Winter Park building buy sets up public company CTO’s new local office

By Ryan Lynch  –  Staff Writer, Orlando Business Journal

A recent building purchase will result in local real estate investment trust CTO Realty Growth Inc. bringing a bigger presence into Winter Park in the coming months.

The Daytona Beach-based REIT (NYSE: CTO) earlier this month completed a sale-leaseback of the 28,000-square foot office building at 369 N. New York Avenue in Winter Park with Columbus, Georgia-based Synovus Bank. CTO on Dec. 20 spent $13.2 million, or $471.43 per square foot, to buy the three-story building, including the surface parking and the Synovus Bank drive-thru, Orange County records showed.

A sale-leaseback enables a company to sell an asset to raise capital, then, it can lease that asset back from the buyer — giving it cash as well as the asset it needs to operate its business.

CTO — one of Central Florida’s largest publicly traded companies with $56.38 million in 2020 revenue, based on Orlando Business Journal research — this month opened a temporary office in the building. It eventually wants to have a third of its total staff — 18 people, as of Dec. 29 — work there, with the balance in Daytona Beach, said Matthew M. Partridge, CTO senior vice president, CFO and treasurer. The REIT expects to hire an undisclosed number of workers in 2022, with the expectation that most would work in Winter Park, Partridge told OBJ. Additionally, CTO President and CEO John Albright lives in Winter Park.

CTO is occupying an undisclosed amount of space on the building’s third floor, but sometime during 2022’s first half eventually will occupy about 4,500 square feet of second-floor space — though the final number isn’t finalized, Partridge said. Synovus will occupy the balance of the space on second floor, he said.

CTO may also redevelop the property in the future into “combination of retail, office and residential components,” the REIT said in a news release. The property has a total allowable floor area ratio of over 80,000 square feet. No redevelopment timetable or plans have been finalized, Partridge said.

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