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ORLANDO-Fierce competition among Italian-styled restaurants in the metro area prompted Italy-based COTI Restaurants USA Inc. to sell its 159-seat, 4,200-sf establishment in Metro West Village to local restaurateur Servando Lupercio for $80,000, or about $19.05 per sf.

Lupercio plans to convert the former Mia Francesca’s Italian Restaurant to a restaurant serving authentic Mexican fare, similar to his five-year-old Taquitos Jalisco location in nearby Winter Garden.

“The seller felt that because of rising competition among numerous Italian establishments in the area and other issues, it was time to sell and move on,” says James K. Densmore who heads the restaurant investment sales division at Signature Realty & Development. “The buyer wanted an opportunity to introduce his popular cuisine in a growing, vibrant area.”

Densmore says Lupercio “wanted to expand the (authentic Mexican) concept for some time but was being very selective on finding the right location.” The broker says “the proximity and reputation of the Winter Garden location will go a long way in cultivating a loyal customer base from the MetroWest and Dr. Phillips areas.”

Bill Pellatt, also a Signature broker, and Densmore handled the transaction for buyer and seller.

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