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Winter Garden developer Cantero finds niche in small-bay industrial parks

The Winter Haven Commerce Center site plan on Lucerne Park Road calls for seven industrial buildings and 10 acres for future development.
The Winter Haven Commerce Center site plan on Lucerne Park Road calls for seven industrial buildings and 10 acres for future development. (Miller Legg)

Winter Garden-based Cantero Holdings has begun the process of reactivating the expired permits for a 33-acre industrial park in Winter Haven that would add over 180,000 square feet of small-bay flex industrial space.

The Winter Haven Commerce Park is located in the heavy industrial corridor along Lucerne Park Road, next door to a large Walmart distribution center and south of D.R. Horton’s Lucerne Park.

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“We acquired this from a bank, and it came with some development rights attached to the property,” Jose Cantero told GrowthSpotter. “We hired the same engineer with the intent of reviving the permits.”

The project is divided into three phases, with three flex industrial buildings planned for phase 1and four planned for phase 2.
The project is divided into three phases, with three flex industrial buildings planned for phase 1and four planned for phase 2. (Miller Legg)

The plan by Miller Legg divides the project into three phases with seven buildings and approximately 10 acres reserved for future development. Phase one includes a 69,750-square-foot building and two smaller builders, each just under 10,000 square feet. Phase 2 would have one of the larger warehouse buildings and three of the smaller ones. The third phase could be designed with multiple buildings or for a single user.

“By the end of horizontal construction, it will be pad ready,” Cantero said.

There is a small wetland area on the property, and the previous owner had already paid for off-site mitigation credits, according to Cantero. He bought the fully entitled project in 2018 for $800,000 — about $1 million less than the previous developer had paid for it in 2006.

“We tend to look for properties before the market becomes too competitive, and then we hold them for longer periods of time,” he said, noting that he likely won’t start construction on the project until early 2022. “I won’t begin development until I think the market is right for it. Typically, that’s a three to five-year hold, but it could be a 10- or 20-year play.”

This would be Cantero’s second small-bay industrial park. He currently is in permitting for a 23-acre industrial park on U.S. 27 in Groveland with a total of 133,000 square feet, the largest building being around 60,000 square feet.

“It’s a spec building,” Cantero said. “Our initial plan is do about 70% of the interior buildout.” Tenant will be able to rent out multiple bays in increments of 1,250 square feet.

Cantero said he chose to focus on building new small-bay, multi-tenant warehouses because it’s a segment of the industrial market that is underserved. “What we’re seeing is the market doesn’t seem to be interested in the smaller product,” he said. “Everyone is interested in the e-commerce, last-mile delivery user. We see a scarcity in the (small-bay) market, but it’s not being served.”

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @byLauraKinsler. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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