Lady Lake investor buys first Downtown Orlando property, seeks more value-add

Bob Moser
GrowthSpotter

A Lady Lake-based entrepreneur and real estate investor paid $1.4 million last week to enter the Downtown Orlando market, buying a 103-year-old office property with an eye for more sites with long-term redevelopment potential.  

Located at 108 Hillcrest St. on the southeast corner with Magnolia Avenue, the 0.48-acre parcel features a two-story home turned office with 5,968 square feet of conditioned area, built in 1921.

The home was the first property built by W.A. McCree, founder of McCree General Contractors, and became known as the "Autry House," after then-owner L.M. Autry became Mayor of Orlando in 1926. 

The property lies directly south of a former women's shelter site now under contract for prospective retail and self storage redevelopment. It's also east of the two blocks owned by Alex Vadia's Midtown Opportunities, partially leased now by the Orlando Sentinel Media Group and projected for long-term redevelopment. 

The sale closed on Oct. 26, and was recorded Thursday in Orange County.

"I see this property as a big opportunity because hopefully some day we'll be able to sell it for a tower to go up there," Steven C. Sailer, principal with buyer group BBC Investments IV LLC, told GrowthSpotter. "But in the meantime, it is fully rented to cover the mortgage and then some."

Hooman Hamzehloui of Masters Realty represented the buyer, and will continue representing Sailer in his Orlando market search. Sailer claims multiple investment properties in South Florida and Lake County with partners. 

"We're still looking in Downtown Orlando for more properties ... I would like to buy 15 to 20 over time," Sailer said. "We want any investment property that makes sense, that's rented or rentable enough to sit on until the downtown area comes alive for (vertical development). Because at some point it's going to." 

In the near-term, Sailer expects to invest up to $150,000 on new fencing, awnings and patio improvements for the property. 

"With the acquisition price being as low as it was for a high-profile site like this, we felt it was a great building block for (Sailer's) future downtown portfolio," Hamzehloui said. "And with the Orlando Sentinel site across the street, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the value-add potential." 

The seller was a FGF Holdings Inc., an affiliate of local attorney Frank G. Finkbeiner, who previously paid $1.435 million for the property in 2007.

Finkbeiner is one of four attorneys leasing space in the building, and opted to sell now as he "prepares a transition in life," said Paul Macomber of RE/MAX, listing agent on the property. 

The property was originally listed at $1.575 million in mid-2016. Finkbeiner is not expected to reinvest the proceeds in another real estate purchase, Macomber said. 

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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