Millenia Plaza shopping center in Orlando’s tourist district has been too hot to hold lately, changing ownership four times in the past decade.
It sold again this week for $74.1 million — marking the largest shopping center trade in the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford MSA thus far in 2022, according to national brokerage firm JLL Capital Markets, which has been involved in every transaction involving the asset since 2011.
“Every time I sell it, I think this is it — But then I get a phone call,” Brad Peterson, the Senior Managing Director of the firm’s Orlando office told GrowthSpotter. “It’s truly one of the best properties in Orlando, and I could venture to say it’s one of the best ones in the Southeast.”
And it’s only getting hotter.
North American Development Group paid $56.4 million for the 411,503-square-foot shopping center in 2019. They sold it in July to Miami-based Limestone Asset Management for $17 million more, representing a nearly 24% increase in sales price at $180 per square-foot.
“That stretch of the Millenia trade area just continues to get so much stronger,” Peterson said. “it continues to dominate.”
Miami-based Orion Real Estate Group, an entity affiliated with Limestone Asset Management, represented the seller in the deal.
Limestone Asset Management currently holds assets exceeding $200 million across the United States.
“We are excited to acquire this valuable property in the most visited city in the U.S.,” said Ibrahim Al-Rashid, chairman of Limestone Asset Management. “This purchase not only adds to our portfolio of properties around the Mall at Millenia, but it shows our commitment to the Orlando area.”
Millenia Plaza — a fully leased, open-air retail center that includes big-box stores such as Home Depot, BJ’s Warehouse, Ashley Furniture Homestore, and Dick’s Sporting Goods — has a lot going for it in terms of location.
Close to Universal and Disney theme parks, it’s the largest open-air retail center in the Mall at Millenia trade area and has highly visible positioning along Interstate 4, which has 185,000 vehicles per day.
It also sits near the 1.2 million-square-foot Mall at Millenia, which features Bloomingdales, Neiman-Marcus and a number of high-end fashion retailers. With estimated sales of $1,400 per square feet, Mall at Millenia ranks as one of the top 10 most productive retail assets in the United States, according to Green Street.
“Outside of downtown Orlando, land located along Interstate 4 in the ‘tourist’ corridor is the most coveted and valuable land in Central Florida,” Peterson said in a news release. “Larger tracts of land nearby have frequently traded around $2 million per acre, which makes this nearly 38-acre shopping center extremely prime.”
He added, “Investors are really dialed-in on Orlando because it is one of the healthiest and fastest-growing MSAs in the United States.”
The buyer, Orion Real Estate Group. provides commercial real estate services to investment clients around the world. Since its founding in 1978, the firm has been involved in more than $4 billion in transactions and holds a portfolio exceeding $800 million.
The seller, NADG, owns a number of retail properties in Florida, including the open-air Loop West shopping center along Osceola Parkway and University Plaza in Winter Park. The development, acquisition and management firm is also behind the Shoppes at Nona Place plaza at the intersection of Narcoossee Road and Tyson Road.
The sale of Millenia Plaza represents the eighth retail property JLL Capital has closed year-to-date in Central Florida. Earlier this year, Sanford’s Gateway Plaza shopping center — which includes 214,789-square-foot of retail space and tenants such as Floor & Décor, Ashley Furniture, Bed, Bath and Beyond and Michael’s across the street from Seminole Towne Center Mall — sold for $23.6 million, or $108 per square feet.
More than two years removed from the onset of the pandemic, “the retail market is as strong now as it’s ever been,” Peterson said.