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ORLANDO-With an apparent open checkbook, Michael Mulhall, Florida director for Hawthorne, NY-based GDC Properties Inc., plans to develop and acquire multifamily properties in the state with an estimated aggregate value of $200 million over the next three years.

“We’re not necessarily on a shopping spree so much as we are looking for smart investments,” Mulhall tells GlobeSt.com.

GDC already has an estimated $112 million in multifamily investments on the drawing boards or under construction in metro Orlando.

Mulhall says “several sites and properties are under consideration for acquisition now.”

Two of the potential purchases are in South Florida where GDC is developing the 193-unit Avenel Bay at Aventura apartments and marina in North Miami Beach, FL at an estimated hard construction cost of $28 million or about $145,000 per unit.

The 41-year-old firm, whose core business has been rental community development, is the newest player on Orlando’s widening commercial real estate turf.

In back-to-back announcements in the past three weeks, GDC has announced development plans for two Downtown multifamily/retail ventures totaling 588 apartments and 50,000 sf of retail aggregately valued at $70 million.

In neighboring Osceola County, GDC is constructing Mirasol at Celebration, a planned 210-unit luxury rental community in Celebration, FL, a town of 5,000 permanent residents created by Walt Disney World Co. eight years ago. That project, with an estimated hard construction cost of $26 million ($125,000 per unit), is 20 miles south of Downtown Orlando.

In Orlando’s central business district, the privately held developer plans a $40 million, 30-story, 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, as reported by GlobeSt.com July 26. The apartments would sit atop the retail and the garage.

In a second planned venture called Orlando Uptown, GDC plans a $30 million, 338-unit, eight-story apartment community on 3.6 acres at Marks Street and North Orange Avenue, as reported by GlobeSt.com July 15. Orlando Uptown is planned for 20,000 sf of retail and two parking garages.

Mulhall says interest in the retail component of the 30-story Downtown project is “very strong.” He has received inquiries from a major grocery chain, a national health club and a mix of other retailers for the ground-floor space.

In Florida to date, GDC has planned or under construction 991 apartment units at an estimated hard construction cost of $124 million, according to GlobeSt.com research.

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