A booming economy and robust job growth, particularly in professional and business services, continue to propel Orlando’s office market. The vacancy rate is significantly below both the national average and Orlando’s long-term average of about 10%, despite loosening in recent years as more than 3.6 million square feet of new office space has been added since 2017.
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Booming population and job growth in Orlando have supported high demand for industrial units and vacancy has stayed below the long-term average for more than five years. Vacancy remains tight despite an increase in development and Winn-Dixie vacating more than 1 million square feet in Q2019. The rate could compress by as much as 60 basis points alone with Amazon's upcoming occupation of that space.
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The market is already seeing limited new retail construction, which could keep vacancies low. The rate has so far only slightly risen from historical lows. Many new retail groundbreakings are unlikely to move forward in the coming months, which should at least slightly cushion the coronavirus’s below to the market’s retail vacancy rate. However, store closures are likely to ramp up due to the pandemic.
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Central Florida Commercial Association of REALTORS® active members are called upon to vote on proposed changes to the CFCAR bylaws. Active members will be sent a digital invitation to vote via an online form. Voting will open on August 24 and close on August 31.
Active CFCAR members are encouraged to click here to view the proposed bylaw changes. Bylaws are secured behind a member-only page and require a login to view.
Click here to view the bylaws.
January 2020 rolled in and every commercial broker in Central Florida was optimistic that 2020 was going to be a fantastic year for our respective businesses. The economy was cranking at a hefty +/- 3% growth rate, lenders were continuing to push money out to commercial borrowers, and interest rates were at all time lows. While Interest rates are still low, loan underwriting is tough and businesses are slowly reopening. While the virus has affected virtually everything we do in some way, commercial real estate brokers could see a substantial increase in transactions in the coming months and years.
Real estate prices will be affected. Hospitality, retail, and office have felt the biggest blow to date. Industrial and multifamily have so far remained relatively unscathed. What does this mean for the commercial brokerage business? While certain property classes will undoubtedly feel a hit in values, the next twelve to eighteen months will determine how we, as brokers, will be affected. There is still a great deal of liquidity out in the market. There is no shortage of buyers. The price they are willing to pay and the perceived motivation of seller’s are the factors yet to be reconciled. Surely, lenders will see an increase in defaults and at some point, will see their owned properties (REOs) increase in numbers. Seller’s motivation increases as we see more distressed properties in the market.
It is too early to tell, to what extent values in certain sectors may continue to decline. As commercial real estate brokers, we have an obligation to keep the best interests of our clients at the forefront in our dealings. Real-time pricing advice to property owners is the best thing we can do to protect them. As we move into the next phase of these crazy economic times, it is not unrealistic to expect that commercial real estate professionals may very well experience substantial increases in transaction volume over the next couple of years.
Article by Bob Rand, CCIM, 2020 CFCAR President-elect
Coldwell Banker Commercial Benchmark
Ormond Beach, FL
Orange County on July 28 approved changes meant to help encourage development activity during the pandemic.
The commissioners voted unanimously for county code amendments which allow for companies to defer the payment of impact fees and to exempt the payment of transportation impact fees for change-of-use permits up to $100,000.
That comes as Central Florida residential and non-residential construction starts are down 20% year over year through the month of May, according to a June 25 New York-based Dodge Data & Analytics report, the most recent data available.
The deferment will apply to all types of impact fees, including those collected for fire services, transportation, schools, parks and law enforcement. The fees usually are collected at the issuance of a building permit, but now will be due either by the time a development’s first building receives pre-power or the first certificate of occupancy is issued, whichever comes first.
With the transportation impact fee payment, there will be an exemption for permits issued for change of use, such as if a building was going from warehouse to retail. The $100,000 cap on the exemption means any amount above that point still will have to be paid.
The change-of-use fees account for a small amount of the $30 million-$40 million the county usually collects in transportation impact fees per year, Alan Marshall, assistant to the director for the county’s community, environmental and development services department, said during the July 28 county meeting. Between the past two years, collections of those change-of-use fees accounted for $100,000 to $110,000 on average.
