A Tennessee-based multifamily developer that recently completed a highrise apartment complex in downtown Orlando has now established a presence near the city’s Packing District and is taking over a project that was originally planned by Third Wave Development.
In a transaction that closed on Feb. 3, Mid America Apartment Communities (MAA) acquired a trio of industrial warehouse buildings and the 5.9 acres they sit on for $12.5 million, according to Orange County deed records.
This comes after the company purchased an adjacent 4-acre piece to the north in May for $6.5 million. That property has approved plans for a 293-unit multifamily community submitted by Third Wave Development, based out of Casselberry.
“Mid America Apartments came in and bought us out,” Chuck Hollis, Third Wave’s president, told GrowthSpotter. “They are an excellent group…and they are moving forward our vision. They are a great group that already knows the city of Orlando, they are a very qualified group. We felt like we did everyone a solid.”
MAA could not be reached for comment as of Thursday afternoon.
It’s unclear what MAA has planned for the second site, whether it would be used to extend the scope of one apartment community or to build a separate multifamily project.
The sellers were an entity titled Crown Equity LLC, which is controlled by a team of investors including David Shapiro and Jay Berlinsky, the owner of SC Advisors.
Berlinsky said it was an off-the-market deal.
“They approached us,” he said. “We think the buyer that responded is a good responsible buyer for the Packing District.”
The recent sale signals a departure from previous plans for the property located west of Orange Blossom Trail at the northeast intersection of New Hampshire Street and Diversified Way.
In 2018, Shapiro and his investment team sought to repurpose two of the warehouse buildings as part of a mixed-use project.
The largest building was to be converted into a 95,000-square-foot multi-tenant loft office building with structured parking while another 4,500 square feet was earmarked for a future microbrewery and tap room, along with 1,200 square feet of outdoor dining space.
A banquet space large enough to accommodate 600 guests was also included in plans. But the project was scuttled by COVID-19. The site plan and conditional use for the microbrewery were approved by the city have now expired.
The three parcels recently snagged by MAA sit just outside the boundaries of the Packing District PD.
The Packing District was established in 2018 by Dr. Phillips Charities with the idea that the 202-acre industrial area would be converted into a population center with a vibrant mix of residential, civic, and commercial uses.
Here, Texas-based Embrey Partners is building a 350-unit apartment community at the southwest corner of Orange Blossom Trail and Princeton Street. That project would be the second in the vicinity by Embry, which is now leasing The Cannery at the Packing District apartments at 2501 N. Orange Blossom Trail.
Toll Brothers, meanwhile, is building a townhome community called the Brix at the Packing District, which will include 136 units once complete. The company has a sales office in College Park and is marketing the homes on its website at a starting price of $484,995.
Kenneth Robinson, president of Dr. Phillips Charities, said this will be a “big year” for the Packing District as several long-planned projects within walking distance of the townhome community cross the finish line.
The public park, which will include a tennis center, a pavilion, and a trail system around a lake, is expected to open in March along with a neighboring YMCA.
A multi-tenant center with a Foxtail Coffee, Kelly Ice Cream shop and Ravenous Pig pub is also expected to open in March, Robinson said.
Dr. Phillips Charities announced early last year that New York-based chef Akhtar Nawab and his Hospitality HQ group would operate an 11-vendor, 17,300-square-foot hall within the Packing District. The project is an adaptive reuse of the 1930s-era Great Southern Box Company building at 2105 N. Orange Blossom Trail.
A Publix grocery store is also approved in the Packing District.
“We are quite excited to see the reality of the vision coming to fruition,” Robinson said. “It’s been a long time, but making major changes to 280 acres is not an easy process. We are excited to see pieces of it come together. This is a big year for the Packing District. There’s a lot happening.”
Robinson added that he’s also excited to see projects emerge nearby.
“We are looking forward to seeing (MAA) come in,” he said. “They build a quality product and we think they will be very good neighbors.”
As of December 31, MAA had ownership interest in 101,986 apartment units, including communities currently in development, across 16 states and the District of Columbia, according to its website.
Its 10-story, 369-unit MAA Robinson apartment community opened in downtown Orlando in 2021 with 4,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.
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