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Located across from The Florida Mall, Orlando Square is one of eight retail properties in a portfolio that is now managed by a joint venture of Kitson & Partners and Apollo Global Management.
Located across from The Florida Mall, Orlando Square is one of eight retail properties in a portfolio that is now managed by a joint venture of Kitson & Partners and Apollo Global Management. (BEN_TANNER / Kitson & Partners)

New York-based private equity firm Apollo Global Management has entered into a joint venture partnership with Kitson & Partners to recapitalize a shopping center portfolio worth over $125 million.

An affiliate linked to the JV paid $17.5 million late last month for the Orlando Square shopping center at the corner of W. Sand Lake Road and Orange Blossom Trail, across from The Florida Mall.

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The transaction was part of a larger portfolio deal involving eight retail assets, including four in Seminole County.

"We had a debt maturity coming up, and we went to market to recapitalize the portfolio," Kitson President Tom Hoban told GrowthSpotter. "There's no change to the management of the properties. We're still the operating partner."

Hoban said with the recapitalization accomplished, the JV can now focus on the lease-up and renovations to the portfolio, which has an average occupancy in the high 70 percent range across all properties.

"This was a value-add portfolio," he said. "The real opportunity here is in the lease-up."

Kitson & Partners, the Palm Beach Gardens firm best known as the master developer of the 18,000-acre Babcock Ranch sustainable community near Fort Myers. The JV included more than half of its total retail portfolio and all of its assets in Orlando.

A JV between Apollo Global Management and Kitson & Partners paid $17.5 million for the Orlando Square shopping center (blue) across from Florida Mall.
A JV between Apollo Global Management and Kitson & Partners paid $17.5 million for the Orlando Square shopping center (blue) across from Florida Mall. (Orange County Property Appraiser)

Built in 2004, Orlando Square comprises more than 183,000 square feet of big box and inline retail space distributed among 30 rental suites. Anchors include Ross Dress for Less, Office Depot and Micheal's. The deal also included a Chick-fil-A restaurant that was built in 2017.

UPDATE: The the four Seminole County assets traded for a combined $53.75 million. The properties are as follows:

  • Casselberry Exchange: a 120,000-square-foot retail center anchored by Bed, Bath and Beyond. It's located on U.S. Hwy. 17-92 at Semoran Boulevard.
  • Gateway Plaza in Sanford is located on Towne Center Boulevard, across from Seminole Towne Center Mall. It has 215,000 square feet of retail space and is anchored by Michael’s, Floor & Décor, Ashley Furniture and Bed Bath and Beyond.
  • Springs Plaza on Wekiva Springs Road in Longwood is a Publix shadow-anchored retail plaza with 65,000 square feet of leasible space. Tenants include Workout Anytime, Graffiti Junktion and First Watch. 
  • Oak Grove Shoppes at 995 N. State Road 434 in Altamonte Springs is anchored by Stein Mart and O2B Kids. The center totals nearly 180,000 square feet, which includes a former Fresh Market grocery store that closed in 2017. 

Insight on which of the world's top private equity firms grabbed these assets in Orange County, and the Canadian REIT that divested of them and 60 other assets.

Hoban said the JV partners will proceed with a complete renovation o fthe Oak Grove property. Plans call for demolition of everything except the current anchor tenants, which will get an exterior upgrade to match the newly rebuilt center.

Kitson-Apollo will bring in a new organic grocer that will occupy about 25,000 square feet, he added. "We'll be breaking ground this year."

The sale also included shopping centers in Port Charlotte, Coral Springs ($21 million) and Greenacres ($34.5 million).

Loancore Capital Credit REIT financed the deal. CBRE took the portfolio to market and brokered the deal. 
"This is very exciting for us," Hoban said. "We've been gearing up for this recapitalization for over a year, and to end up where we are -- with a partner like Apollo -- we coudn't have asked for more."
Apollo is one of the world’s largest alternative investment managers operating across private equity, credit, and real estate sectors. The firm, led by Leon Black, had approximately $18 billion in real estate assets under management at the close of 2018. 
Last year, an Apollo affiliate fund paid nearly $24 million for a Publix-anchored shopping center and two outparcels on Vineland Avenue. That acquisition was part of a 62-asset portfolio deal with a Canadian REIT valued at $620.4 million.
Apollo declined interview requests. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated with information from Kitson and with the sales record data from Seminole County.

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

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