Both of those incentive programs will start Aug. 3 and are set to end July 30, 2021.
The county commissioners on July 7 previously voted to provide $10 million to offset building permits for a six-month period. The policy allows developers to apply for up to $100,000 in building permit offsets per project. That program began July 13 and will end either Jan. 15 or when the funds are expended.
New construction creates jobs, making it an important regional economic driver. The industry employs roughly 90,800 people locally who are paid an average of $15.32 per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
National real estate developer North American Properties (NAP) has acquired 21 acres of land within Titusville's Riverfront Center development at the southeast corner of U.S. 1 and NASA Causeway.
The parcel is located at the entrance to Kennedy Space Center, between aerospace giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
Preliminary phase one plans call for multiple buildings totaling 135,000 square feet of traditional office, office warehouse and manufacturing space, plus commercial outparcels to serve the growing area market. This move marks the Cincinnati-based company's first project on Florida's Space Coast, with more to come.
"We see tremendous growth potential in this region, and we're accelerating our plans to meet the demand for industrial space by the vendors and suppliers that serve the defense and revitalized space industries," said Shawn McIntyre, NAP Florida Managing Partner. "We intend to have the first phase of this project designed, permitted and ready to lease within the next 12 months."
Since 1954, NAP has developed more than $7 billion in investments, including 22 million square feet of commercial space and 19,000 residential units in 15 states. McIntyre is currently wrapping up the Cascades Project in Tallahassee, a $150 million mixed-use development spanning two city blocks and featuring mid-rise residential, retail, office and restaurant space, and a 154-room AC Hotel by Marriott. By taking the proper precautions amid the coronavirus pandemic, the project remains set to open later this year.
"Our company has experienced more than 65 years of success in real estate development in part because of the time we invest in researching communities and monitoring trends," said McIntyre. "It's no secret that Florida's Space Coast is growing at an incredible speed and being fueled by companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance (ULA). We have other properties in the area under contract, and we believe this Riverfront Center investment is only the beginning."
A sizable commercial project is in the works in Brevard County — an area that’s attracting more demand for industrial real estate.
An unnamed developer is under contract to buy roughly 20 acres southwest of Grissom Parkway and Industry Road in Cocoa for a future cold-storage facility, said Mike Moss, vice president of industrial properties with Melbourne-based Lightle Beckner Robison Inc., which is marketing the property.
Moss declined to say who the developer is, but said the site is entitled for roughly 300,000 square feet of industrial space. The project will be called the Brevard Cold Storage Center.
The land acquisition and construction timelines aren’t known for the future build-to-suit project. But these types of projects are in demand across Central Florida as more consumers turn to e-commerce to order products — including food and other things that require cold storage.
“There’s not a refrigerated warehouse in Brevard County of any size outside of the port,” Moss said. “This is going to be state of the art.”
Cocoa-based Grissom Park LLC owns the roughly 20 acres, according to real state research firm Reonomy. The entity paid about $700,000 in January and June 2006 for two parcels of land involved in the deal.
The 300,000-square-foot industrial project may cost $19.5 million to build, based on industry standards.
New construction creates jobs, making it an important regional economic driver. The industry employs roughly 90,800 people in Central Florida who are paid an average of $15.32 per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
It will be the latest cold-storage facility to open in Brevard County. In August 2018, Bentonville, Arkansas-based retail giant Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) opened a 550,000-square-foot “perishable distribution center” in Cocoa, according to Florida Today.
These types of deals show the growing demand for industrial space in Brevard County, which for years struggled to attract bigger tenants. “That’s starting to change a little bit,” Moss said.
Tom Nickley keeps waking up at 2 a.m. thinking about his company's new office space.
That's because he can't stop envisioning the possibilities for his residential real estate firm The Nickley Group's future office in the Cameo Theater at 1013 E. Colonial Drive — the highly recognizable 80-year-old building in the budding Mills 50 district. He signed a deal June 26 to occupy the roughly 4,200-square-foot space later in the year for his 35 or so agents. The Nickley Group is affiliated with Austin-based real estate company Keller Williams Realty.
