Winter Park to consider final medical office development bids for W. Fairbanks lot

Bob Moser
GrowthSpotter

Winter Park commissioners could choose later this month between two finalist bidders for a city-owned parcel along busy W. Fairbanks Avenue and south of Martin Luther King Jr. Park, where each have proposed a new medical office building with prospective tenants named, and a slight bid increase by one side. 

The city began marketing in June a 1.51-acre property at 1111 W. Fairbanks Ave, formerly the Bowl America site, which lies just east of the intersection with U.S. 17-92 (Orlando Avenue), and south of Comstock Avenue.

City commissioners chose two bidders from the original six at their Aug. 14 meeting to prepare a best and final offer for the property.

Bobby Palta, first vice president with CBRE Orlando and commercial real estate advisor to the city, approached both parties for additional information and asked them to reconsider their closing timeframes. 

The final review and vote was scheduled for a City Commission meeting on Monday, but that was canceled Friday in advance of Hurricane Irma's landfall. The next meeting is on Sept. 25.  

ComTech Properties, Inc. and Verax Investments LLC offered the high bid of $3.5 million. The entities are affiliates of local commercial real estate broker and development consultant Don Ammerman and local physicians that include a partner of Orlando Neurosurgery, which currently owns a small stand-alone office a few blocks west on Fairbanks Avenue.

They've proposed a two-story medical office building of approximately 20,000 square feet. Dr. Ravi Gandhi, partner with Orlando Neurosurgery, told GrowthSpotter in August the vision behind his group's bid is to attract new medical service providers to Winter Park.

Gandhi's Verax Investments would put up $50,000 in earnest money within two days of executing the purchase agreement, and another $50,000 within two days of the end of an inspection period, it told the city in an updated proposal letter on Aug. 25.

It would seek $2.625 million in financing, and close by paying the balance of $775,000. Total project cost is estimated near $11 million.

The group wants 90 days following full execution of the purchase agreement to complete due diligence on the property, and would retain the right to cancel the contract at any time during that period and have its money returned. It also wants the right to extend the inspection period an extra 30 days, due to potential market shortage of certain subcontractors. 

Potential tenants for Verax's 20,000-square-foot building were described as a large medical operator with more than 65 years of experience, which would run an urgent care clinic in roughly half of the building, and high-end multidisciplinary medical clinics in the other half.

Gandhi told GrowthSpotter on Friday evening that Orlando Health and Florida Hospital have been offered the lease opportunity and shown interest.

As a backup, Orlando Neurosurgery would take the space if one of the main hospital systems isn't signed, he said. The private practice would open its second location in the new building for a comprehensive spine health center that includes physical therapy, imagining, same-day clinic and advanced pain management services.

The other finalist offer was from Orlando-based Tower Realty Partners, Inc., an owner/operator of office buildings across Greater Orlando, which originally bid $3 million for the property and proposed a two-story, 20,000-square-foot medical office building with potential retail on the ground floor.

Tower Realty updated its offer on Aug. 28 to $3.1 million, with all cash at closing and $25,000 to be put in escrow after executing the purchase agreement. It's asking for only a 45-day due diligence period. 

In its Aug. 28 letter, Tower Realty confirmed that Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery has a pre-lease agreement for the proposed building's second floor (10,000 SF). The company claims to be the largest dermatology practice in the country with more than 180 locations, and would make Winter Park its flagship office.

Tower Realty said it expects to deliver the proposed building by Second Quarter 2019, and is open to discussing a parking lot shared use agreement with the city's neighboring Martin Luther King Jr. Park. The developer did not provide a conceptual site plan. 

Both projects would need conditional use approval, since the developers are planning buildings of more than 10,000 square feet, a process that usually takes 45 to 60 days after submittal.

If commissioners accept an offer, staff will work with Palta and the city attorney to prepare a sales contract, and prepare and advertise an ordinance required to transfer the property. 

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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