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Mama B's Giant Subs owner to sell 2 prominent downtown land corners

Mama B's Giant Subs owner to sell 2 prominent downtown land corners
Outlined in red is the 0.2-acre parcel owned by the family behind Mama B's Giant Subs. This image faces south, the property lies on the southwest corner of N. Orange Avenue and W. Colonial Drive. (Edward Johnston Group)

Owners of both Mama B's Giant Subs properties in Downtown Orlando want to retire from the sandwich business, opening up two prominent corner parcels for new retail or redevelopment.

Formally listed for sale in early August with Edward Johnston (working out of Exit Realty Central's downtown office), the properties carry parking challenges, but lie in heavily trafficked gateways to the north and south of downtown.

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"In short, they're retiring after a very long time. The family has been in the sandwich business for more than 30 years," Johnston told GrowthSpotter on Wednesday. "They're looking to sell everything, this isn't a sale-leaseback."

Forty-one years, in fact. The late John Adamik moved his family to Orlando in 1973 from Connecticut, and bought the Mama Bartoli's Sub Shop at 692 N. Orange Ave. in 1975, shortening the name to Mama B's Giant Subs.

Located on the southwest corner with Colonial Drive, he and wife Harriet Adamik bought that 0.21-acre parcel in 1977 for $75,000. John died in February 2000, and the business is now run by son Christopher Adamik.

In 1989, the Adamiks paid $195,000 for their second Mama B's location, a 0.35-acre parcel at 1101 S. Orange Ave., which lies just northeast of The Heart Center-Arnold Palmer Hospital and Orlando Regional Medical Center.

The Adamiks are seeking $1.2 million for each site, Johnston said. It's a very aggressive price, valuing the N. Orange parcel at roughly $6 million per acre. Johnston did not say if that desired price includes the business and interior assets.

"The daily traffic estimate on Colonial is 35,000 cars at least, these are two unique pieces with a ton of interest already, from owner-users re-purposing the locations for a restaurant, to investor holdings or medical service," Johnston said. "I don't expect them to be on market for another week."

Both restaurant buildings are between 1,800 and 2,100 square feet, though each have about 20 parking spaces.

Redevelopment of the sites could go vertical, but would require investing in an automated parking system. Common today around the world in large urban office and condo development, these typically have motorists stop their car on a garage platform, with a robotic system that lifts and places the vehicle in a vertical storage space.

The most logical suitor for the 0.21-acre N. Orange property may be Ustler Development, which co-owns the Residence Inn Orlando Downtown that opened last year. It was built around the Mama B's parcel in 2014, after brief negotiations to buy the site years earlier had failed.

Developer Craig Ustler said Wednesday his group was approached by the Adamiks earlier this month about reopening negotiations, but he's not interested.

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The Residence Inn has outperformed expectations in its first year, Ustler said, and has more cars per room using its parking garage than he and co-owner Pinnacle Hotel Management originally estimated. 

That lack of parking is one reason they and Demetree Real Estate Services have not been able lease the building's 4,000-square-foot restaurant space, which fronts W. Colonial directly west of Mama B's. There wouldn't be enough parking at night to serve a restaurant and full hotel, Ustler said.

They've remarketed the space in recent weeks for office, and drawn interest from the creative media business community, he added. Ustler and Pinnacle are now negotiating with a few prospective office tenants, with one likely to take all 4,000 square feet.

The challenges with future retail use on the Mama B's N. Orange site is that it's dwarfed by the hotel, has extremely limited parking and tight ingress/egress, said Cindy Schooler, senior vice president with SRS Real Estate Partners.

If Ustler and Pinnacle could wait out the Adamiks for a lower price, the 0.21 acres could be converted completely to surface parking of 25-30 spaces, providing the parking solution needed for a restaurant in the hotel building's vacant space, Schooler said.

"As an urban planning guy and also given city codes and design vision, we are not into surface parking lots, especially at signature locations, so we would not be interested in it just for parking," Ustler said. "I never say never, but we are not a potential buyer at anywhere close to $1.2 million."

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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