Garber Development, the recently launched commercial real estate branch of Winter Park-based development and investment firm Garber Communities, just added two more buildings to its growing portfolio of restoration projects around Greater Orlando.
In late July, the firm paid $3 million for a 7,000-square-foot building along Orlando Avenue in Winter Park, commonly known as "Mills Place.” The building at 1100 S. Orlando Ave. was built in 1963 and sits adjacent to the soon-to-be redeveloped Orange Avenue corridor.
About a week later, the firm closed on a separate property in downtown Orlando.
On Aug. 9, Garber Development paid $2.6 million for a nearly century-old warehouse in downtown Orlando called Central City Station. The 16,000-square-foot industrial property at 617 W. Central Blvd. was built in 1925 and once served as a packing house.
The building also formerly housed the pop-up bar Yard Bar. It sits directly across from Exploria Stadium, which is home to Orlando City Soccer, and is steps from Creative Village.
Garber Development specializes in adaptive reuse projects.
Pete Wood, director of operations, said the firm plans to add social elements to the properties, like outdoor courtyard space, bike racks and new lighting and landscaping designs to create a more neighborly atmosphere.
“We tend to look for historically significant buildings,” Wood said. “What we’re able to do is show how we can keep them in their original architecture and essentially breathe new life into them.”
The firm then pins down a mix of retailers and restaurants to fill up the buildings, similar to what he did at the former 12,500-square-foot State Auto Building at 1280 N. Orange Ave., now home to trendy retailers including the Bear & Peacock Brewery, Foxtail Coffee, Foxtail Farmhouse and superfood eatery Create Your Nature.
“Ideally we look for more local Orlando-type tenants like Foxtail Coffee,” Wood said. The firm is also behind the revitalization the corner where Floyd’s Barbershop and Summer Classics reside in Winter Park, along West Fairbanks Avenue.
Matthew Weinberger from Lincoln Property Company represented both sides of the Mills Place and Central City Station deals. He will also be spearheading leasing efforts of the new developments.
Construction is expected to start spring 2020 and the project plans to have between three and four tenants. Michael Wenrich Architects designed the conceptual renderings.
The recently acquired buildings join at least two other projects the firm is tackling in Central Florida.
Last year in January, Garber Development bought a bank building at 360 E. Horatio Ave. in Maitland. Plans to turn the site into mixed-use restaurant and retail hub called “Maitland Market" went before the city’s Planning and Zoning commission last month.
The project is moving forward on the condition the developer updates a traffic study and adds a few more parking spaces, Wood said.
Weinberger of Lincoln Property Company is also spearheading leasing efforts for Maitland Market.
In April, Garber Development purchased the 90-year-old United Trophy Manufacturing building in downtown Orlando with plans to restore it and eventually add space for trendy retailers after moving the trophy business elsewhere.
At the time, president and owner Lamont Garber told GrowthSpotter he intends to add more parking, artificial turf, new benches and trees for people to socialize.
Garber started Garber Communities with his brother in the 1970s.
The firm got its start investing in mobile home parks and RV resorts. Today, it has at least 14 communities throughout Florida, including age-restricted manufactured home and RV resort communities.
Wood was brought on earlier this year to help manage its restoration projects.
“I think Lamont is always open for these kind of projects,” Wood said. “There’s plenty on our plate, but if one of those gems comes around again, we’re always looking.”
Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-5427, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.