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ORLANDO-Cameron Kuhn, Orlando’s biggest building owner based on the size and number of single assets owned and planned, is reaching to produce his 22nd property Downtown in 10 years. The new plan is an estimated $100-million, 750,000-sf of condominium office/retail space and a 12-story, 1,500-vehicle parking garage on about three acres formerly anchored by a JC Penney store. The project has a 2008 tentative completion but no ground-breaking date yet.

Kuhn’s brief announcement of the project comes as his Kuhn Development Co. is into its second month of construction on Premiere Trade Plaza, a planned $140-million, 545,000-sf mixed-use 2.3-acre undertaking that will have 370,000 sf of office, 105,000 sf of retail, a 1,600-space parking garage and a 12-screen movie theater–the first movie house Downtown Orlando has had in 25 years.

The two projects are four blocks apart on Orange Avenue, Downtown’s main business thoroughfare. The development site currently houses a half dozen small businesses with structures that would have to be demolished before the second Kuhn project begins.

“Downtown has never seen a crush of new development, planned or happening, so quickly, such as this, in probably 50 years at least,” Dean Fritchen, a senior broker in the Winter Park, FL office of Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT, tells GlobeSt.com. Fritchen was referring to new commercial, retail and about 5,000 new condo homes completed or planned in the CBD in the past three years.

Area brokers following the Kuhn project tell GlobeSt.com the ground-breaking date for the developer’s second project is possibly being held up by negotiations Kuhn is having with a holdout landowner on Orange Avenue.

The landowner, lawyer Mark NeJame, owns a 17,000-sf building at 120 N. Orange Ave. and had planned to redevelop his property separately or jointly with Kuhn, sources intimate with the lawyer’s plans reveal. But Kuhn has rejected that proposal, sources in a position to know tell GlobeSt.com. Neither Kuhn nor NeJame could be reached by GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline.

Kuhn closed the acquisition of the former JC Penney building Dec. 8, buying the 150,000-sf, 50-year-old structure at 150 N. Orange Ave. for $11.8 million or about $78.33 per sf, say sources intimate with the so-far unrecorded transaction. The building has housed the Orange County Traffic Court for the past 15 years.

Kuhn already has invested about $17 million in buying up smaller Orange Avenue properties for his second project. The same real estate and legal sources tell GlobeSt.com NeJame is probably holding out for a record $200-per-sf price on his property, making the deal valued at about $3.4 million.

But other sources who have worked closely with Kuhn on his previous deals say Kuhn’s success to date has been accomplished by following a simple strategy. “He always buys below replacement cost and never leverages more than 50% of a property’s value for a loan,” one broker reveals. That would indicate Kuhn will pay “far less” than $200 per sf for the NeJame property, the source says.

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