ORLANDO-It took five years, but the Saudi Arabian owner of the block-long, 2.29-acre Jaymont complex of empty storefronts in the center of Downtown has finally sold the conglomeration of desolate structures that has frustrated city planners for a decade. The transaction is by far the biggest and most intriguing deal of the year here.

A consortium of international investors led by reclusive Orlando billionaire Joseph C. Lewis paid an estimated $10 million or about $4.36 million per acre ($100 per sf) for the prime site. The transaction hasn’t been recorded at the Orange County real estate office but principals in the deal confirm the purchase but not the price.

They say a decision on the site’s highest and best use will be made over the next 12 months. The entire block, about the size of 1.25 football fields, will be razed to make room for a new enterprise, legal and real estate sources familiar with the deal tell GlobeSt.com.

A major department store is what city officials dream of to replace the former F.W. Woolworth and McCrory’s stores that anchored the property from the 1950s through the 1980s. New office structures are out since the city already has three towers totaling one million sf either operating or opening their doors within months. Multi-screen movie houses are also at the low end of the pecking order.

The block is bounded by Magnolia and Orange Avenues on the east and west, and Pine and Church Streets on the north and south.

The recorded owner of the Downtown tract will be Tavistock Allan, a limited liability partnership of Tavistock South Orange, the group’s majority owner, and FLA Developments, a Canadian team headed by Russell Allan. Lewis has investment ties to Tavistock and Allan.

For example, although Tavistock Group is the formal owner of the affluent Lake Nona Resort and Golf Course Community, Lewis has an equity interest, through family affiliations, in the asset, as he has with Isleworth, another high-end Orlando shelter property and Church Street Station, a Downtown nightclub and themed retail enterprise.

Lewis, a retired London industrialist, has never had his photo published locally and has never permitted a media interview. Rasesh Thakkur represents Tavistock Group.

The seller will be recorded as Jaymont USA Inc., a holding company controlled by Yousef Jameel, a member of a prominent Saudi Arabian investment family that bought the Downtown tract 15 years ago for an estimated $3 million or $1.3 million per acre ($30 per sf). Orlando-based Jaymont Realty represents Jameel who formerly had offices in Chicago and New York.

CNL Financial Group, Orlando’s largest commercial property owner headed by James Seneff, had the first bid in to buy the tract for a planned office tower. When the prospective lead tenant rejected the site, Seneff walked away from the table.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

Dig Deeper



Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join GlobeSt.com now!

  • Free unlimited access to GlobeSt.com's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2024 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.