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ORLANDO-The planned nine-acre, 55,000-sf Alafaya Village and the 4.35-acre, 42,000-sf Waterlakes Professional Office Park 10 miles from Downtown in east Orange County are no mega-sized ventures but they’re already attracting professional tenants and receiving class A-grade rents.

Site work at the first-phase 34,000-sf building at Alafaya Village is under way. “Pre-leasing is going very well,” developer Blaine Strickland, a principal with brother Tom Strickland in Alafaya Village LLC, tells GlobeSt.com. “The goal is to be at 50% leased by Jan. 15 and it appears that we will reach that goal, based on existing leases and signed letters of intent.”

Occupancy is tentatively set for June. Elliott Jamison, Jim Spaeth and Blaine Strickland are members of the Realty Capital Advisors/TCN Worldwide team that is leasing and coordinating the Alafaya Village and Waterford Lakes projects.

At $25-per-sf–higher than rents at most Downtown class A office quarters–Blaine Strickland says Alafaya Village and Waterlakes Professional Office Park can’t be categorized as either class A or class B structures.

“This is single-story retail, commercial and office space that is achieving very high (rent) rates due to its location and the scarcity of similar alternatives in a very fast-growing residential area,” Blaine Strickland tells GlobeSt.com.

Alafaya Villages sits between the two entrances to the Stoneybrook community on Alafaya Trail, a main east Orange County corridor, and is directly across from the ninth hole of the Stoneybrook Golf Course.

“This particular submarket–Alafaya Trail south of Lake Underhill–is very small and very targeted,” Blaine Strickland says. “It appeals to those office and retail space users who desire to be embedded in the (nearby) residential communities, instead of part of the massive Waterford Lakes Town Center regional mall complex.”

Blaine Strickland sees Alafaya Village and Waterford Lakes Professional Park as part of a growing trend in which small business owners prefer to occupy quarters near their clients or primary market base.

“This project reflects that, at nine acres with 55,000 sf of entitlements, it is too big for the user who wants a small space to own or lease, and too small for the larger developers who want more mass to work with,” he notes.

To make the nine acres marketable, the Strickland brothers and their associates are dividing the land into six usable acres; building 6,200-sf to 7,500-sf buildings on five of the lots; and selling the two roadside lots as finished outparcels. The outparcels are slightly less than one acre and priced at $750,000 and $850,000 in pad-ready condition, Blaine Strickland says.

“Due to the village nature of the site plan, the five buildings we will build will come from the same design concepts, and we will control the look of the buildings built on the outparcels via architectural controls,” the developer says.

At Waterford Lakes Professional Park, three-quarters of a mile from Alafaya Village, Realty Capital has leased all but 6,000 sf of the park’s 42,000 sf for the owner/developer, Paradigm Opportunities, based in Orlando. About 10,000 sf is occupied by owners for their own businesses. The quoted rent range is $22 to $25 per sf, “some of the highest rates in east Orlando,” says Realty Capital’s Jamison.

“Perhaps the most remarkable part of Waterlakes Professional Park is how it captured the previously unknown pent-up demand in the submarket, and has now spawned new projects that want to capitalize on its success,” adds Blaine Strickland.

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