If you’re looking for any more proof that Central Florida is climbing out of the Great Recession, look no further than the area’s biggest real estate transactions.


The region’s businesses, developers, government officials, real estate professionals and investors worked together to finalize 14 deals in the last year that are set to generate more jobs and more than $1 billion in economic activity in the area.

The top transactions — which took place between July 2012 and June 2013 — involved major employers, popular retailers, big-money investors and properties that had sat vacant or distressed for many years and now are starting to see new life.
This year’s largest deal — Verizon Communications Inc.’s new $50 million, 220,000-square-foot finance campus in Lake Mary that’s expected to bring 750 jobs to the region — was the first time since 2009 that a private project topped the list. That’s a sign that the real estate market is thriving again, since major projects aren’t depending on public financing to move forward.
Other deals making the cut this year include specialty grocery Trader Joe’s coming to Winter Park, Lennar Homes’ $1 billion plan to bring thousands of homes to ChampionsGate on the Osceola/Polk county border and CNL Commercial Real Estate tearing down an old office building and developing new Class A office space.
See more details on the top deals on Pages 12-16.

• Top project sale: Orlando Fashion Square mall
Top project sale: Orlando Fashion Square mall | JULY 5, 2013
• Biggest deal announced: Verizon Communications Inc.
• Headquarters/corporate campus move: XOS Technologies Inc.
• Community impact/medical: Florida Hospital women’s tower
• New office development: Lake Nona Gateway
• New industrial development: John Young Business Park
• New retail/hospitality: Trader Joe’s in Winter Park
• Deal with developed industrial real estate: Kenco Logistics Services
• Deal with developed office real estate: Digital Risk
• Deal with developed retail/hospitality real estate: Mango’s Tropical Cafe
• Top rehabilitation/renovation of retail/hospitality: Mills Park
• Top rehabilitation/renovation of office space: Heritage Square in Winter Park
• Top land deal: Former Splendid China
• Top residential deal: Lennar Homes at ChampionsGate

Orlando Fashion Square mall
Description: Franklin, Tenn.-based developer UP Development Inc. bought the 1.1 million-square-foot Orlando Fashion Square mall and neighboring parcels for $39.5 million, and started a $25 million redevelopment of the property at 3201 E. Colonial Drive.

Timing: Sale closed on Feb. 12; renovations at the mall and razing the old buildings on the adjacent parcel began in the spring.

What the project entailed: Renovations to include more and expanded tenants plus creating customer service gathering areas; the addition of a BB&T Bank branch outparcel; rebuilding the shuttered Toys “R” Us store into a 24-Hour Fitness gym; redeveloping part of the mall to include a hotel
Why it’s significant to Central Florida: The mall had for years struggled to keep tenants and had a high turnover rate. UP Development, known for taking over embattled projects, bought the property to resurrect it.
Involved parties: Developer/owner UP Development Inc.; landlord representativeScott Corbin of Colliers International Central Florida; contractor Schmid Construction Inc.
“Why wouldn’t we invest in this community? After all, this community and local families have invested in this mall for over 40 years. It has proven sustainability.”
— Scott Fish, principal, UP Development Inc.

SOURCE: https://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/print-edition/2013/07/05/best-real-estate-deals-of-2012-2013.html