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ORLANDO-GDC Properties of Hawthorne, NY, hardly a household name in metro Orlando, is generating mounds of media exposure with back-to-back announcements this week of two planned Downtown multifamily/retail ventures totaling 588 apartments and 50,000 sf of retail aggregately valued at $70 million.

The privately held developer plans a $40 million, 250-unit structure with 30,000 sf of retail and seven levels of parking on at least an acre at Magnolia Avenue and Church and Cort Streets. The apartments would sit atop the retail and the garage.

If approved by the city and the Federal Aviation Administration, the estimated 450-foot tall building would eclipse the 442-foot high, 35-story SunTrust Center at 200 S. Orange Ave., the tallest commercial structure in Central Florida.

In a second venture reported by GlobeSt.com on July 15, GDC’s plans for Orlando Uptown, a $30 million, 338-unit, eight-story undertaking on 3.6 acres at Marks Street and North Orange Avenue, have been approved by the Orlando Municipal Planning Board and go before the city council in August for the first of several public reviews.

That project is planned for 20,000 sf of retail and two parking garages. Rents are projected at $700 to $1,800 per month, comparable to rents at recently completed nearby apartment communities such as the 303-unit Echelon at Cheney Place and the 244-unit Echelon at Uptown.

Funding for the enterprises has not been disclosed. GDC still has to purchase the land, the costliest part of both developments, area brokers intimate with both deals tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity. GDC Florida director Michael Mulhall couldn’t be reached at GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline.

For Orlando Uptown, GDC is negotiating with a local investor syndicate headed by Clifford Stein for 3.6 acres at 800 N. Orange Ave., adjacent to the 19-story 380,000-sf One Orlando Centre. Stein couldn’t be reached at GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline.

But area brokers familiar with Downtown land prices tell GlobeSt.com the dirt will probably go for at least $2 million per acre ($46 per sf) or a total $7.2 million.

For the unnamed 250-unit venture, GDC is negotiating for an undetermined portion of a two-block, 2.29 acre tract with locally based Tavistock Group headed by Canadian investor Russell Allan and reclusive Orlando billionaire Joseph Lewis.

The Lewis family owns two of Orlando’s most affluent communities, Isleworth in southwest Orange County and Lake None in southeast Orange County.

Tavistock bought the 2.29 acres in November 2001 from a Saudi Arabian syndicate for $7.6 million or $3.32 million per acre ($76.19 per sf). That was the highest recorded Downtown land price in the last 10 years at least, according to Orange County real estate records.

Area brokers dealing in land sales tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity GDC will probably pay about $3.49 million per acre or $80.19 per sf for the dirt–a local record.

Tavistock plans to develop commercial/retail projects on the remaining portion of the land to complement GDC’s multifamily project, according to published reports.

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