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Pennsylvania-based real estate investment management firm Exeter Property Group paid $8.85 million on Monday in an off-market deal for its seventh Orlando industrial property, and wants more in a market they see as Florida’s future distribution hub, a principal with the company told GrowthSpotter.

Located at 2100 Directors Row in Orlando Central Park, the 8.5-acre property features an industrial building with 215,435 square feet of conditioned area.

The property was 100 percent occupied at time of sale, leased by Whirlpool since last year as short-term additional space through at least May 2018, leading up to a planned expansion of its regional distribution center in Orlando.

“We liked the property because of its location, and high functionality with 25 dock doors, loading on two sides with option for a third, rail access, and a deep truck court,” said Michael Yocco, principal and Florida investment officer for Exeter.

“It’s a nice, big open warehouse with a high parking ratio (four per 1,000 SF), so we could house tenants that need a lot of office space,” he continued. “It’s a property you don’t typically see available in the marketplace, so someone like a defense contractor or specialized tenant with a high employee count that needs a large warehouse, this may be the only game in town.”

Whirpool has an option to renew or vacate next year, but Exeter liked the property regardless because of its infill location in south Orlando, Yocco said.

“It’s very hard to replicate a property like this in that location,” he said. “That won everyone over (on Exeter’s executive team), especially in Orlando with many new companies taking residence there to distribute around Florida.”

Exeter offers LEED-certified development and build-to-suit construction services, but its focus is in acquiring industrial warehouses with the backing of large-scale investment funds.

Exeter now owns seven industrial properties in Greater Orlando totaling approximately 900,000 square feet. The market is one the company will eye this year for more acquisitions, based on broad population growth in Florida and Orlando’s position as a distribution hub to those consumers, Yocco said.

The seller was an affiliate of Cambridge Hanover, which previously paid $2.675 million for the property in 1995.

David Murphy and Monica Wonus of CBRE in Orlando were leasing agents for the previous owner. JLL Orlando’s Joe Hills and Josh Lipoff will likely be hired by Exeter as the new leasing agents, Yocco said, following their role in representing the seller, and drawing Exeter to the off-market purchase.

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