As part of the seller’s contractual agreement with Trader Joe’s, the Daytona Beach-based real estate firm proposed to prepare the pad site for vertical construction, costing around $2.1 million. In connection with this deal, Consolidated-Tomoka received $400,000 from the CEO Business Alliance as reimbursement for a portion of the pad site costs.

According to the Business Journal, the buyer plans to build an $80 million, 800,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center as part of the grocer’s growth strategy in Florida. The facility will service current and future grocery stores, bringing 450 jobs to the area with an average wage of $40,075. Additionally, 100 related wholesale transportation/logistics jobs will be created.

Image source: traderjoes.com

Equus Affiliates Pick Up Three Central Florida Communities

12 Aug 2014, 4:05 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

Village at East Lake, Village at Lake Ned and Village at Park Road in Central Florida recently changed hands. The 710 units in total were sold to companies associated with Equus Capital Partners, Ltd. by affiliates of Oculus Development LLC and Alex. Brown Realty Inc.

Equus says it will invest around $4 million to improve the portfolio, according to a statement in the real estate fund manager’s recent announcement. Apart from rebranding the communities, the company’s purpose is to upgrade the interiors by adding new appliances, countertops, cabinets, flooring, lighting and fixtures; improve the existing common amenities and complete the array with dog parks at each property.

The buyer’s multifamily operating arm, Madison Apartment Group L.P. will manage the communities along with more than 70 other Equus properties totaling over 17,00 units. The rebranding process starts with changing the names of the properties and Village at East Lake becomes Madison Clermont, Village at Lake Ned is to go by the name of Madison Lake Ned whilst Village at Park Road will be called Madison Park Road under the new management. The garden style apartment communities all include a mixture of one, two and three bedroom homes plus a number of onsite amenities such as fitness centers, playgrounds, pools and sports courts.

The acquisition was made on behalf of BPG Investment Partnership IX, L.P. (Fund IX), Equus’ $310 million private equity fund and 95 percent of the total units were occupied at the time of closing.

Photo credits: Village at East Lake

BRG Takes Stake in Town Park’s Residential Component

1 Aug 2014, 3:53 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

Bluerock Residential Growth  REIT (BRG) has announced its plan to co-invest in the apartment community that will be developed as part of the Publix-anchored master-planned mixed use development called Town Park in Orlando.

The estimated cost to complete the development is $37 million and BRG expects to invest up to $4 million of preferred equity with the ability to convert into a common equity position following stabilization of the development. Catalyst Development Partners, the developer, will contribute approximately 15 percent of the required equity. Affiliates of Bluerock Real Estate LLC control the remaining equity in the development.

“By converting land designated for office use to residential use, Bluerock was able to achieve a below market land basis for the project, allowing a $10,000 – $15,000 per unit cost advantage,” says Ramin Kamfar, chairman and CEO of BRG.

The 296-unit Class-A property located in close proximity to the University of Central Florida will feature upscale one- and two-bedroom units averaging 722 square feet for a one bedroom unit and 1,118 square feet for a two bedroom floor plan. Plans call for a  so-called “e-urban” architectural design, meaning a slightly higher density than traditional garden-style communities. The unit and community finishes and amenities, however, are designed to be of superior quality for market in order to provide a high-end alternative to garden-style living. The community will include surfaced parked.

The developers expect that the design and the amenities combined with the favorable location directly adjacent to Central Florida Research Park will attract the area’s young and upwardly mobile residents,” according to a press release issued about the project. The site is also close to other major employers as well as numerous retail projects such as Quadrangle Office Park or the Waterford Lakes Town Center.

Image source: townparkshoppingcenter.com

Ramada Kissimmee Maingate West Rebrands

18 Jul 2014, 5:33 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

Ramada Kissimmee Maingate West joins the Magnuson Grand Hotel brand, a recent written announcement released by Magnuson Hotels reports. Following the rebranding procedure, the name of the facility will change to Magnuson Grand Hotel Maingate West.

Headquartered in London and Spokane, Wash., Magnuson Worldwide is a hotel services organization. Its holdings include Global Hotel Exchange, CRS1 and Magnuson Hotels – an independent hotel group. Founded in 2003, Magnuson Hotels represents almost 2,000 individually owned and operated hotels with assets in excess of $6.75 billion. The company’s Magnuson Grand Hotels brand offers upscale level hotels and resorts.

The affiliation with the hotel chain comes with the benefit of global brand representation, a larger exposure locally, regionally and nationally as well.

“We are proud to welcome Bruce Jones and his entire staff, and are fully committed to increasing their visibility and reservations,” says Magnuson Worldwide CEO Thomas Magnuson.

Magnuson’s global portfolio includes around 2,000 hotels. Magnuson Hotels’ hotel reservation network also includes 650,000 GDS travel agents, over 2,000 internet booking channels such as Google, Facebook, Expedia, Hotels.com, Priceline, Global Hotel Exchange, and all major airline websites.

The hotel previously franchised by Wyndham Worldwide as part of its Ramada chain includes 442 rooms and offers convenient access to popular destinations via its location within walking distance from the main gate of Walt Disney World and by offering free scheduled shuttle service to a number of Orlando’s theme parks and other entertainment venues.

Photo credits: Ramada Kissimmee Maingate West

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