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(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real Estate Florida.)

LAKE MARY, FL-Locally based Sperry Van Ness/Paradigm has arranged the sale ofa 36,556-square-foot building in shell condition at 7131 Business Park Lane for $6.3 million. Miguel de Arcos, owner and managing director, and Ajay Babbar, senior advisor at the firm, represented seller Miami-based RS Group Holdings LLC in the transaction. Providence-One Partners represented the buyer, locally based Heathrow Land Holdings LLC.

Sperry Van Ness had represented the original developer of the building, Ansara Heathrow Phase I, in the first sale of the building to RS Group in August 2006. The buyer at that time planned to build office condos, and had constructed the common area corridors and signed contacts with several groups. After the project failed to sell enough units, the contracts were canceled and RS Group looked to sell the unfinished building.

The new owner, Heathrow Land Holdings, is an insurance company that had been leasing in the region for several years and decided to purchase a building that it could fully occupy, de Arcos tells GlobeSt.com. The transaction could point to an emerging trend in the Lake Mary submarket, as local well-off business owners who normally lease make bargain cash offers for buildings on the market.

“Albeit those are insanely low-ball offers,” reveals de Arcos. “Companies with a lot of cash that have been renting for years are not going to leverage and want a bargain-barrel price, and sometimes they’re getting it because in this market cash is king.”

Heathrow took advantage of a distress sale that was below market at $175 per square foot, he says. The deal was the best SVN could bring to the table after an earlier contract for $225 per square foot fell through just before the credit markets imploded, de Arcos reveals. According to Sperry Van Ness, the Lake Mary/Sanford submarket is enjoying an overall vacancy rate of 7.5%, as opposed to 11.4% in nearby Metro Orlando, and $18 per-square-foot effective rents compared with $18.60 in Orlando.

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