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Pet store owner buys Mama B's Giant Subs in Downtown Orlando, plans reno

Pet store owner buys Mama B's Giant Subs in Downtown Orlando, plans reno
A view of Mama B's restaurant on Thursday, on the southwest corner of N. Orange Avenue and Colonial Drive. (Bob Moser)

Premium pet food, supply and grooming business Magic Pet paid $750,000 on May 8 to enter the Downtown Orlando market, buying the former Mama B's Giant Subs property with significant renovation plans ahead, the company's owner told GrowthSpotter.

Located at 692 N. Orange Ave. on the southwest corner with Colonial Drive, the site will be a fourth store for Magic Pet, which now has two in Oviedo and one in Baldwin Park after entering the market in 2011.

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The 0.21-acre parcel was first listed for sale last August at $1.2 million by Mama B's owners the Adamik family, which were opting to retire after establishing their downtown sandwich shop in 1975. Rabah brought it under contract in February.

The family's second Mama B's property in South Downtown, at 1101 S. Orange Ave., is still being actively marketed for sale and is not under contract, listing agent Edward Johnston of EXIT Realty said on Thursday.

Magic Pet owner Janaien Rabah was drawn to the property's "incredible location" at the highly trafficked intersection. She believes that attribute will be worth the months of renovation ahead on the 42-year-old building.

"We're just beginning to work on plans to present to the city, there are a lot of renovations to do," Rabah said. "The first step we've been working on is the (pole) sign, and for that we've hired Media 1 Signs, which have done work for all my locations."

Steve Hepner with Form Works has been brought on as architect, and Janaien's brother is an independent licensed general contractor who will manage the building's renovation.

The interior currently offers just over 1,800 square feet, which could expand if city staff allow Rabah to take down some interior walls, she said. Significant work on the building's electrical wiring system must be done, she added.

On the outside, "we want to come up with a different design from what you see now" of the classic Mama B's gray-and-white paint job, Rabah said. "We still have to present to the city, but we'll try to make it look as beautiful as we can, and match the presentation we want of a pet store."

Rabah hesitated to project an opening for the store with so many key steps ahead requiring city permit approvals, but hopes to complete the work by year's end.

The location should draw residents from the growing North Quarter neighborhood. Population within a one-mile radius was more than 12,500 as of 2015, with a five-year population projection of 13,860 and daytime population estimated at 51,889, according to ESRI Demographics.

Rabah's buyer affiliate sourced a loan of $423,200 from Regions Bank that will come due in 2042.

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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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