Photo of the Academy Sports anchor store at the Alafaya Commons shopping center.
Photo of the Academy Sports anchor store at the Alafaya Commons shopping center. (PHOTSFROMTHEAIR / LBX Investments)

Los Angeles-based LBX Investments paid $19.8 million on Thursday for its first commercial real estate asset in Florida, buying a shopping center south of UCF with an eye for similar assets across the state.

Anchored at 11841 E. Colonial Dr. on the corner of Alafaya Trail, the company bought the majority of the Alafaya Commons shopping center. Built in 1987 and renovated in 2015, it's now anchored by Academy Sports and YouFit Health Club.

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The property lies three miles south of the UCF campus and one mile south of Central Florida Research Park.

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Four parcels in the deal totaled 18.84 acres, which include a retail center with 130,800 square feet of leasable area, and outparcels featuring Taco Bell, a Chinese restaurant and Amscot.

"This is our first asset in Florida, which we're really excited about," managing partner Philip Block told GrowthSpotter. "We love the economic and population growth around Orlando, it's been tremendous and we expect that to continue."

LBX has been investing since mid-2016 in the Southeast U.S., particularly in discount-oriented neighborhood shopping centers where tenants compete effectively with e-commerce options.

"This asset fits what we do, which is to buy the best shopping center real estate in strong submarkets," he said. "The traffic counts on that corner were attractive (94,500 vehicles per day), and we thought it was an undermanaged opportunity for long-term growth."

The shopping center was more than 90 percent leased at time of sale, Block said. The Shopping Center Group has been hired to manage the asset.

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LBX is still assessing the physical state of the property, but anticipates investing more this year "to improve the look and feel of the center," Block said.

The sellers were affiliates of Regency Centers Corporation and Equity One, which previously paid a combined $12.346 million over separate transactions in 1996 and 2007, per county sale records. The two companies completed a merger in March 2017.

HFF Orlando marketed the property for Regency, and helped the buyer source a five-year, $13.65 million fixed-rate loan from First Florida Integrity Bank.

Looking forward, LBX wants to be "very active throughout the Southeast U.S., and certainly will look to acquire more in and around Orlando," Block said.

"We look for strong population and demographics growth, strong tenancy at the location, and an opportunity to improve value for ourselves and investors."

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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