A Chilean hotel company has signaled plans to diversify by purchasing the Executive Point Towers in Altamonte Springs for $3.16 million, with an extensive rebranding plan for the office properties now at 10 percent occupancy.
RIST Properties LLC, which owns four motels in Florida, recently purchased the two Executive Point office buildings at the southwest corner of I-4 and S.R. 436. The company plans major renovations at the five-story and seven-story buildings, located at 101-151 Wymore Road. Both were built in 1977.
"Our main business is hotels," Matias de la Jara, RIST business development director, told GrowthSpotter on Tuesday. "But we realize that with the office lease market there are opportunities. I'm the person looking for those opportunities."
RIST will paint the exterior, resurface the parking lot and improve common areas, for which de la Jara said the company would like to hire local contractors.
"Any project we do -- Miami, Naples, Tampa -- we ask for at least three different quotes from local or external companies," he said. "But we always try to look in the local area first."
Executive Pointe Towers has had a checkered history. In 2006, Orlando-based Realty Capital negotiated what the real estate investment company touted as a "miracle deal," selling the towers for $12 million when the office buildings weren't even on the market. The buyer at that time was KEL Companies (no longer in business), a construction and real estate services company.
In 2008, with the recession in full throttle, many tenants in the two buildings went out of business, opening up 18,000 square feet in the 124,000-square-foot buildings. The occupancy rate, which had been 92 percent, sank below the 88 percent minimum needed to stay open.
The owners, Altamonte Springs-based Two Towers LLC, filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in December 2008. The company owed $10.5 million to creditors.
Executive Point Towers never recovered. De la Jara said the occupancy rate now stands at 10 percent.
But RIST managers think they will have a marketable product. De la Jara said the company will change the name of the property, and the management.
"This is going to take time and we're going to move step by step," he said. "But we're a company that likes challenges."
RIST has completely renovated three of the four Florida hotels it owns, de la Jara said, including the Hilton Hampton Inn at Florida Mall on South Orange Blossom Trail. Rehab work on RIST's newest acquisition, Tampa's Baymont Inn & Suites in the University of South Florida area, will begin in September, he added.
Partners in RIST are Christian and Andrea Kast and Pamela Prett. The company's other Florida motels are in Miami Beach and Naples.