Owner of theme park ride manufacturers buys Orlando warehouse to expand

Bob Moser
GrowthSpotter

A manufacturer with affiliates supplying the amusement park industry paid more than $1.8 million last week for an Orlando warehouse, where the companies plan to invest and expand their operations.

Located at 3923 Forrestal Ave. south of Downtown Orlando, the 1.8-acre site features a 26,513-square-foot industrial building that dates to 1968. The sale closed on Jan. 4 and was recorded Monday in Orange County.

The property's main tenant since 2014 has been Skyline Attractions LLC, an original equipment manufacturer of rollercoasters which sold its first coaster design last year to Six Flags in California. 

It was joined in the building by sister company Ashland Technologies, a metals manufacturer for the amusement industry with a specialty in coaster rails. 

Entrepreneur Bill Wydra, of Wydra International Properties, helped found the companies and told GrowthSpotter he's excited to build a collaborative hub for amusement park manufacturers.

"We have three factories in Pennsylvania, but felt Orlando was a natural expansion route for these companies," Wydra said. 

A third non-affiliate company, Talon Simulations, started out as an incubator project in the building by a group of UCF graduates, and has grown into a leading manufacturer of virtual reality and augmented reality systems. 

"Now that we own the building, we'll start construction on additional space for Ralph S. Alberts Co. to expand their operations from (Pennsylvania) to Orlando," Wydra said. "They make restraints, foam and fiberglass pieces for amusement rides." 

Over the next few months, Wydra plans to invest more than $650,000 in major electrical upgrades to the building, remodeling the offices and expanding by 5,000 square feet to accommodate Ralph S. Alberts. 

Wydra International Properties sourced a $3.296 million loan from Branch Banking and Trust Co. out of State College, Pennsylvania, to help finance the acquisition and planned renovation. 

Wydra has yet to hire a general contractor, electrician and other service providers for its renovation and expansion work. The company also plans to quickly ramp up its hiring of new welders and manufacturing specialists. 

In addition to the purchased building, Wydra said he has just begun searching for another 15,000 to 20,000 square feet of industrial space to lease, in order to relocate an affiliate screw machine operator from the Forrestal Avenue building to free up space for the amusement ride manufacturers. 

The seller was an investment affiliate of Bo Bradford, co-president and principal of Lee & Associates-Central Florida, who bought the building back in 2006 with two friends for $1.166 million.

"We slated this as a long-term hold, but the gentleman who was leasing had the option to purchase and he exercised that," Bradford said. "We would have preferred to hold it. We never lost a day's rent on the building since we owned it, which was pretty remarkable through the downturn."

Bradford said he'd like to reinvest his share of the proceeds in another commercial property, and prefers a developed asset that has some lease-up risk, and is not above replacement cost. 

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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