ORLANDO-Land sales used to take months, even years to close in many Central Florida submarkets. Not so today. Most deals are closing in 30 to 60 days, area brokers tell GlobeSt.com.

“Retail and office developers continue to compete with residential and even industrial developers for choice dirt, and paying top price in most instances,” Dean Fritchen, a senior associate in the Winter Park office of Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT tells GlobeSt.com.

Daryl M. Carter, president, Maury L. Carter & Associates Inc., Orlando says 2005 will wind up as “one of our best production years.” His company has been the leading land brokerage firm in Central Florida for 45 years, based on annual sales volume. Through various trusts, Carter acts as trustee and purchases strategic parcels for future re-sale or development on the fringes of major development hubs.

“You have to try and buy low in this business but that’s becoming a real challenge these days as the prices for choice land continue to go up every year,” Carter tells GlobeSt.com.

In the west Orlando city of Ocoee, for example, where citrus groves used to be priced at $5,000 per acre, the Shoppes of West Oaks LLC paid $2.85 million, or $338,078 per acre ($7.76 per sf), for an 8.43-acre tract at the southwest quadrant of West Colonial Drive and Good Homes Road where a 47,000-sf strip center is planned.

Further north in the suburb of Longwood, Property General Inc. paid Eula Scott LLC $825,000, or $330,000 per acre ($7.58 per sf), for a 2.5-acre tract and a 5,900-sf building at 580 S. Ronald Regan Blvd. And north of Longwood, in suburban Lake Mary, Northpointe Offcenter LLC of Baltimore, MD, d/b/a Bavar Properties Group, paid Hurstbourne Orlando Inc. $1 million, or $173,611 per acre ($3.99 per sf), for a 5.76-acre parcel on Sand Pond Road and Greenwood Boulevard at Northpoint Park of Commerce.

Buyers found lower prices in neighboring Lake County. Investor Nick Tripoli spotted a 19-acre tract at the southeast corner of Highway 19 and Lane Park Road in Tavares and paid Throcknorton and Big LLC $1.9 million or $100,000 per acre ($2.36 per sf). And on State Road 44 and Country Road 437, a fast-developing intersection east of Eustis, RF Sorrento LLC of Apopka paid H.J. Heidrich & Sons of Orlando $975,000 or $97,500 per acre ($2.24 per sf).

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