Veteran CRE exec plans 54k SF spec warehouse, seeks lender & more land

Veteran industrial real estate executive Stephen Whitley is readying plans for his first Orlando warehouse development after starting a private investment firm last year, has yet to choose a lender for the project and is scouting for more land in the area. 

A former senior vice president for Liberty Property Trust with 20 years of industrial real estate experience in Orlando, Whitley left the company in April 2016 during a corporate restructuring and started his CRE investment and development firm Whitley Capital LLC in Winter Park. 

He's now in the midst of permitting for a new 54,000-square-foot speculative warehouse at 770 Gills Dr., a 3.75-acre parcel that is the last undeveloped lot within the Beeline Industrial Park, with quick access to the Beachline Expressway via nearby W. Landstreet Road. 

"The market is still very receptive to quality industrial space, even though there has been a good bit of new space built in the past few months and more coming," Whitley told GrowthSpotter on Wednesday. "Our building is differentiated because it will be single-tenant, so there is an appeal to the 50,000-square-foot user who wants their own property." 

No tenant is lined up yet, but the project will be built on spec, Whitley said. JLL's Orlando office should soon be hired to market the property for pre-lease. 

The building is projected to have 24-foot clear height, 21 loading doors (dock height and ramp) with a side-load configuration, a 60-foot speed bay, office buildout of up to 10 percent of the total space. 

Whitley bought the property in April from Liberty for $675,000 through an LLC affiliate. He filed for a construction permit on June 15 with Orange County for the new warehouse, and applied for permits on Tuesday with the South Florida Water Management District. 

SK Consortium, Inc., is civil engineer on the project, Kelsey Construction is general contractor, C4 Architecture is the architect, and Luke Transportation Engineering Consultants provided a traffic study.

Kelsey is beginning to bid out work to subcontractors now, Whitley said. Construction is targeted to start in August with completion by January 2018. 

Funding for the estimated $5 million project will come from a combination of Whitley's equity, private investors and a construction loan near 65 percent loan-to-cost. 

A lender has yet to be chosen, Whitley said, though negotiations are in progress with a few. 

Whitley Capital has other commercial real estate projects in Greater Orlando in early-stage development now, he said, but declined to provide further detail.

Whitley is scouting for more vacant or underdeveloped land acquisition opportunities in Greater Orlando, with a focus on industrial use. 

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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