A Miami-based private equity group made up of Argentinian investors paid $4.28 million earlier this month for the Hiawassee Plaza retail center in west Orange County, its first asset in Greater Orlando.
Iberic Malls Group has invested up until now in South Florida retail, office and industrial real estate, targeting value-add properties that are behind on their maintenance, have high vacancies and below market rents.
Located at 6801 W. Colonial Dr. on the northeast corner with Hiawassee Road, the 5.48-acre Hiawassee Plaza property features a 56,184-square-foot shopping center with daily average traffic counts of 31,000 and 36,000 vehicles on the two main roads, per Orange County records.
The sale closed on Sept. 7, and was recorded Monday in Orange County. It was the third time the property had been brought under contract since marketing started in mid-2016, said Martin Forster of Hold-Thyssen, who served as listing broker with Joelle Forster.
Built mostly in the mid-1980s, the center's buildings were near 68 percent occupancy at time of closing, with health insurance provider WellCare (9,700 SF) as current anchor tenant. Iberic Malls Group is expected to lease and manage the property itself, Forster said.
The seller, Colorado-based Envoy Orlando Holdings LLC, consisted of a group of private investors. They bought a note on the property in 2013 from PNC Bank for $1,000, then foreclosed on it to take ownership of the actual property.
That ownership group had bought with the intention of leasing up and repositioning the center to add value. But in 2014 a principal member of the group who actively managed the investment died, Forster said. This left the asset in the hands of co-investors who weren't prepared to handle the responsibility over the long term.
The buyer sourced a $2.568 million loan from another business entity related to the seller. Officials with Iberic Malls Group did not respond to requests for comment.
Looking forward, the retail center's main multi-tenant sign was blown out by Hurricane Irma and will need replacing, Forster said. Potential for expanding current tenants and increasing rental rates is a clear path to revenue growth for the new owners, he added.
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