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Crescent Resources Inc., a major metro Orlando developer, has a leg up on the rest of the development field with the pending purchase of a prime 80-acre parcel on the northeast corner of Forest City Road and Maitland Boulevard. The property is just west of the booming 4.9 million-sf Maitland Center submarket and is the southwest gateway to the city of Altamonte Springs, an Orlando suburb.

Crescent will pay Altamonte Springs $6 million for the dirt. The price equates to $75,000 per acre or $1.72 psf. But the effective price, after the deal is closed and all studies completed, will probably be about $6 psf or $261,360 per acre. That would put the land price at a total $20 million.

“It’s a homerun of a deal any way you look at it,” Crescent vice president/development director Whit Duncan tells GlobeSt.com. “It’s the missing part we needed to move ahead” on the mammoth project.

A ground-breaking date hasn’t been set because Crescent’s planned five-month due diligence period is only beginning. “That’s lightning fast in itself, considering due diligence periods on projects of this size typically take eight to nine months or longer,” Duncan says. Still, he estimates infrastructure work should begin in 12 to 18 months.

“There’s a lot of hair on this deal,” Duncan says. Crescent would like to erect at least 12 office buildings, an undetermined amount of retail and a hotel on a total 110 acres. The first office structure will be a six-story, 200,000-sf building with a parking deck. Projected full-service rent for the class A facility is $24 psf.

The complex deal calls for Altamonte Springs to buy and preserve about 19 acres of wetlands that Crescent will be destroying as part of its development. The city followed a recommendation by the state’s St. Johns River Management District and bought 268 acres near the Wekiva River north of State Road 46 and west of Sanford, FL. Altamonte Springs, in turn, will donate the land to the Florida Audubon Society.

The city paid $380,000 or $1,418 per acre (3 cents psf) for the 268 acres.

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