UPDATED: June 3, 2016 2:34 PM — Brazilian developer and builder Platinum Construções entered the U.S. market this week via Kissimmee, spending $1.25 million for 7.7 acres, paired with plans for a fully-entitled 88-unit townhome condo project.
The intercontinental leap is a survival instinct for the company, president Ricardo Benzecry told GrowthSpotter on Friday.
Platinum has built more than 1,800 multi-family and commercial units in Brazil over the past 16 years (7.24 million square feet), but faces an uncertain future there with the nation's economy mired in two years of recession, and opaque Brazilian law allowing construction projects to be easily halted by lawsuits or have demolition orders issued, long after permits are granted.
"The growth of the American economy, the slowdown of Brazil's economy, and the security of investments in the U.S. versus a lack thereof in Brazil drew us here," Benzecry said. "In the U.S. you know how the rules work, which is exactly the opposite of Brazil."
Located on the northwest corner of Fortune Road and Lakeside Drive, the property's proposed condos would be situated just minutes from the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center now under construction at the future Judge Farms research park on U.S. 192.
The land was put up for sale in early January by seven Brazilian investment partners who bought it for a bargain in 2014, led it through zoning and permit approvals, invested a total of $988,000 but then opted to recoup their investment rather than see it through construction, GrowthSpotter reported in early February.
Platinum is based in the northwest Brazilian city of Manaus, capital of the state of Amazonas and the largest city in the Amazon rain forest. It has another construction firm out of Manaus as a minority investor in the Kissimmee buy, RD Engenharia.
In Kissimmee, Platinum will only operate for now as an investor and developer, since Benzecry and his partners have yet to acquire U.S. work visas.
Miguel Kaled, developer for the original seven investors who sold the land and plans, will be retained by Platinum as their officer on the ground in Kissimmee. Kaled is also a consultant vice president in Orlando for architecture and design firm Stantec (formerly VOA).
In the project's site plan, each two-story, three-bedroom town house would have about 1,320 square feet, along with a 450-square-foot garage for two vehicles.
In the coming months, architectural plans for the exterior and interiors will be finalized, and marketing materials will be produced, Benzecry said.
Previously hired to work on the project by Kaled's group were Denham Engineering as civil engineer, Daniel Thall of TGD Orlando, LLC as general contractor, and ELEVEN18 as architect. All should be retained by the new owners.
Kaled will lead the pre-sale effort later this year, with young medical professionals in Lake Nona Medical City the ideal buyer.
"We are only 12 minutes from those hospitals and clinics," said Kaled, who estimates the home prices will cost $100,000 less than comparable condos within Lake Nona.
Editor's Note: This story was updated on June 3 to correct the number of multi-family and commercial units listed in the third paragraph.