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ORLANDO-A group of 12 investors, completing 1031 exchanges, has acquired the 64,688-sf, 98%-leased Parkway Plaza shopping center at 5265 S. John Young Parkway for $10.2 million or $158,20 per sf–one of the highest per-sf-prices paid for a shopping center here this year.

SCI Real Estate Investments of Los Angeles was the lead investor. The price represents a 7.25% capitalization rate, according to Scott Derrick, SCI’s vice president of acquisitions, who negotiated for the buyers. Jim Michalak in the Tampa office of Cushman & Wakefield of Florida Inc. represented the seller.

SCI has selected the local office of Miami-based Continental Real Estate Corp. to lease and manage the center. Senior CREC property manager Christine Davidson and leasing associate Sasha Pardy are handling the account.

“As a general rule, 1031 exchange investors are first and foremost looking for safety and stability in their real estate investments,” says SCI president Marc Paul. “They tend to be more interested in ‘wealth preservation’ than in ‘wealth accumulation.’”

Paul says multifamily and retail assets in South Florida, Fort Myers and Orlando are among the safest and most secure investment markets in the nation. The SCI chief says Parkway Plaza was acquired “to complement and diversify” the firm’s Florida multifamily portfolio.

“We plan to acquire many more Florida retail centers and multifamily properties in 2005,” Paul adds. SCI’s investments will probably total a half billion dollars. SCI, in business since 1994, has a portfolio valued at over $500 million.

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