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ORLANDO-Five retail properties have changed hands as investors continue to search for strategically located neighborhood shopping centers, restaurants and lounges in growing residential markets here. Research by Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Brokerage Co. shows that investor interest matches aggressive expansions by national retail chains.

“Solid operations and excellent fundamentals continue to entice investors to buy retail properties over other property types,” says Thomas H. Hershey, a senior market analyst at Marcus & Millichap. “Strong appreciation will support sustained buyer demand for most single-tenant net-lease product.”

Hershey says that, “while not quite near the record level posted in 2003, transaction velocity has remained strong, with sales of less than $5 million accounting for 95% of all single-tenant deals in 2004. Despite expected bumps in interest rates, demand for retail will remain strong, as sales encourage retailer expansion and single-tenant net lease assets to continue to outperform other property classes.”

In the over-$5 million category, the 107,127-sf Longwood Shopping Center in suburban Longwood, FL sold for $8.83 million or about $82.38 per sf. Garshing Properties LLC bought the property from Fashion Dyers & Finishers Inc. The Crossings, an 18-year-old, 108,264-sf center on South Orange Blossom Trail near the 1.8-million-sf Florida Mall, went for $7.5 million or $69.27 per sf. The Courtelis Co. of Miami sold the asset to Orlando Crossings Inc., a private investment group.

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