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A project rendering from March of Duke Realty's planned industrial building on Municipal Drive, which shows PODS' logo on the building front.
A project rendering from March of Duke Realty's planned industrial building on Municipal Drive, which shows PODS' logo on the building front. (C4 Architecture)

Duke Realty Corporation paid more than $4.16 million on Tuesday for land near International Drive, where it is expected to build a warehouse for local client PODS to relocate and expand its Orlando storage operations.

Located at 7133 Municipal Dr., the 14.6-acre parcel lies two blocks from I-Drive, just northeast of the Sand Lake West Business Park, and directly west of the Tangelo Park community.

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At $284,931 per acre, the price is high for new industrial development in Orlando, but a premium Duke would be willing to pay with a NNN tenant committed for a build-to-suit project.

This rendering from late February was provided to the city's Board of Zoning Adjustment, and depicts the proposed warehouse on Municipal Drive with PODS storage behind it. This image looks northwest.
This rendering from late February was provided to the city's Board of Zoning Adjustment, and depicts the proposed warehouse on Municipal Drive with PODS storage behind it. This image looks northwest. (City of Orlando)

The national publicly-traded REIT had filed plans in January with the city for a 185,640-square-foot warehouse with 44 loading bays and outdoor storage space. A prospective tenant at the time was unnamed.

But in late February, Duke described the project in detail to Orlando's Board of Zoning Adjustment as a build-to-suit warehouse for Portable On Demand Storage (PODS). An updated rendering from March shows PODS' logo on the building front.

Insight on the property, what the industrial project entails, and potential challenges the developer may face from neighboring land owners.

The national storage container company currently leases 55,000 square feet in one of Duke's buildings in the Crossroads Business Park (601 Gills Dr.), and has one year remaining on that lease, PODS' market manager at the facility, Rene Perez, told GrowthSpotter on Wednesday. And in May 2016, PODS leased another 65,000 square feet in Duke's Parksouth Distribution Center on Principal Row.

PODS local growth could warrant extra storage space, said Perez, who claimed the company's orders in March were up 700 units from the same month a year ago, and similar year-over-year gains have been the norm in recent months.

PODS is expected to eventually vacate those two spaces and upsize to the 185,640-square-foot building on Municipal Dr. No construction plans have been filed with the city.

Officials with PODS and Duke Realty did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

A view of empty PODS containers being stored outside the building in Crossroads Business Park (601 Gills Dr.) where PODS currently leases 55,000 square feet.
A view of empty PODS containers being stored outside the building in Crossroads Business Park (601 Gills Dr.) where PODS currently leases 55,000 square feet. (Bob Moser)

Duke had its variance request approved in late March by Orlando's City Council. It requested a variance of 285 feet to allow industrial warehouses with rear open storage to be 15 feet from neighboring residential zoned property, where a minimum 300-foot setback is required for outdoor storage uses.

Empty PODS containers would be stored outside the 46-foot tall warehouse, while loaded PODS would be indoors. The empty containers would be stacked up three-high against the building, in what would ordinarily be a truck-trailer parking area on the east side.

The seller on Municipal Drive was Miami-based Municipal Drive LLC, which paid $4.5 million for the land in June 2006.

The directors behind that LLC are children of real estate magnate Rubens Menin Teixeira de Souza, who in 1979 founded MRV Engenharia e Participações, now one of Brazil's largest real estate developers.

Rubens Menin also was a founding partner of Brazil's Banco Intermedium, one of the country's largest private banks.

A member of Forbes' "The World's Billionaires" list as recently as 2014, Rubens Menin founded a number of other Brazilian development companies, has invested in Florida commercial and multifamily projects since 2000, and is currently chairman of the board of Miami-based AHS Development Group.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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