One of St. Augustine and St. Johns County’s best-know names in real estate development has put a billion-dollar portfolio up for sale; including more than 12 million square feet of highly efficient Class-A office and industrial space, according to reports released by the company this week.
Flagler, founded in 1892 by railroad tycoon, Henry Morrison Flagler, is a full-service commercial real estate firm that has been a longtime key player in the state’s development.
Global investment manager, Fortress Investment Group LLC, with approximately $43.8 billion of assets under management, purchased Florida East Coast Industries in 2007. They now say they want the developed Flagler property in Florida sold. Fortress also owns Florida East Coast Railway; once headquartered in St. Augustine and now based in Jacksonville.
Major changes have come to Flagler — including the merger of its construction and development divisions, and the expansion of its real estate division to include retail and multifamily. The changes came in response to a market that still has little demand for new construction, specifically in the industrial and suburban office sectors, which have long been the company’s bread and butter.
Flagler manages 4.2 million square feet of commercial property in the Jacksonville area, which includes St. Augustine and St. Johns County.
The expansive portfolio, including marquee business parks located in strategic markets throughout the state, is being marketed by Wells Fargo & Company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Eastdil Secured. Marketing the properties, as a package instead of individually, will no doubt limit the prospective buying pool to a small group.
Property in Jacksonville, Orlando and South Florida comprise the largest developments in the offer. Flagler also owns about 5,000 acres of Florida land, of which 1,650 are entitled for up to 19 million square feet of development. No raw land is included in the Flagler package and none of the railroad property is being shopped.