Industrial Real Estate Developments

Exeter joins Blue Steel in 350-acre industrial development project in Apopka

Exeter built the 561,750-square-foot Air Commerce Park distribution center near the Orlando International Airport in 2018.

Philadelphia-based real estate investment management firm Exeter Property Group just bought roughly 100 acres of land in Apopka with plans to build a new industrial park.

The property is located next to 429 Apopka, a 230-acre industrial park being developed by Lakeland-based Blue Steel Development and land developer Robert Zlatkiss, founder and president of American Land Development.


Both properties are part of a larger, roughly 330-acre portfolio of land northwest of the privately-owned Orlando Apopka Airport. The large-scale development site consists of nearly a dozen parcels that sit next to a nature preserve on the north shore of Lake Apopka, west of Orange Blossom Trail and north of Hogshead Road.

Zlatkiss helped annex the assortment of properties into the city last year. Since then, the land developer has been busy rounding up a development team to partner with, while also working with city planners to rezone the property’s largely agricultural zoning and change its future land use from County Rural to City Mixed-Use.

The 249 acre site just west of U.S. 441/Orange Blossom Trail is next to a private airport and has rail access. It's just north of the Mid Florida Logistics Park.

In November, a joint venture between entities led by Zlatkiss and Blue Steel paid more than $8.4 million for 230 acres of the 330-acre assortment of properties, with plans to promptly begin constructing about 2.5 million square feet of industrial space in spec across four new warehouses.

Mike Ripley and Steve Flanagan with Land Advisors Organization arranged the sale. Neither Ripley or Flanagan were immediately available to confirm their involvement on the second sale.

Exeter paid $14.5 million for the remaining 100 acres, according to a deed recently filed in Orange County. A corresponding Memorandum of Development Agreement shows Exeter also intends to build an industrial park.

Attempts to reach company representatives were unsuccessful. Exeter manages its warehouse properties internally, and will likely do its leasing and marketing in-house as well.

The company is a private REIT that engages in the acquisition, development, leasing, and management of industrial and related business park properties across the U.S. and Europe.

In 2018, Exeter built the 561,750-square-foot Air Commerce Park distribution center near the Orlando International Airport — its first speculative industrial space in Orlando.

Meanwhile, Blue Steel is active in Apopka. The real estate company developed the 180-acre Mid Florida Logistics Park nearby, where Amazon is building a distribution facility. The Seattle-based e-commerce firm joins Goya Foods, Universal Studios Orlando and the Coca-Cola Company at the park.

This area of Apopka is quickly growing due in part to its access to S.R. 429. The roadway stretches around the western Orlando metropolitan area between I-4 in northwest Osceola County and S.R. 46 at Mount Plymouth in Lake County.


It currently provides access to I-4 in Maitland and, in 2022, to I-4 in Lake Mary.

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