The developer behind the renovation of the former State Auto Body building in Winter Park just purchased downtown Orlando's United Trophy Manufacturing building, with plans for a similar restoration project.

Winter Park-based development and investment firm Garber Communities paid $3.7 million for the business and real estate, according to a deed filed Friday in Orange County.

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Owner Lamont Garber told GrowthSpotter he intends to completely refurbish the building, similarly to what he did at the former 12,500-square-foot State Auto Building at 1280 N. Orange Ave., now home to trendy retailers including the Bear & Peacock Brewery, Foxtail Coffee, Foxtail Farmhouse and superfood eatery Create Your Nature.

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"With social greenery in mind, we put more parking, artificial turf, new benches and beautiful trees for people to socialize," Garber said. "That's eventually what we plan here."

The business and its employees will remain on the property. Garber said the restoration project won't take place for another couple of years and that he will, for now, focus on running the business.

The nearly 90-year-old property at 610 N. Orange Ave. was sold by the family of the late philanthropist and business owner Syd Levy. The off-market deal comes about a year after Levy's passing.

Patricia Sullivan of Olde Town Brokers represented the sellers.

"We had quite a few property investors interested, but we didn't want to sell to just to anyone," Sullivan said. "Many of them wanted to bulldoze the building, develop highrises. We wanted to find someone who could maintain the business and keep the building intact."

Relocating the manufacturing facility and mixing its retail component with a slew of new local businesses was an option Garber presented, Sullivan said.

A majority of the funds from the sale of the estate will go to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, a non-profit organization and a known recipient of several big sum donations from Levy's philanthropic efforts.

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"It was an emotional and important purchase for us," Garber said, while commemorating Levy's legacy in Orlando. "Levy owned Flea World in Sanford and made many contributions to the city."

His flea market at 4311 S. Orlando Dr. closed shop in 2016. In its heyday, it boasted as many as 1,700 booths spread across about 110 acres.

Toronto-based developer Palmeira Holdings is planning a mixed-use project on the property called Parkside Place, which has entitlements to build up to 5,012 apartments and about 1.6 million square feet of commercial space.

The most recent deal takes place at a time when Downtown Orlando is ripe with new construction.

Projects in the pipeline include Property Markets Group's X Orlando, a nearly 900-unit tri-tower project proposed to rise at 434 N. Orange Ave. with 120,000 square feet of retail and commercial space.

Garber highlights the 68-acre Creative Village infill redevelopment project as a draw to the United Trophy building. The master-planned community will be anchored by the new downtown campus for University of Central Florida and Valencia College, both set to open in August.

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"Its influence is more than people realize, you're talking potentially 8,000 students plus the faculty," Garber said. "Downtown is going to change like we've never seen."

In hindsight of the urban building boom planned for downtown Orlando, Garber said he is determined to refurbish the roughly one-acre property so a passerby may understand its history.

"Wherever we make a purchase we try to keep in mind the heritage and nostalgia it offers," Garber said. "It will always be the Trophy Building, no matter what happens."

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-5427, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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