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Virtual reality & web development firm expands w/new Winter Park office bldg

Virtual reality & web development firm expands w/new Winter Park office bldg
Computer graphics and interactive gaming company XStudios recently paid $1.9 million for this property in Winter Park. (Simaan Real Estate)

X Studios Inc., a high-tech firm specializing in virtual reality experiences, digital installations and web and mobile development, is leaving Maitland for larger digs in Winter Park.

The company, founded in 2006 by David Morales and Tim Santor, has been operating out of a 2,500-square-foot building in Maitland, but this week paid $1.9 million for a 10,936-square-foot flex-office building at 601 W. Webster Ave., according to a deed signed Wednesday in Orange County.

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Records show X Studios secured a mortgage from Chase Bank for more than $1.01 million.

The seller was Real Property Acquisitions Group LLC, an affiliate of The Keewin Real Property Co., which bought the property in January 2016 for $1.225 million. The listing agent was Toufic Simaan of Simaan Real Estate.

Built in 1974, the classically modern building sits on a 0.52-acre lot. Morales told GrowthSpotter he and Santor's business is growing and they needed more space for a showroom where the company can exhibit floor demos of their virtual reality hardware. Several thousand square feet will be dedicated to the showroom, he said.

"For the past few years we've been growing in the sector of virtual reality for theme parks and museums," Morales said. "We also create a gamified digital experience. That's a huge component of what we do. Sometimes it's not games but a learning experience with a gaming twist."

The new building will also allow X Studios to expand its staff. Morales said they soon will be hiring computer engineers and artists.

The partners have been searching for a new building for about a year and a half, and had narrowed the search to downtown Orlando and Winter Park. They chose the smaller city because of its scenic, relatively quiet streetscapes and a wide variety of restaurants, Morales said.

The 43-year-old building's exterior was recently painted, and got a new roof in 2016, according to marketing details online. But Morales said he wants to do extensive renovations to the interior to give it a more modern feel. The renovated building will also provide amenities for the staff, including a small gym and game room.

"We're in the tech industry, and even though we're a small business, we pride ourselves on having a good amount of amenities for our staff," Morales said.

Renovations will start next week. Morales estimated the updates will cost several hundred thousand dollars over the $1.9 million purchase price. The new X Studios will be ready to open in October, he said.

The property also includes a separate, 1,600-square-foot building that the partners hope to lease out for office space.

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Morales said he and Santor started the business in an apartment. They saved until they could afford an office and now are expanding in a big way.

"We're proud of our humble beginnings," he said. "It's an exciting time for us."

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at newsroom@growthspotter.com. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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