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Local broker buys Downtown Orlando Post Office property, seeks more assets

Highlighted in blue in the lower half of the map is the U.S. Postal Service-occupied land parcel recently bought on W. Gore Street.
Highlighted in blue in the lower half of the map is the U.S. Postal Service-occupied land parcel recently bought on W. Gore Street. (Orange County Property Appraiser)

A retired local real estate broker paid $3.2 million on Monday for a Downtown Orlando industrial property, fulfilling a 1031 exchange from a recent sale in Queens, New York. He has another Queens property set to move soon, and will be looking to place a few million more in Greater Orlando this year.

Herbert Licht, a long-time broker and property investor with his own firm Federal Realty Inc., is transitioning his investment portfolio from New York to Orlando, after tiring of the grind of frequent trips to Manhattan to maintain property.

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Located at 1325 W. Gore St., the 3.19-acre parcel is home to a warehouse of 24,411 gross square feet leased by the U.S. Postal Service, used as a mail distribution center for delivery trucks.

It's located just west of the intersection of W. Gore Street and S. Orange Blossom Trail, directly south of Jones High School and walking distance to Camping World Stadium (former Citrus Bowl).

"I like the area. I think it was a terrible area that is now delightful. All the real estate around there has been rehabbed, lots of new property both residential and commercial," Licht told GrowthSpotter on Tuesday. "It was a good bang for my buck at 3.5 acres in Downtown Orlando, two blocks from the new Orlando Police complex."

While Licht believes property near the stadium and 408 Expressway will see values accelerate in the coming years, this investment was all about the stable tenant. The lease agreement with USPS has four years to go, with multiple options to extend.

"Stable tenants are my kind of thing at this retirement age," he said. "I hope the post office stays with me there forever, but if they ever leave it's a property I can market easily, with attractive (commercial/industrial) zoning."

Looking forward, Licht has another retail property sale pending in Queens, New York. When that closes later this year, he'll look to reinvest the proceeds again via 1031 exchange in Greater Orlando.

"I'm looking at the distressed office market in Altamonte Springs, in the Keller Road area there's no shortage of office space going under auction," he said. "I don't want to do residential, getting into the complex laws of multi-family housing. But I'd do industrial, retail, office or similar."

Licht would favor single-tenant assets or those with a small number, but he knows it's not easy to be too picky now with Central Florida investment properties.

"It's not easy to find deals here that make any sense. The cap rates are ridiculous in many cases," he said. "I'm looking for investments that make sense. I'm at the stage now of being in estate building, buying only cash."

The sale was made by Rutherford & Strickland Downtown Orlando Inc., a group of investors out of Mims and Madison, Florida, which paid $285,000 back in January 1999.

Jacob Hara of Re/Max Pioneer Realty represented the buyer in the sale. Investment Property Exchange Services, Inc., out of Jacksonville, served as Licht's 1031 intermediary.

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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