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WINTER PARK, FL-In a definite sign that metro Orlando’s investment sales market is warming up, a small, well-located retail building in this prime submarket has sold for a record per-sf price, marking the second sale in as many weeks of a low-profile structure commanding premium tags.

Lake County investor-entrepreneur George Kalivretenos paid the full listing price of $476,650, or $301.30 per sf, to owner Edward M. Fadden for a two-story, 60-year-old, 1,582-sf retail building strategically located at 1303 W. Fairbanks Ave., one of the main commercial arteries in this affluent suburb, three miles north of Downtown Orlando.

The $301.30 per-sf price eclipses the $264.72 that another investor-entrepreneur, Rosario Poma of Orlando, paid to 44 East Central Inc. for the 26-year-old, 3,532-sf, single-story Downtown building at 44 W. Central Blvd.

Dean Fritchen, a senior broker in the local office of Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT, orchestrated and brokered the transaction. Fritchen had initially sold the 1303 W. Fairbanks building in 1999 to Fadden, the seller, who had operated an electronics and computer servicing business at the property. Fadden paid about $155,000, or about $97.98 per sf, for the asset five years ago.

“This market has changed considerably in five years,” Fritchen tells GlobeSt.com. “You ask me how we arrived at a $300 per-sf price and I will tell you–just look around this area. Winter Park values are high because this area is emerging as the Beverly Hills of metro Orlando.”

Fritchen, a corporate affairs specialist at New York’s Madison Square Garden in the late 1970s, says there were six bidders for the property and “three serious buyers.” The winning buyer, Kalivretenos, operates a beauty salon in the same building. He is assembling an adjacent three-building acquisition for a future 20,000-sf to 30,000-sf office building on an estimated site of 1.8 acres. “He needed this small building as part of his assemblage,” Fritchen tells GlobeSt.com.

He received the listing Aug. 20, 2003 and had a contract signed on Feb. 5, 2004. The deal closed 90 days later. “We’ve got a sellers’ market out there today, big time, and I sure hope it can hold up awhile longer,” Fritchen says. “I’m getting a call a day from investors looking for quality properties.” Fritchen says he was “pleasantly surprised” at the high per-sf price the property sold for. “Transactions often taken on their own life, and we Realtors and developers, are like doctors giving birth to them,” the broker says.

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