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Buyer has contract on I-Drive parcel sought by Ecuador for liquidation: sources

Buyer has contract on I-Drive parcel sought by Ecuador for liquidation: sources
Highlighted in blue, the 77-acre parcel owned by I Drive Investors LLC off of North International Drive. (Orange County Property Appraiser)

The 77-acre tract of land directly south of Artegon Marketplace on N. International Drive, which Ecuador's government is targeting for seizure and liquidation, is under contract to a developer said to be eying hotel and timeshare for the property.

The property has been under contract since November, local real estate professionals with knowledge of the deal have told GrowthSpotter. While the potential buyer's name was not divulged, sources describe it as a large out-of-state development group, with project experience in Florida and across the U.S.

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A combination of hotel and timeshare projects are the desired use for the potential buyer. The group is still conducting due diligence on the parcel, with attorneys researching legal hurdles that may tie up the acquisition. The group has not gone hard on a contract yet to put its deposit at risk, sources say.

Orlando's Southeastern Realty Group is brokering the deal between the current owner, I Drive Investors LLC, and the buyer, according to sources. That brokerage firm did not respond to requests for comment last week.

First reported by GrowthSpotter on Dec. 13, the 77-acre parcel is being targeted for seizure and liquidation by the government of Ecuador, following a fraud judgment by the United Kingdom's highest court totaling nearly $600 million against two members of an Ecuadorian banking family, the Ortega Trujillos.

Ecuador's attorneys in the U.S. have argued that Ortega family members owned the Orlando property through affiliate I Drive Investors LLC, but removed their connection to the company in 2014, a few months before final judgment came in March 2015 from the UK court.

Florida's 11th Circuit Court in Miami-Dade domesticated that foreign court's judgment in November 2015, setting the stage for property seizure next.

Attorneys for the two Ortega family members involved in the judgment, and an attorney representing this land parcel's ownership LLC, did not respond to requests for comment.

Located at 5001 Vanguard St. on North I-Drive, the parcel has been vacant for a decade and was once destined for an amusement park. A former real estate representative of the owners told GrowthSpotter in June that $500,000 was invested in 2005 to master-plan the property for dense mixed-use development, and fully entitle the land with permits from the water management district and Army Corps of Engineers, as well as traffic certificates.

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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