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Investment fund run by Blackstone Group exec buys Maitland Center offices

A fund that invests on behalf of Tony James, the vice chairman of one of the world's largest private equity firms, Blackstone Group, just paid $33.5 million for the Reserve at Maitland office complex in Eatonville.

According to a deed recorded Thursday in Orange County, Jefferson River Capital, led by Bill Helm, bought three single-story office buildings at 65 and 70 Keller Rd., along with an undeveloped 9.35-acre parcel at 2043 Kennedy Blvd. currently used for parking.

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Altogether the portfolio houses about 190,000 square feet of office space, meaning the deal breaks down to about a little more than $175 per square foot.

Real estate private equity firm Taurus Investment Holdings was the seller. The Boston, Massachusetts-based company is a global investor, developer and operator of commercial and residential properties.

It paid more than $18 million assembling the land between 2016 and 2017. Built in 2001, the office buildings are located in the Maitland Center submarket, close to Winter Park and just a few miles north of downtown Orlando.

The area has been busy with activity. Neighboring the easternmost building to the north is where Adventist Health System, parent company of AdventHealth, recently expanded its corporate office space at 2600 Lucien Way.

Jeff McFadden, managing director in Florida for Taurus, said the company brought occupancy up from about 60 percent to 100 percent.

The buildings sold fully leased to three publicly-traded companies including Alere, now a unit of Abbott Laboratories Inc., Centene Corporation and Spectrum.

Ron Rogg of CBRE represented the seller.

He said the Maitland Center office market is undergoing a so-called barrier-to-entry scenario where there's a strong demand for tenants but no new product.

The scenarios he mentions is helping lure investors that want to tap into the opportunity to raise rental rates, thanks in part to the submartket's low vacancy rates and limited supply pool.

The Reserve at Maitland properties also boast a higher parking ratio compared to other office buildings nearby, Rogg said.

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"One of five office buildings in Maitland Center offer a parking ratio of six spaces for every 1,000," he said. "If you have a high parking ratio you're going to attract better tenants."

Taurus paid $950,000 for the parking lot in 2017. The investment added an extra 173 parking spaces for a total of 1,111 parking spots at the Reserve at Maitland property.

This is the second deal in recent weeks that Helm has targeted on behalf of James in Central Florida. Last month, the fund paid $23.4 million for an office portfolio in Orange County's Lee Vista submarket.

In August, Bloomberg reported James had hired Helm to head his real estate investments at Jefferson River Capital. The family office focuses on multifamily, industrial and office properties in the Northeast and Southeast. James' wealth is estimated at $2.5 billion, according to Bloomberg.

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 FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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