Miami developer pays $10M for 3.5-acre parcel across from Orange County courthouse

Bob Moser
GrowthSpotter

An affiliate of Miami-based developer Midtown Opportunities paid $10 million on Dec. 30 for the 3.57-acre undeveloped tract next to downtown Orlando's newest apartment complex, Crescent Central Station, directly across from the Orange County Courthouse. 

Located at 434 N. Orange Ave., the vacant lot was covered with fresh sod in recent months as it awaited a mixed-use future as Class A office, retail/dining and and urban hotel, which previous owner RIDA Development Corp. had pitched for the property after buying it in April 2008 for $15.1 million.

That purchase included 1.85 acres to the north, which were later subdivided off and sold to Crescent Communities in May 2013 for $5 million, and now hold the Central Station apartments. 

Marc S. Reicher, senior vice president for RIDA, confirmed for GrowthSpotter on Thursday the undeveloped parcel was sold to what he described as a "private fund buyer." 

No permit or development application requests have been filed with the City of Orlando's planning department regarding the parcel, planning staff said. A determination request to confirm the parcel's zoning was made on Dec. 11 by RIDA's Reicher.

The buyer LLC, Midtown Opportunities XIIIB, is one of many investment vehicles affiliated with development group Midtown Opportunities. Miami-based attorney Suzanne DeWitt and Elias Esber, the LLC's managers, have been managers of other business entities linked to Midtown Opportunities' property development efforts in South Florida. 

DeWitt, Esber and Alex Vadia, principal of Midtown Opportunities, did not respond to calls for comment on Thursday. This would be Midtown Opportunities' first property development in Orlando, according to Orange County records. 

Purchase of the 3.57-acre parcel on N. Orange Avenue may be part of fulfilling a 1031 exchange opportunity for Vadia and Midtown Opportunities, after selling a 6.6-acre development site in downtown Miami for $55 million in November.

Based on the former site of a Chiquita Banana shipping facility, Vadia's "Six Midtown Miami" development site on Northeast Second Avenue had been an assemblage of lots Vadia paid $11.5 million for in 2011, according to news reports by Miami's TheRealDeal.com. That property's new owner has approved plans for roughly 700 apartments on the site. 

Vadia and Midtown Opportunities had plans for a 32-story, 398-unit condominium tower for part of the "Six Midtown Miami" acreage dating back to July 2012, but filed a termination of those plans in September with Miami-Dade County.

Crescent Communities sold the Orlando Crescent Central Station development in October 2014 before it was built, in a portfolio deal worth $700 million to a fund advised by UBS Global Asset Management. Crescent will remain as manager of the property, and that sale was expected to close formally on Thursday, Dec. 31.  

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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