Central Florida Roundup
Consolidated-Tomoka selling off undeveloped land to buy developed land
Consolidated-Tomoka is selling off undeveloped land to buy developed land.
Founded more than 100 years ago to sell turpentine and pitch to ship owners and groceries to sailors, Consolidated-Tomoka Land was for many years one of Florida’s true land barons. At its peak, the company and its affiliates owned more than 1.8 million acres of the state. The company was the biggest landowner in Daytona Beach, where as recently as 25 years ago it still had more than 24,000 acres of timberlands.
The publicly traded company’s footprint is rapidly shrinking. In April, the company, headquartered in Daytona Beach since 1985, announced that it expects to close on 15 land contracts this year and next. The sales are worth some $90 million and encompass more than 3,200 acres — roughly 60% of the company’s remaining land holdings. About a third of that acreage is to be sold to ICI Homes, a Daytona Beach-based home builder.
In 2017, Consolidated-Tomoka sold 2,700 acres for nearly $60 million, a single-year record for the company, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
The company has used the proceeds to buy developed land in hopes of making its business more predictable and geographically diverse. The company now owns 40 single-tenant and seven multi-tenant properties across 14 states — up from 26 properties in three states a decade ago. It now manages more than 2.3 million square feet of leasable space, generating $40.1 million in revenue in 2018 — more than four times the 2008 total.
CEO John Albright says the company may convert itself into a real estate investment trust once it has more fully divested itself of the undeveloped land.
“I think once the land is more fully addressed, then that would be when we take up that opportunity,” he says.
- The Villages was once again the fastest-growing metro area, according to new Census estimates, with population growth of 38% since 2010.
- Apartment rental rates in Central Florida have grown twice as fast as the national average over the past five years, according to an Orlando Sentinel analysis of Apartment List’s Rentonomics data.
- Orlando Health bought 28 acres in Osceola County near the Polk County line.
- AdventHealth Kissimmee will add three floors and 80 rooms as part of an $84-million expansion.
- LaFontaine Oliver stepped down as president and general manager of Orlando public radio station WMFE to take the same job at a public radio station in Baltimore.
- Central Florida’s homeless population has declined 11% over the past five years.
- Orlando Health pledged $1 million toward the development of a memorial and museum marking the 2016 mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub.
- Maryland-based Kanaris Group bought Orlando public relations firm Uproar PR.
- Gloria and Emilio Estefan will open their second Estefan Kitchen restaurant at the Margaritaville Resort Orlando in Kissimmee. The first is in Miami. The couple will close their Bongos Cuban Café restaurant at Walt Disney World.
- Orlando Magic co-founder and longtime team executive Pat Williams retired.
- An estimated 75 million visitors came to Orlando in 2018, a 4.2% increase from the previous year, according to Visit Orlando.
- SeaWorld Entertainment laid off an undisclosed number of employees. The company also said first-quarter attendance across its 12 U.S. parks rose 3.6%.
- Universal Orlando opened an in-park restaurant themed to NBCUniversal’s “Today” morning news franchise.
- Private equity firm KSL Capital Partners bought a “significant” minority stake in Orlando-based Orange Lake Resorts, the developer of Holiday Inn timeshares. Terms weren’t disclosed.
- The Central Florida Expressway Authority launched a pilot program loaning transponders to visitors who rent cars at Orlando International Airport. The city of Orlando designated ride-sharing hubs for Uber and Lyft to help speed up the process of dispersing late-night crowds.
- SpaceX says an astronaut spacecraft it is developing for NASA similar to the one shown here exploded during ground testing. The company says it doesn’t yet know how the setback will affect the timeline for its Crew Dragon capsule, which is supposed to begin carrying people into space by the end of the year.
Beyond the Ultimate
The I-4 Ultimate project, which involves rebuilding and adding toll lanes to 21 miles of I-4 through the heart of Orlando, won’t be done until at least 2021. But state transportation planners are already looking past it. The Florida Department of Transportation’s updated five-year work program, which lawmakers approved when they passed the state’s fiscal 2019-20 budget in May, added $10 million to begin engineering work on what it calls I-4 Beyond the Ultimate. The plan includes another $7.5 million for FDOT to spend on “community awareness” for the project. The Beyond the Ultimate plan calls for adding 20 miles of toll lanes to the north (from Seminole County to past Deltona in Volusia County) and another 20 miles of toll lanes to the south (from Universal Orlando to ChampionsGate in Osceola County).
Read more in Florida Trend's July issue.
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