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Duffy’s Enters Orlando Market and Plans Further Expansion

22 Sep 2014, 2:57 am

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

Duffy’s Sports Grill has recently announced the grand opening of their first location in Orlando.

Founded in 1985 in South Florida, Duffy’s Sports Grill is based in Lake Worth and has become a regional leader of the casual-dining segment. The firm has grown with locations spanning the East Coast of Florida from Melbourne to Miami. The restaurants serve mainly freshly prepared ingredients and grilled items in a sports-inspired environment complete with authentic sports memorabilia throughout each restaurant and over 75 TVs per location with a wide selection of satellite programming available.

The opening of the new restaurant marks the firm’s 25th addition to the chain. Duffy’s Sports Grill President Paul Emmett said the Orlando market has been in the company’s crosshairs for long and they intend to bring up to 10 more restaurants to the area in the near future. He is optimistic about the restaurant chain’s reception in Central Florida.  ”With both NFL and College football underway, Duffy’s looks forward to becoming the preferred destination for sports fans in Orlando,” he says.

Located near the Mall at Millenia just off Interstate 4 at 4158 Conroy Road, The new Duffy’s will continue its legacy, providing the community with a unique sports environment complete with modernist design elements such as brushed aluminum fixtures and large iconic sports photos. The restaurant will offer and more than 100 televisions at the clients’ disposal.

The next Duffy’s to come to the area will be located in Lake Mary’s Colonial Town Park, foreseeably opening in November of this year.

Image source: Google Plus


New Loews Hotel in the Pipeline for Universal Orlando

12 Sep 2014, 9:10 pm

By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, as the new full-service facility will be called, opens in the summer of 2016 according to a recent announcement released by Universal Orlando Resort and Loews Hotels & Resorts.

The Caribbean-themed hotel located across Adventure Way from the new Cabana Bay Beach Resort will be built around a tropical lagoon and towering waterfall. Developers assure that the traditional island styling will incorporate some modern touches as well. It will feature 1,000 rooms including 77 suites. Loews Sapphire Falls Resort will be Universal Orlando’s fifth hotel and the addition expands the on-site portfolio to 5,200 rooms.

Jonathan Tisch, chairman of Loews Hotels & Resorts, expects the new hotel to bring the same level of distinctiveness that clients of the other four hotels have experienced. “We are excited to continue our growth plans at Loews Hotels by building another hotel with our long-standing partners at Universal Orlando,” he added.

Amenities at the new hotel will include Early Park Admission to Universal’s theme parks, a full-service restaurant with scenic views and outdoor dining, a themed lobby lounge, poolside bar and grill, quick-service marketplace, valet service and a fitness center. A resort-style pool with a water slide, children’s play area, sand beach and fire pit will be included in the central courtyard surrounded by the guest rooms. There will also be water taxi and shuttle access to all of the entertainment and dining options throughout Universal Orlando Resort.

Photo credits: Universal Orlando


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

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