UPDATED: December 18, 2017 2:56 PM — A Sarasota-based real estate investment and development group paid $6.6 million on Friday for 14 acres along the unfinished portion of Destination Parkway, with aim to permit a use and break ground within the next year.
Spring Bay Property Company self-describes as a multifamily and hotel developer, made up of private investors that include principal Kevin Fitzpatrick, a former head of global real estate at American International Group (AIG).
Fitzpatrick drew AIG to settle a four-year, $274 million federal lawsuit in 2013 over his charge that the insurer refused to pay him during the financial crisis in 2008. Terms of the settlement remain confidential.
The 14-acre parcel, with entitlements that include 1,200 hotel keys and 150,000 square feet of retail, lies on the northern side of the still-unpaved extension of Destination Parkway between Universal Boulevard and Tradeshow Road, with roughly half its boundary bordering a small lake.
Construction of this stretch of road is estimated to be complete by June 2018, according to Orange County's latest monthly progress report.
Owned by Redus Florida Land, an LLC affiliate of Wells Fargo Bank in Charlotte, the property has been marketed since June 2016 by HFF Orlando.
"We think Orlando has a tremendous amount of opportunity, and like the fundamentals of the market from a standpoint of economic growth and its business-friendly environment," Fitzpatrick told GrowthSpotter on Monday.
"We're working quickly from the standpoint of getting an understanding of the physical aspects of the property, and doing market studies to determine the highest and best use," he continued. "Given its location and proximity to the convention center and other employers in the area .... Hotel opportunities and retail could be highest use there."
The entire 14 acres are considered upland and developable as of now, Fitzpatrick said. By this time next year, Spring Bay would like to see construction starting on the property, he added.
HFF initially drew four offers in late 2016 during a call for offers on the property, but the top two bidders with hotel plans ended up falling off course during the process, said Michael Weinberg, senior managing director with HFF who led the marketing effort.
Late this year, Fitzpatrick's group made a bid, was given the opportunity to go under contract after a higher bidder backed out, and closed on the purchase in less than two weeks, Weinberg added. No mortgage was recorded with the deed.
The new Spring Bay property was arguably the most valuable of the undeveloped land parcels along the unfinished Destination Parkway segment, but follows development plans on neighboring parcels within the past year.
Redus sold another 6-acre parcel in mid-March directly south of the Destination Parkway path, also via HFF, to an affiliate of Hilton Orlando owner RIDA Development Corp. RIDA plans to divert the hotel's stormwater retention and free up more than 2 acres on the hotel parcel for future development.
Stan Thomas affiliates own a combined 30 acres across four parcels that front the future road. Another 27 acres between two parcels are among those Universal Orlando affiliate SLRC Holdings owns, and filed plans for in late October to pave as 2,451 "temporary overflow" parking spaces.
A 1.8-acre parcel buried in between Redus' 14 acres and a 23-acre SLRC parcel is owned by Tax Deed Enterprises II LLC, a Sarasota-based investor.
Julia Sosa, principal with LandQwest Commercial's Orlando office, is marketing the isolated parcel.
Completion of Destination Parkway will give these properties direct access to the tourist corridor's two main thoroughfares in Universal Boulevard and International Drive, along with quick access to SR-528 and Interstate 4.
Destination Parkway will also provide a straight shot to SouthPark Centre on John Young Parkway, a 2.9 million-square-foot office complex with some of Orlando's top corporate tenants.