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ORLANDO-This Downtown dirt spat is headed for a courtroom, area brokers intimate with the contract details of a 2,500-sf surface parking lot sitting in the middle of the central business district’s hottest development cores, tell GlobeSt.com.

The parcel, on Court Avenue between Pine Street and Central Boulevard, is considered by area land brokers as a trophy location.

“If I owned it today, I wouldn’t let it go for under $100 per sf,” a nearby merchant tells GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity.

Instead of $100 per sf, however, locally based Curtis Building Partnership is offering landowner Allison Costello $12 per sf or $30,000 for the pad.

Orange County property appraiser records show a few prime Downtown parcels already have sold for $80 per sf to $90 per sf and most of the deals in the past two years have gone for at least $75 per sf. None has sold for lower than $35 per sf.

Curtis Building Partnership has been leasing the lot from the Costello family since 1993 for $1,800 a year or $150 per month. The partnership uses the lot to daily park 15 cars owned by employees working at Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin Lopez Rinehart Inc., a land planning and consulting firm at 33 E. Pine St.

That address abuts the Costello-owned lot. Jack Glatting, a principal in the consulting firm, is also the general partner of Curtis Building Partnership. The $1,800 annual parking fee for the 15 cars comes to $10 per month per car, or about $40 to $60 less than the average going rate for Downtown parking.

By comparison, Orlando’s parking rate structure equates to $12,000 per year or $800 per month ($53 per month per car).

Curtis Building contends its 1993 lease gives it an option to buy the land for $30,000 anytime after 1950. The Costello family, which has owned the land since 1925, argues that interpretation is incorrect.

The family maintains the contract states the $30,000 price would only be honored if the prospective buyer had constructed a building on the dirt in the first year of the 1925 lease, or by spring 1926.

Since no building has ever been erected on the land, that portion of the contract is invalid, the family will argue in court if it can’t settle the dispute through out-of-court mediation, friends of the family tell GlobeSt.com.

Costello, whose late mother Betty Costello owned the land, could not be reached at GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline. But associates and persons familiar with the parcel tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity Costello is ready for a court battle.

“She feels hurt because the prospective buyer sued her mother early last year after she refused to sell the land for the $30,000 price tag,” a land broker not associated with the dispute tells GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity. “Allison is adamant she won’t sell the land for less than current market value.”

Betty Costello died in October 2000.

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