ORLANDO-Entering its sunset period, the 1,800-acre, 21-year-old mixed-use MetroWest community, next to Universal Florida Studios, is changing hands at the zenith of its development.

L.M. Sandler and Sons Inc. of Virginia Beach, Va. and its Miami affiliate, SouthStar Development Partners Inc. paid Debra Inc. $60 million for the remaining undeveloped 520 acres; the 18-hole champion golf course; and the clubhouse.

The price equates to $115,384 per acre or $2.64 per sf. Those numbers compare to $50,000-an-acre prices when the venture broke ground in 1979. Andrew Pugh, Debra Inc.’s executive vice president and one of MetroWest’s original development principals, will remain in that post to represent the new owners. Debra Inc. is a holding corporation in the Netherlands Antilles.

The new owners plan 3.9 million sf of office, apartment and retail on the 520 acres. A 210,000-sf Wal-Mart store; 175,000 sf of new retail; and 532 apartment units are expected to be the first to surface in 2001. MetroWest has a population of 12,000 living in 6,800 apartments and 1,250 single-family homes.

R.J. Twitty & Co. II Inc. negotiated the deal for the buyers. Holliday Fenoglio Fowler represented Debra Inc.

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