Owner of Downtown Orlando office bldg submits renovation redesign to city

Bob Moser
GrowthSpotter

Flint, Mich.-based developer West Second Street Associates has finalized designs with Baker Barrios for a total renovation of the former AT&T office building in Downtown Orlando, turning in renderings and plans on Wednesday to the city's Appearance Review Board. 

GrowthSpotter first reported on March 21 that WSSA had hired Micah Strader and Bobby Palta of CBRE's Orlando office to market the future office and retail space, and could start construction as soon as this Fall. 

Fulcrum Management Corp. has since been hired as construction manager. The owner and Fulcrum expect to deliver the renovated building in First Quarter 2018, which WSSA founder Troy Farah projected as a $30 million investment. 

Located on the northwest corner of N. Orange Avenue and W. Amelia Street, the 2.25-acre parcel features a five-story building with about 118,500 square feet, built in 1980.

The new renderings show an all-glass facade, new parking garage, high ceilings via uniquely tall 15-foot floors, and other modern design features that will be focal points in leasing the future Class A office space. 

The building will retain its 118,500 square feet of office space, add an estimated 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, and a 200-space parking garage on the building's rear.

WSSA acquired the property and building for $7 million in March 2015 from Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph. It has remained vacant for the past 25 months. 

Each of the five floors will have 23,703 square feet, with office suites ranging from 5,000 to more than 100,000 square feet.

Large blocks of 40,000 square feet or more are essentially non-existent in the Downtown Orlando office market, and demand for such is slowly driving up rents and redevelopment interest in the area.

A new parking garage will be constructed on the building's rear (west side). Plans involve cutting and stripping the building down to its skeleton, completely re-skinning it with nearly all glass, and installing new HVAC, mechanical infrastructure and elevators. 

WSSA had been listing the property itself for the past two years, but after making little progress on the office pre-lease front it hired the local CBRE team in early March.

The company initially considered in 2015 to convert the building into a 354-unit multifamily complex, but the demand for downtown apartments and price per square foot didn't support their cost of conversion, a WSSA executive told GrowthSpotter last October

Similar study of demolition and new construction for multifamily also didn't meet their investment goals for the property. WSSA changed gears in early 2016, after learning that large blocks of office space were in high demand in Downtown Orlando.

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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