THE WELAKA BUILDING
100 N. Oak Avenue & 114 W. First St. Sanford, FL 32771
In 1996, Hoogland Orlando, Inc. purchased the Welaka Building in 1996 for $280,000. It was the first new client of First Capital Property Group, Inc. (FCPG) which had just opened its doors. FCPG assisted in the redevelopment of the 28,000 SF historic building located in downtown Sanford, FL. The building was built in 1887 and originally occupied by the railroad company on the second floor and various service offices on the first floor. At that time, the railroad ran adjacent to Oak Street to Lake Monroe. The second floor was converted into apartments in 1924 and was renamed the Welaka Building.
The development of services provided Hoogland Orlando, Inc. included hiring and oversight of the architect, roofing contractor, and contractors for interior demolition and new interior/exterior improvements. Coordinating with the City was also an important service provided by FCPG since the property was listed as a historical building. FCPG additionally provided management and leasing services for the building for over 20 years. The first three tenants occupying the newly
renovated Welaka Building were the Seminole County Public Defender, Supervisor of Elections, and the Children’s Home Society.
From then on, our team faithfully managed and leased the property for our internationally based client. This included overseeing the upheaval brought to the building by having The Seminole County Supervisor of Elections as it’s anchor tenant during the 2004 Presidential Election and the subsequent recount, and working with the tenants as they struggled through the economic downturn of 2008 that affected the entire county but hit the City of Sanford especially hard. In 2017, FCPG assisted the overseas owner in the selling the building for $1,725,000. We were then hired on by the new owner to continue our role and improve the building as the City of Sanford was recovering from the Great Recession.
- FCPG’s Brokerage Team was able to keep the property hovering between 80-95% occupied over the years, releasing spaces as they came available. When it came time that the international market conditions were advantageous to our overseas client, they decided to have our team market the property for sale. We achieved a sale within a span of 4 months, which enabled our client to finish out the balance of their foreign investments.
- Post-sale, the new owner kept us on as their leasing agent, and after the lease-up of the largest vacancy, achieved 100% occupancy. A year and a half later, the new owner decided to go ahead and put the property back on the market, as the cap rate market had improved, the property was now 100% leased, and the cost-savings put in place had significantly improved the property’s cash flow. We were successful in selling the property to a local investor, netting our client a $900,000 gain in a little over 18 months.
MORAL OF THE STORY
Stewardship Matters! The fact that we were trusted to handle the property on multiple fronts, by two clients, over a period of 21 years demonstrates that even through challenging times and with little local oversight, FCPG kept its focus on our clients’ needs and priorities as if they were our own. We worked cooperatively with the Tenants and the Owner to keep good relationships that would weather to the test of time and economic crisis.