View on May 29 looking southwest toward the new Modera Central building along Rosalind Avenue in downtown Orlando. Parts of the first through fourth floors were purchased by The University Club of Orlando, including the outdoor patio space on the second floor.
View on May 29 looking southwest toward the new Modera Central building along Rosalind Avenue in downtown Orlando. Parts of the first through fourth floors were purchased by The University Club of Orlando, including the outdoor patio space on the second floor. (Bob Moser)

The University Club of Orlando paid more than $2.135 million on Friday for four floors of space in the new Modera Central tower in downtown Orlando, and could begin buildout in two weeks with a goal of opening by year's end, its president told GrowthSpotter.

Addressed at 125 E. Pine St., the 22-story mixed-use apartment tower (350 units) now under construction by developer Mill Creek Residential Trust faces the southwest corner of E. Central Boulevard and S. Rosalind Avenue, a half block from Lake Eola. The property was the long-time home of the University Club of Orlando, which was founded in 1926.

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Rendering of the ground-floor fitness center of the future University Club of Orlando, showing weightlifting equipment, raquetball courts on the back-left of the image, and a basketball court on left.
Rendering of the ground-floor fitness center of the future University Club of Orlando, showing weightlifting equipment, raquetball courts on the back-left of the image, and a basketball court on left. (TJNG Partners)

After selling the property to Mill Creek in 2016 with space reserved in the redevelopment, the University Club bought back its commercial condominium units on Friday, which total 32,000 square feet over the first four stories.

Of that, interior construction is scheduled to start June 11 on 25,000 square feet as a Phase 1, which is more space than the original University Club had. Work will be led by WELBRO Building Corp., Powell Design Group and interior designers at TJNG Partners.

Rendering of a balcony level with cardio workout equipment on the ground floor of the future University Club of Orlando, overlooking the Rosalind-Central intersection.
Rendering of a balcony level with cardio workout equipment on the ground floor of the future University Club of Orlando, overlooking the Rosalind-Central intersection. (TJNG Partners)

"We now have control of our space. Mill Creek have been incredible partners for us, and I think that building demonstrates the power of downtown," Jacob Stuart, Jr., local attorney and University Club president, told GrowthSpotter on Tuesday. The club's construction budget is near $4.4 million, he added.

The first two floors will be an open athletic facility that Stuart said will be "the best in the southeast" among University Club locations, with plans for raquetball and basketball courts, cardio and weightlifting equipment, yoga and two locker rooms.

Partial rendering of an interior bar and dining room area at the future University Club of Orlando, with a second-story library space above to the right (out of frame).
Partial rendering of an interior bar and dining room area at the future University Club of Orlando, with a second-story library space above to the right (out of frame). (TJNG Partners)

The third and fourth floors will feature a dining room, bar, lounge and outdoor terrace, three private dining areas dubbed "The Crow's Nest" to face Lake Eola, and a 55-seat meeting room.

The remaining 7,000 square feet reserved for Phase 2 should be developed in the next two to three years as the club grows, said Stuart, potentially for a banquet room and multipurpose rooms.

Rendering showing a partial view from the new University Club's second-story patio lounge space, overlooking the Central Boulevard and Rosalind Avenue intersection.
Rendering showing a partial view from the new University Club's second-story patio lounge space, overlooking the Central Boulevard and Rosalind Avenue intersection. (TJNG Partners)

Michael E. Wright, president of MMI Development, has been a member of Orlando's University Club for more than 20 years. He enjoys the sports and camaraderie, and credits countless business relationships to having started with club introductions.

"Just about every bank you see in town was started there, the people making big moves in this community are in that University Club," he said. "When you go spend the evening at that bar you know everyone, that's quite different from when you go to any other bar. I've transacted a tremendous amount of business there."

Rendering showing a view from The University Club's third-floor terrace area, looking south along Rosalind Avenue.
Rendering showing a view from The University Club's third-floor terrace area, looking south along Rosalind Avenue. (TJNG Partners)

The University Club sourced a $2.5 million mortgage from The Dr. P. Phillips Foundation to help finance the purchase, which will mature in June 2023.

Attorneys Greg McNeill of Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A. and Stephen Bozarth of Dean, Mead, Egerton, Bloodworth, Capouano & Bozarth, P.A. represented the buyer and seller in the deal, respectively.

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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