ORLANDO-Church Street Station, a nine-building, 275,000-sf former Downtown retail/dining/tourist attraction may come to life again if Louis J. Pearlman, founder/developer of the Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync bands decides the site is right for consolidating his multi-million-dollar transportation and entertainment empire.

Pearlman is negotiating with Robert I. Kling, president, F.F. South & Co. which owns Church Street Station, a 28-year-old attraction where three historic-designated buildings and the CSX train depot are over 100 years old.

Pearlman, a former Flushing Queens, NY native whose first cousin is singer Art Garfunkel, is expected to make a decision by year end, sources following the deal tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity.

Brokers intimate with the 7.3-acre Downtown property tell GlobeSt.com the deal would be mutually beneficial to both parties since Pearlman is an investor in Kling’s ownership group.

“You’ve got a situation here where the tenant will be paying rent to himself, since he (Pearlman) is also a part owner of the project,” a Downtown retail broker tells GlobeSt. “You couldn’t ask for a better deal than that.”

Pearlman’s 600 employees at his holding company, Trans Continental Cos., would be relocating from several office locations on Sand Lake Road in south Orlando. At about 400 sf of office space per employee, building planners estimate Pearlman would need about 240,000 sf to house his staff adequately.

In a telephone interview with GlobeSt.com, Kling estimates 150,000 sf to 200,000 sf is a more accurate number.

“The tenant and his affiliated companies are considering the Exchange Building (130,000 sf), the ballroom and an ancillary building,” Kling says. If leased, Church Street Station’s occupancy would grow to 75%.

The city of Orlando, eager to entice new occupants to the darkened Church Street Station area, is considering an economic incentives package to offer Pearlman for leasing or building new space at the prime site.

Pearlman is also considering other locations at the same time he is negotiating with Kling, brokers tell GlobeSt.com.

Kling and his investor group bought Church Street Station on May 5, 2000 for $15.85 million or $60.96 per sf from reclusive Orlando investor Joseph Lewis and his associates at London-based Enic PLC.

Based on the 7.3 acres alone, the price equates to $2.17 million per acre or about $49.84 per sf, a bargain at the time for prime acreage fronting Interstate 4, area brokers dealing in Downtown dirt tell GlobeSt.com.

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