Fort Lauderdale-based investment company BBX Capital has five or more sites in Greater Orlando with signed LOIs for its MOD Pizza growth plan and wants those and more nailed down by year's end, a lead executive with the company told GrowthSpotter.
BBX was chosen last year as the exclusive Florida franchisee for Washington-based fast-casual chain MOD Pizza. The company is committed to opening 60 units across Florida with 25 in Central Florida, and will approach new development concurrently in all zones of the state.
Lake Nona, Oviedo, Winter Garden and south Downtown Orlando are among the focal submarkets for BBX's MOD site selection right now in Greater Orlando, said Angie Kenyon, vice president of real estate - retail brands, following a morning presentation at ICSC Florida Conference & Deal Making on Monday.
BBX is seeking end-cap and free-standing retail locations for MOD of roughly 2,800 square feet that are in neighborhood shopping centers well-trafficked by families, preferably with 300-600 square feet of outdoor patio space, Kenyon said.
The company's goal is to have 25 site deals solidified across Florida by the end of this year and open 14 stores in 2018, she added.
The MOD chain has 235 locations in 23 states, with a projection to reach 300 units open by year's end. The first two MOD locations in South Florida should open in the coming months in Parkland and Coral Springs.
MOD claims to lead a crowded field of fast-casual pizza chains that offer customers a customized personal pizza cooked in a few minutes. Competitors include Blaze Pizza, Your Pie, Uncle Maddio's, Midici, Pizza@ and Pie Five Pizza, among others.
MOD's corporate office has a handful of approved architectural designs prepared for its franchisees, but BBX is looking to expand those design options for Florida, Kenyon said.
BBX Capital also wants to grow the newest brand in its portfolio of sweets companies, candy store IT'SUGAR, after paying $57 million for a 93 percent stake in June.
The Deerfield Beach-based IT'SUGAR has 95 stores across 26 states and Washington, D.C., including two in Orlando at the Vineland Premium Outlets and International Premium Outlets.
Despite those book-end locations on International Drive, the company is actively looking for other store sites in Orlando that can put the brand in front of high-volume tourist traffic, BBX Capital president Jarett Levan said Monday.