Orion pays $9.6M to expand Sand Lake Road footprint in Dr. Phillips

Miami-based Orion Real Estate Group paid $9.6 million last week to expand its commercial footprint in Dr. Phillips, buying the ground-floor retail segment of a prominent apartment building right next to a mixed-use property it already owns.  

Located at 7341 W. Sand Lake Road, this ground-floor commercial condominium unit features 17,500 square feet of retail at The Rialto apartments, which were owned and developed by Wood Partners

The sale closed on Feb. 1 and was recorded Wednesday in Orange County.

Orion also owns the Phase 1 Rialto office building (105,275 SF) and retail center on 7.74 acres directly to the east at 7335 Sand Lake, where its Orlando leasing office is based and tenants include local law firm Dan Newlin & Partners

"Investing more in Orlando is a good thing for us," senior vice president Norman Buhrmaster told GrowthSpotter. "When we bought Phase 1 in early 2014, this Phase 2 building and its apartments had not started construction. We had a good relationship with Wood Partners, and continually had our eyes on the retail portion of Phase 2 ... as a logical expansion of our investment." 

Orion successfully leased up its Phase 1 office building from 50 percent occupancy in 2014 to full occupancy today. Its new Phase 2 retail segment was fully leased at acquisition last week. 

The buyer modified an existing mortgage with Midfirst Bank from 2014 to borrow an additional $6.5 million for the retail purchase.

The seller was an affiliate of Boston-based The Wilder Companies, which previously paid more than $1.46 million for the retail condo segment in December 2014. 

Orion owns and/or manages more than 300 properties across the United States, of which six are in Greater Orlando.

The company is actively pursuing more in this market in 2018, Buhrmaster said. Orion favors value-add, multi-tenant retail and office properties where it can increase occupancy, or position raw land through permitting for new development. It has also bought large portfolios in the past year of single-tenant, NNN-leased retail assets in the southeast. 

The company's most recent repositioning project in Orlando was a closed Winn Dixie building and property it bought in mid-2016. It demolished the store, subdivided the 2.34 acres into three parcels, and brought in O'Reilly Auto Parts, Wawa and Crunch Fitness for lot sales or leases last year. 

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