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Bringing in a 24 Hour Fitness to anchor the Grove at Winter Park helped position it for a lucrative sale.
Bringing in a 24 Hour Fitness to anchor the Grove at Winter Park helped position it for a lucrative sale. (HFF)

A Seminole County shopping center that sold for $3.1 million less than five years ago, traded hands this week for nearly six times that amount to a South Florida investment group.

TriOut Advisory Group paid $18.25 million for The Grove at Winter Park shopping center, according to a deed signed May 23 and recorded Tuesday in Seminole County. The 112,351-square-foot center is located on Aloma Avenue at Howell Branch Road.

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The seller was Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co., a publicly traded real estate company based in Daytona Beach.

The Grove, built in 1985, is anchored by 24 Hour Fitness. Other tenants include Pet Supplies Plus, My Salon Suites, Twisted Root Burger Co., Quickly Boba and Babyland Day Care. The center was 74 percent leased at the time of sale, said Michael Outlaw, principal of TriOut Advisory Group.

But in 2014, The Grove had many empty storefronts that were mostly hidden by overgrown shrubbery around the center's perimeter.

John P. Albright, president and CEO of Consolidated-Tomoka, told GrowthSpotter he drove by the shopping center for years before deciding it to buy it in December 2014. The center looked run-down and had lost a number of tenants, including Publix, a bank and several others.

But Albright, a Winter Park resident, saw an undervalued opportunity. He liked the center's 14 acres with frontage on Aloma and Howell Branch. Within a mile was Trinity Preparatory School and three or four new residential communities with homes by Meritage, Taylor Morrison and Ryan Homes. Albright purchased the center for $3.1 million and began remodeling and renovating.

Outlaw gives Albright credit for transforming the neglected center into an eye-catching opportunity for acquisition. Among the renovations Albright undertook were a classy redesign of the façade and upgrading the parking lot, signage and landscaping.

"We believe the seller did a really good job on renovation, creating some unique aspects for the design of the center," Outlaw told GrowthSpotter.

Outlaw said two more tenants have been signed up during the acquisition process and he expects to have the center fully leased by the end of this year. He turned away a couple of potential tenants because he didn't think they were a good fit, or they were the types of businesses that consumed a lot of parking spaces.

"We believe there is enough traffic and enough density to maintain (leasing) activity as long as we maintain the property," he said.

Wood Belcher, senior vice president at CBRE, represented TriOut in the transaction and will handle leasing and management of the center for the South Florida firm, Outlaw said.

Holliday Fenoglio Fowler represented Tomoko-Consolidated in the deal. The HFF advisory team on the transaction included senior managing director Brad Peterson, senior director Whitaker Leonhardt, director Michael Brewster and associate Ryan Stoffer.

TriOut, with offices in Pembroke Pines and Nashville, purchases about $25 million to $30 million worth of real estate, office and retail, a year, Outlaw said. The company also owns Orlando Gateway Village.

"We love that middle part of Florida, those areas between Tampa and Orlando," Outlaw said. "We are currently looking at a location north of Orlando in the Maitland area, and we're also looking at one in Altamonte Springs."

Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co. owns 2.4 million square feet of such income properties across the United States, as well as approximately 5,400 acres in the Daytona Beach area.

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Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact us at Newsroom@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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