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Orlando auto salesman and general contractor Gary Jensen is planning a 14,000-square-foot commercial building near Sanford to house his Terra Firma Auto Group dealership, with space left over for retail and light-industrial leasing.

Jensen paid $500,000 in early May for the 2.65-acre project site at 4300 North Ronald Reagan Blvd. The vacant commercial space is just northeast of Ronald Reagan Boulevard’s intersection with U.S. 17-92.

Jensen told GrowthSpotter his new auto dealership will take up about 6,200 square feet of the building. The remaining space will house five 1,500-square-foot bays he will lease.

“Being on Ronald Reagan and (U.S.) 17-92, it could be a good place for a nail salon, retail or somebody storing their small construction company equipment like a subcontractor,” he said.

Terra Firma Auto, a used-car dealership, is now located at 8650 E. Colonial Dr. in Orlando. Jensen said he hadn’t planned on selling that property, but someone made him a “ridiculous offer.”

“I said, ‘Sure, I’ll sell it,’ but they backed out,” he said.

Still, the idea of moving his business to a new location had taken root. Jensen liked the Sanford site because it’s close to his son’s home in Lake Mary.

He still plans to sell the car dealership land in Orlando. Jensen’s engineer, Stephen Allen of CivilCorp Engineering Inc. of Maitland, said he has submitted a site plan to Seminole County planners. Allen said Terra Firma had to get a special exception for the property’s use so the dealership can do mechanical work on used cars before they go up for sale.

A commercial contractor by trade, Jensen said he will oversee construction of the building himself. He hopes to get started in August and have the dealership open by April 2019.

Jensen estimated his total investment on the building and accompanying infrastructure will be just north of $1 million.

Once the site plan is approved, Jensen said he will have Jeff Bloom of NAI Realvest market the retail space.

The seller was Seminole Baptist Association Inc. County records show Jensen, through his affiliate company J5 Properties 8650 LLC, secured a mortgage on the property for $325,000 from Seaside National Bank & Trust of Orlando.

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