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Out of state politics and the auto sales business for 10 years, Art Grindle’s vision, at 67, is as clear as it was when he was in retail, hollering his famous slogan, “I want to sell you a car.”

Driving along U.S. 441, about 30 miles northwest of Downtown Orlando, Grindle and his son-in-law, Albert M. Chiodi, the well-known president of Chiodi Commercial Realty in Apopka, spotted a vacant, eight-acre tract with at least 200 feet of highway frontage in Eustis, Fl.

Within 45 days, the Grindle-Chiodi team had made an offer to the landowner, Bank of America; did their due diligence on the property; and closed the deal for $800,000.

The price equates to $100,000 per acre or $2.35 psf. The bank was asking $1.2 million or $150,000 per acre ($3.44 psf) three years ago when the asset was first placed on the selling block.

Comparable area tracts are being marketed at about $4 psf or roughly $174,240 per acre. “We still can’t believe the land sat there for that length of time without anybody picking it up,” Chiodi tells GlobeSt.com. “Sometimes luck plays a better role than brains in deals like this one.”

Grindle-Chiodi plan to put another $300,000 into immediate renovations and create a combined auto lot and business park. In the works are three large car lots at the front of the property; a fourth lot on the side; four office/warehouse sites; and another eight offices with attached garage bays available for different commercial uses.

Rents for the large lots will lease for $3,000 to $8,000 per month. Small offices will start at $499 per month. The park could have a work force of 50. “If we get around 90% occupancy within a year, I’d say we hit a homerun,” Chiodi tells GlobeSt.com.

This is the Grindle-Chiodi’s first foray into Lake County, next door to the metro Orlando market in Orange County. The team owns and manages four shopping center and 10 car lots in Orlando, Apopka and Sanford. Each asset is 90% leased.

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