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ORLANDO-After five months of unpublicized negotiations, the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is buying the remaining 60,000 sf of the historically-designated 76,000-sf Downtown U.S. Postal Service building from Orlando Terrace Inc. for an estimated $2.5 million or $41.67 per sf, area brokers intimate with the deal tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity. The deal is expected to close by Nov. 1.

Orlando Terrace bought the 60-year-old building from the U.S. General Services Administration in March for $1.94 million or an estimated $32.33 per sf based on the 60,000 sf Orlando Terrace actually owns.

The Post Office and the church will be joint owners of the property. The asset will not appear on the Orange County tax rolls.

Orlando Terrace and church officials couldn’t be reached at GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline to learn the asking price and terms of the deal. But church associates and area brokers intimate with the transaction tell GlobeSt.com the church plans to acquire additional Downtown property to build a central campus and consolidate several offices located in nearby buildings.

With the Post Office building acquisition, the church plans to immediately expand its headquarters operations adjacent to the 65-year-old St. James Catholic Cathedral. A surface Post Office-owned parking lot at 46 E. Robinson St. separates the two properties. A 300-space parking garage is planned on that site.

Prior to the sale to the church, Orlando Terrace had planned to invest an estimated $7.5 million of improvements, retrofits and new construction in both the post office building’s interior and adjoining lot.

Ironically, the church had owned the two-acre Post Office property in the early 1930s but was forced to sell the asset to the federal government during the Great Depression period that lasted from 1928 through 1936, according to local brokers and developers familiar with the church’s real estate portfolio.

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