Billy Rodriguez and Colette Santana represented the Orlando-based landlord, 1013 Colonial Ventures LLC, in the five-year deal, and Mark Arnold, with Keller Williams, represented The Nickley Group. Orlando-based landlord 1013 Colonial Ventures LLC purchased the building for $338,900 in February 2013, according to Orange County records. The space's market value was $522,448 in 2019, records showed.
The space was on the market for less than a month as the Mills 50 area has buzzed with real estate activity in recent weeks. For example, across the street, Anh Chau — owner of Orlando-based Asian Florida Investment Inc. — plans to demolish 723 N. Mills Ave. and build roughly 8,800 square feet of retail and commercial space there.
"All the stars aligned for us," Nickley said. "I believe it was meant to be."
Nickley's firm started looking for a new space roughly a year ago as the company grew. The group's agents sell between 35-40 homes each annually — considered high in the industry — and enjoy being in a physical office environment. In fact, they role play scripts with each other some mornings before making calls.
Nickley heard about the iconic space about three months ago after the then tenant, Snap! Orlando, was considering leaving. Snap! Orlando's founder and Chairman Patrick Kahn — and his wife, Holly, co-curator/exhibition coordinator — had bought a home from one of Nickley's agents. And Nickley had stayed in touch because he planned to do an event at the art gallery this year — and was familiar with the neighborhood's haunts.
"We've been buying pizza from Lazy Moon forever," said Nickley, referencing a nearby restaurant. "That was our stomping ground already."
The site's parking, its patio courtyard and proximity to downtown Orlando made it attractive, Rodriguez said. At least two other restaurant concepts had also expressed serious interest.
"Mills 50 is just getting more and more popular by the day," Rodriguez said.
Nickley plans to move his team into the new office later this year and wants to partner with Snap! Orlando for events. In addition, he aims to open the space up and do other company events there in the future.
He hopes the space's future buildout will capture the building's history. Nickley doesn't want people to see a standard real estate office when they walk inside.
"We want to be the exact opposite."
There’s still more planning and discussion that needs to occur before a 128-acre shuttered Orlando golf course sees a major redevelopment.
That’s according to Jakub Hejl, president of Miami-based developer Westside Capital Group, which has proposed what may become a $1 billion investment in the Rosemont community featuring green space, public art, a city center, new retail and high-end residences. The project would replace the Lake Orlando Golf Club, located at 4224 Clubhouse Road, which closed in 2014.
Hejl told Orlando Business Journal he expects to submit plans to the city of Orlando in July, but didn’t elaborate on a potential construction timeline.
Ultimately, Westside Capital Group aims to double or triple property values in the area in the next decade, according to its website.
“We are early in the planning phase and currently seeking community input,” Hejl said.
That said, Westside Capital Group has already assembled a development team including Maitland-based Charlan Brock Architects; Homestead, Pennsylvania-based GAI Consultants; Orlando-based Lowndes and Winter Park-based Compspring.
In addition, Westside Capital’s related Lake Orlando Land Owner LLC secured the golf course land in July 2019 for roughly $1.8 million, or about $14,062 an acre, Orange County records showed. Florida Land Investments LLC was the seller. The land was valued at nearly $1 million in 2019.
The area has attracted residential and industrial interest in recent years, said Andy Slowik, director of land brokerage at Cushman & Wakefield, who isn’t involved in the deal. In fact, he and Margery Johnson, senior director of land brokerage, recently sold 26 acres south of Rosement to Alpharetta, Georgia-based developer Starlight Homes for a townhome project.
Slowik said the area is attractive due to its proximity to downtown Orlando. In addition, golf courses have shuttered across the region and Florida — the golf capital of the world — in recent years due to overbuilding. That’s given developers opportunities to build new projects on these shuttered courses.
