ORLANDO-Dr. Phillips Foundation, the area’s largest privately held, not-for-profit property owner, has turned over the leasing and management of its two million-sf institutional portfolio to locally based Quest Co. in the largest deal of its kind this year.

The transaction is expected to generate fees to Quest and savings to Dr. Phillips of several million dollars a year, industry sources close to the deal tell GlobeSt.com.

Quest president Steve Lafreniere and Dr. Phillips chairman Jim Henson are expected to formally announce the transaction later this week.

“The savings will be huge for Dr. Phillips,” Lafreniere tells GlobeSt.com in an exclusive telephone interview. “They won’t have to maintain their own staff anymore to handle leasing and management and we will be returning savings to them annually for use in their long-established local charities.”

The estimated annual fee value of the deal to Quest was not immediately disclosed. But Lafreniere says the estimated value of the Dr. Phillips properties is $140 million, bringing Quest’s total four million sf up to an estimated value of $280 million.

That number jumps Quest into fifth position from 15th place among the top Orlando brokers in the leasing and management category, according to GlobeSt.com research.

“We would rather be in 11th place or so and just do what we do best,” Lafreniere says, unfazed by the new rankings.

Quest’s staff of 12 is being increased to 30 with the hiring of key Dr. Phillips personnel. “It’s a smooth transition because we have worked with these people for years,” says Lafreniere.

Of Dr. Phillips’ two million-sf portfolio, 65% is industrial with the balance in office and medical properties. A small amount is in retail.

Lafreniere and his associates formed Quest in 1996 after dissolving its partnership with Charlotte-based Lat Purser Associates. Lafreniere has been in the leasing and management arena locally since 1978 when he started SJL Management, one of the area’s first large-scale retail center managers.

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