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Orlando CRE firm pays $4.2M for Center at Celebration

With no front or back, the semi-circular Center at Celebration was designed to be an iconic building in the Disney master-planned community.
With no front or back, the semi-circular Center at Celebration was designed to be an iconic building in the Disney master-planned community.(Handout)

After more than a year on the market, Stetson University has sold the building that served as its Celebration campus for $4.2 million.

Orlando CRE broker Oscar Rodriguez and investor Mike Wang bought the landmark, semi-circular building late last week through an affiliate, Celebration 800 LLC. Rodriguez is broker-owner of B|Live Commercial & Residential Real Estate. Both are based in Windermere.

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The DeLand-based private university had issued a call for offers for its 36,000-square-foot academic center at 800 Celebration Ave. in late 2018. The three-story building is right across from Celebration’s K-8 school and walking distance to the Bohemian Hotel and downtown Celebration.

Learn why the state's first private university wants to divest of a major Orlando-area asset and what it means for students and faculty.

RDIP represented the seller. Principal Susan Morris told GrowthSpotter initially, Stetson was marketing the building as a sale-lease back opportunity. But the college decided to exit the Celebration campus and look at relocating to Creative Village.

A language school that currently leases one floor of the building would vacate its space if the owners find a new tenant willing to take the entire building.

Stetson opened the school there in 2001, where it primarily served graduate business students. It was designed by New York-based Dreamer + Phillips to be a “recognizable icon” for the Celebration community with a large atrium and windows in every classroom with views of the adjacent nature preserve.

Rodriguez and Wang will look to reposition the building for an office user. Morris worked with the seller to amend a deed restriction placed on the building that limited it to educational uses.

“We really like the location,” Rodriguez said. “We think downtown Celebration is a prime location, and a lot of companies will interested in leasing.”

He said their goal is to find a single tenant user or lease each of the three floors separately.

“We don’t want to get into to leasing small spaces,” Rodriguez said.

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

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