“Golf course redevelopment is certainly a trend across the state,” Slowik said.
Fort Lauderdale-based BTI Partners, a real estate developer and land investor, has closed on the sale of a parcel of land in the 130-acre master planned community known as Posner Park.
As the master developer, BTI Partners, and its partners, sold 5.8 acres to Eastwind Development for $2.72 million.
Posner Park is located on US 27 off the I-4 interchange, just southwest of the Orlando Metro area near Davenport, Florida.
Cushman & Wakefield of Florida, LLC, marketed the site and brokered the sale.
Eastwind Development plans to develop the site into a 55+ community that will consist of rental apartments. BTI Partners recently sold 21.5 acres to Posner Group Holdings LLC for $4.1 million; 9 acres to Cadence Partners for $1.1 million; and 18 acres to Wisconsin developer Continental Properties, which is currently building a 288-unit apartment complex in Posner Village. Continental Properties is the eighth largest multifamily developer in the United States. In 2018, it delivered 3,140 new apartments. In 2017, BTI Partners sold 30 of the 130 acres to Intram Investments Inc., a Florida-based real estate development and restaurant investment company. In recent years, the area has seen a residential and commercial development boom as Greater Orlando’s boundaries expand.
“BTI’s flagship investment strategy is predicated on acquiring residential and mixed-use land located in a path of economic growth, with a focus on major MSA’s across Florida,” said Justin Onorato, CIO of BTI Partners. “Our recent land sales at City Center to apartment, vacation townhome and warehouse developers confirm this approach and serves as concrete evidence of the continued maturation of central Florida, specifically in the I-4/US 27 corridor.”
BTI Partners is now selling the last parcel available at Posner Park’s City Center. The remaining 11.4-acre development site, which is situated on nearly 800 feet fronting I-4, is ideal for warehouse clubs type of discount stores, Onorato said. The site’s zoning is flexible and permits a wide range of mixed-uses, including tourist commercial, retail, hospitality and entertainment. Cushman & Wakefield is marketing the property.
BTI Partners is known for acquiring land tracts ideal for master planned communities, managing horizontal development and then partnering with homebuilders for the actual delivery of homes. Since 2010, BTI Partners, with its institutional investors, has acquired or controlled more than 20,000 residential lots and today is a trusted land supplier to several national homebuilders. BTI Partners recently acquired 1,400 acres of undeveloped land located in Osceola County, about 20 miles south of downtown Orlando and west of Davenport.
BTI Partners is also behind The Grove Resort & Water Park, an award-winning condo hotel resort five minutes from Walt Disney World. The Grove consists of 878 fully-furnished two- and three-bedroom luxury vacation homes.
JLL Capital Markets has added Jay Ballard and Ken Delvillar as managing directors focused on multi-housing transactions in its Orlando office.
Ballard and Delvillar have more than 54 years of combined industry experience.
They join JLL from Cushman and Wakefield, where they were executive directors for the Florida Multifamily Advisory Group. Over the course of their careers, Ballard and Delvillar have represented a variety of public and private companies, developers, life companies, pension fund advisors and condo converters on both a regional and national basis and have been involved in more than $6.5 billion of completed transactions.
Ballard is an active member of National Multi-Housing Council (NMHC) and Florida Apartment Association (FAA). He has been recognized as a top broker both in-house and by NAIOP, Costar and Central Florida Commercial Association of Realtors (CFCAR). Ballard is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, Darla Moore School of Business.
Delvillar graduated with a degree in Finance from the University of Central Florida. He is also an active member of numerous industry organizations, including NMHC, FAA, Apartment Association of Greater Orlando (AAGO) and CFCAR. Additionally, Mr. Delvillar is a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM).
“We are very excited about the opportunity to join the Central Florida JLL Capital Markets team,” Ballard said. “With JLL’s recent acquisition of HFF last year, our ability to tap into their extensive debt and equity capacity by way of their DUS lending and equity platform, will allow us to expand the services we provide to our clients.”
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