Retail building near Park Avenue bought by investor trio, seller eyes College Park

Highlighted in blue is the parcel on S. Knowles Avenue in Winter Park recently bought by a local investment group.
Highlighted in blue is the parcel on S. Knowles Avenue in Winter Park recently bought by a local investment group. (Orange County Property Appraiser)

A trio of local investors paid $2.53 million last Thursday for a quarter-acre lot and 46-year-old retail building in the heart of Winter Park's downtown, while the seller plans to reinvest his proceeds in a College Park redevelopment, players on both sides told GrowthSpotter this week.

Located at 111 S. Knowles Ave., the 0.24-acre parcel lies on the southwest corner of E. Morse Boulevard and Knowles, two blocks east of S. Park Avenue.


Better known as The Furst Building, the property features a two-story, 7,365-square-foot building dating back to 1969, and was last acquired by Furst Realties Inc. in October 1995 for $528,400.

That seller is an affiliate of Felix J Furst, a Swiss national by way of Quebec, Canada, and founder of multinational manufacturer Canplast.

Furst also owns 1.4 acres across four semi-contiguous parcels in College Park that front the 2400 block of Edgewater Drive, between Rugby and Vassar streets. Those feature tenants like Jade Bistro, Graffiti Junktion, Yogen Fruz and Adriatico Trattorio Italiana.

Marnie Connor, senior broker with Altamonte Springs-based IRG Commercial, has represented Furst's investment properties in the Orlando area for 20 years. She said Furst plans to reinvest the proceeds of his Winter Park sale in redeveloping the College Park retail.

"We've talked of redevelopment of that (College Park) center, we just don't know how at this point," Connor said. "We'll be doing some planning, and decisions won't be made before mid-summer. But I know he's thinking big, global ideas for that property."

A lone 0.14-acre single-family lot lies within Furst's block of College Park properties. An acquisition there would give him a fully contiguous 1.54 acre block to redevelop.

The Winter Park property was bought by 111 S. Knowles Partners, LLC, a group made up of Nikesh Shah, president of Mount Dora-based hotel developer and manager Southern Hospitality; Sunit Sanghrajka, founder of Alluring Africa and Luxury Trips in Winter Park; and Dr. Sunil Gandhi, a thoracic surgeon with practices in Stuart and Port St. Lucie.

Chirag Kabrawala, head of The Kabrawala Law Group in Winter Park, served as attorney for the buyer group. He said the prospect of a fully-leased property with contiguous parking near pedestrian-friendly Park Avenue was a slam-dunk for the trio's investment portfolios.

"There's not much that comes up for sale in Winter Park," he said. "This is a prime property, and as Winter Park develops further north, east and west of Park Avenue, this property's location will become more valuable."

Kabrawala said the investment group is actively looking for more acquisition opportunities in Greater Orlando, and prefers fully leased properties that allow the option to reposition for redevelopment in the future.

"We don't know what will happen with this property in particular," he said. "You never know what can happen there in five years. The Cap(italization) rate was competitive for Winter Park."

No immediate renovation work will be needed on the building, Kabrawala said.

Fully leased at time of acquisition, the property currently has 1,500 square feet of medical office space available on the second floor. Another 3,000 square feet of ground-floor retail/commercial could become available soon, said Willow Shambeck of ACRE Commercial Real Estate, who represented the buyer in the deal and will now handle leasing.

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