The co-founders of local digital marketing company Net Conversion recently paid $1.55 million to buy a vacant office building in Downtown Orlando, which they'll fully renovate in the coming months to relocate the growing firm.
Located at 141 N. Magnolia Ave. on the corner with E. Jefferson Street, the 76-year-old building has almost 15,000 square feet across three floors.
The deed was signed on Sept. 8 but only recorded in Orange County on Monday, along with a mortgage of $1.24 million sourced from Mercantile Capital Corp.
The buyer, RFV Holdings II LLC, is a partnership of Net Conversion's co-founders Frank Vertolli and Ryan Fitzgerald. Their marketing and advertising agency has rapidly outgrown its last two homes in downtown over the past six years, with 27 employees currently squeezed into 6,500 square feet under lease at 150 N. Orange Ave.
"I'm addicted to the Loopnet app, and had been scouring it earlier this year as we started looking at other spaces to rent," Fitzgerald told GrowthSpotter on Tuesday. "My business partner and I always liked the idea of investing our money in a long-term asset like this. It's great because it's only a block from (our current location), there's plenty of space to grow into, and we can keep our existing parking spaces."
The building at 141 N. Magnolia previously housed a sporting goods store in the 1970s, law offices through the 1980s and 1990s, and an electronics hardware company up until a year ago, when it was vacated.
The seller is Elevate Enterprises LLC, an affiliate of the owners behind Matricom, a manufacturer of digital hardware that developed the G-Box series of set-top media streaming devices.
Matricom used the N. Magnolia building as its headquarters until last year when they relocated to California, CEO Yujie Jiang said Tuesday. The company paid $1.3 million for the property in April 2014.
Looking forward, Vertolli and Fitzgerald have hired Forum Architecture to lead the interior renovation process, a relationship born from Fitzgerald's friendship with Forum principal Andrew Roark dating back to high school.
"This will be a multi-phase project, with the first being demolition to clear out as many interior walls as possible. Right now the building is in 'old lawyer shape,' and we want to bring it up to modern standards," Fitzgerald said. "We want it to be a very open environment for collaboration, maximizing natural lighting and the use of wood, steel and brick features."
The company has contacted a few contractors for the interior demolition work and is waiting on their proposals, he added.
The full scope of the renovation and cost won't be known until demolition work gives Forum the chance to fully view the space available, but early estimates project $1 million in buildout investment, Fitzgerald said.
Net Conversion's lease at its existing office space runs through June 2017, when Fitzgerald hopes to have the new building ready to occupy. RFV Holdings is a personal investment vehicle by Vertolli and Fitzgerald, which will lease the new building space to their company.