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Highlighted in blue, the Stoneybrook Plaza shopping center parcel lies on S. Alafaya Trail, directly west of the Stoneybrook East golf course in east Orange County.
Highlighted in blue, the Stoneybrook Plaza shopping center parcel lies on S. Alafaya Trail, directly west of the Stoneybrook East golf course in east Orange County. (Orange County Property Appraiser)

An Ocean Ridge-based property investor paid $5 million on Dec. 9 to enter the Orlando market with a shopping center in east Orange County, and is looking for up to $5 million more in acquisitions to fulfill a 1031 exchange opportunity.

Matthew J. O'Connor, a former insurance executive in South Florida and now commercial real estate investor with a partner, was drawn to Orlando for the first time after a recent parcel sale in West Palm Beach.

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"We looked far and wide to fulfill this 1031 exchange and were very attracted to the Orlando market," he told GrowthSpotter on Tuesday. "It seemed like the product we're finding there is newer, better planned out and with a bit better Cap rates, and that market appears poised for steady growth."

O'Connor bought Stoneybrook Marketplace, located at 2504 S. Alafaya Trail, directly across the street from the Stoneybrook East and Eastwood golf courses. The 5.27-acre parcel includes a single-story retail strip center with 35,224 square feet of net space, built in 2007.

O'Connor and an unnamed investment partner financed 70 percent of the $5 million purchase with a loan from Bank United out of South Florida, a relationship built on previous loans acquired. O'Connor has seven other properties in his portfolio, a mix of office, retail and charter school buildings, all in South Florida.

Stoneybrook Marketplace was 96 percent occupied at time of purchase, with its biggest tenant being Discovery Church and 1,300 square feet remaining, O'Connor said. Bishop Beale will market the available space, and manage the property.

O'Connor said his investment group has as much as $5 million more to commit to a purchase contract in order to equal the property value he previously sold, and fully benefit from the 1031 exchange opportunity. He has about 45 days remaining on that deadline.

"An ideal property for us would feature a Cap rate that would yield cash flow after financing, that's key, and a stable, diverse tenant base with quality leases back by solid organizations," he said.

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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