CRE investors plan retail corner redevelopment in Orlando's Milk District

A pair of realtors invested in a 1.25-acre assemblage in Downtown Orlando's Milk District are pursuing partial redevelopment of a handful of retail-commercial buildings.

Located on the southwest corner of N. Bumby Avenue and E. Robinson Street, just southwest of the T.G. Lee Dairy plant, the project includes four separate buildings and an associated surface parking lot.

Orlando-based Realtor Elise Sabatino and husband Giovanni Fernandez, owners of residential brokerage and property management firm National Real Estate, paid more than $1.79 million for the properties between June 2015 and September 2016. 

The couple has invested close to $1 million more since then in renovations on the properties, with plans now to reinvent the busy corner over the next seven months. 

The duo filed an Administrative Master Plan last week with the city of Orlando for the redevelopment of the five contiguous properties. Michael D. Harding of MHarding Enterprises, Inc., is civil engineer on the project.

The proposal is to repurpose the buildings into "a thriving mixed-use multi-tenant activity center" that will provide additional nightlife to the Milk District, with uses to include shops, restaurants, bars, office space and other retail.

They say the project will encourage pedestrian traffic and access, add landscaping and buffering along property lines to screen the development from residential neighbors, per a description provided to city planners.

The three buildings to remain (210 N. Bumby, 2304 and 2310 E. Robinson) have a total of 15,938 square feet of building floor area, and 58 parking spaces provided. Of that, roughly 6,200 square feet remains available for lease. 

A vacant 2,400 square feet that faces the corner is being marketed for a "market or cafe-type business for the lunch and day crowd," while a 3,800-square-foot space to the rear is envisioned for a restaurant tenant that can take advantage of more than 55 parking spaces, Fernandez said. 

Part of one of the buildings is home to National Real Estate's new offices, and other office tenants have signed on in the past year. Doug Badia of Pure Properties Group in Tampa is the couple's leasing agent marketing the space. 

The fourth building (206 N. Bumby) is a converted residential structure that would be demolished to allow for additional parking.

Fernandez expects his National Real Estate office to be open in early June, for the rear demo and surface paving to be ready in September, and the two vacant spaces to be leased and occupied by year's end. 

While National Real Estate focuses primarily on single-family home rentals, Sabatino and Fernandez are investing their own capital primarily in commercial property assemblages and redevelopment. 

They've acquired more than 850 single-family homes in the past few years, and have assembled another 4.5 acres in Downtown Orlando's Hourglass District with retail redevelopment plans. 

The request asks for a modification of standards for parking lot landscaping, permission to serve alcohol on the property and enhance the sidewalks for pedestrian access.

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