Article Detail

News & Knowledge

Lowndes Advises Westside Capital Group on $45 Million Acquisition of Mixed-Use Property in Orlando

June 08, 2020

Lowndes represented Westside Capital Group, a Miami-based real estate investment firm, in the $45 million acquisition of a mid-rise, mixed-use property in the MetroWest neighborhood of Orlando. The property, known as The Residences at Veranda Park, includes a five-story building with 150 luxury apartments and 48,000+ square feet of commercial space.  

According to a company release, Westside intends to invest in common areas and targeted capital improvements. It has also secured several future purchase rights and purchase options pertaining to other development parcels within Veranda Park.

“We see Orlando as a strategic market for Westside despite the short-term economic shocks related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we want to a build a long-lasting relationship with the city and its residents,” said Jakub Hejl, founder and president of Westside.

The Lowndes team was led by attorney Gary Kaleita (real estate) and also included attorneys Mark Heimendinger (banking & finance), David Peterson (real estate finance) and Amanda Wilson (entity formation).

About Lowndes
Founded in Orlando, Florida in 1969, Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A., is a multi-discipline business law firm. Our attorneys represent corporate, entrepreneurial and individual clients across a myriad of industries locally, nationally and beyond our borders, from offices in Orlando, Mount Dora and Melbourne, and through Meritas, an established global alliance of independent law firms offering local insight, local rates and world-class client service. LOCAL ROOTS. BROAD REACH.℠ 



Gary

With more than 30 years of experience in real estate law, including over 20 years as a Board-certified expert in the field, Gary Kaleita has acquired the ability to navigate the complexities of sophisticated real estate deals with relative ease.


Gary has a wide variety of experience in real estate development, finance and transactions, condominiums, property owners’ associations, commercial leasing, commercial lending, and title insurance.

Gary enjoys a reputation for anticipating and avoiding problems, rather than merely reacting to them. He has years of experience handling purchases, sales and financings of commercial and residential projects, including office, industrial, retail, multi-family, single-family, condominium, resort, hotel and golf course properties. Gary has prepared and negotiated contracts for sale and purchase, performed due diligence investigations, and handled all aspects of closings, including issuance of title insurance and legal opinions. He has also performed tax free exchanges (both forward and reverse) under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code, and has handled closings for housing revenue bond financing transactions with the Florida Housing Finance Corporation and various local housing finance authorities.

In the area of real estate development, Gary has assisted developers in obtaining land use approvals, plat approvals and permits for various developments from a number of jurisdictions in Central Florida, including planned developments (PD’s) and Developments of Regional Impact (DRI’s). He has drafted and negotiated complex land use documents, including development agreements, cost-sharing agreements, declarations of covenants, conditions, restrictions and easements. He also has experience in mall and shopping center developments, including outparcels, and has assisted developers with the selection, formation and operation of business entities, including commercial and residential property owners associations. He has extensive experience with the formation and operation of both commercial and residential condominiums as well.

In addition, Gary has established somewhat of a boutique practice by acting as local counsel to help out-of-state lenders, investors and law firms navigate the complexities of Florida real estate law. He is frequently engaged by large national and international law firms needing assistance on a variety of issues for their clients doing business in Florida. Gary regularly provides advice on Florida law and custom pertaining to purchase and sale contracts as well as loan documents, addresses local due diligence issues, answers questions involving titles, surveys and title insurance, and provides Florida legal opinions.

Not just another real estate lawyer, before pursuing his career in law Gary served as a U.S. Naval officer on active duty for 4 years in the Mediterranean Sea, first with a patrol gunboat squadron in Italy and then at a communications station in Greece. During this period he traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. He believes his military experience is the source of the practical approach he has developed to problem solving.

Gary also took the initiative, after a homeowner in his own neighborhood was mauled by a Florida black bear in 2013, of researching what his homeowners’ association could do to limit the likelihood of future attacks. In the process, he became an expert in the subject of “bear-wise” communities and drafted a policy that his own homeowners’ association adopted, thereby becoming the first residential community to be officially recognized as bear-wise by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). He has since written and spoken extensively on this subject, serves on the FWC’s Central Bear Management Unit Stakeholder Group, and has become a resource for FWC to educate other communities on the importance of bear-wise practices in areas of Florida containing black bear habitat.

Gary focuses on finding pragmatic solutions to complex problems, recognizing that clients want sensible and realistic advice in a timely manner so they can go about their business.

Chambers USA (2015)* reports that Gary has substantial experience acting as lender’s counsel and is acclaimed by market sources as an “extremely responsive, very practical and reasonable” practitioner.


*We make no guarantees or promises that the reader will realize the same or similar results

Mark

Getting the deal done requires flexibility, creativity, and efficiency. Clients and colleagues alike turn to Mark Heimendinger for his years of debt and equity finance experience, particularly in the commercial real estate and other asset-based arenas.


A seasoned pro who has seen the risks and iterations associated with both sides of a deal and all aspects of the capital stack, Mark understands that many contentious legal issues often mask a business concern – one that he likely has faced before. Even with the most complex and challenging negotiations, he is pragmatic, and focused on the client’s commercial goals.

Mark’s clients include issuers, borrowers, lenders, and underwriters. He has negotiated and executed a variety of transaction structures, including term and revolving credit facilities, public bond financings, public and private securitization transactions (including CMBS), mezzanine financing, equipment financing, 144A and Reg. D offerings, repo agreements, syndications, currency and interest rate cap and swap transactions, underwriting agreements, intercreditor agreements, joint ventures, and jurisdiction-specific non-recourse structures. Within the real estate space, Mark has covered multiple asset classes, including hotels and leisure facilities, office towers, senior living facilities, and multi-family residential buildings.

In addition to his Florida practice, Mark has years of both domestic and overseas “AmLaw 100” experience and has completed numerous cross-border transactions, mostly in the Asia Pacific region and in Europe.
David

Dave Peterson has a broad background in bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, as well as commercial litigation, in general.


Dave represents lenders, creditors and lessors in sophisticated Chapter 11 reorganizations and Chapter 7 liquidations. He has represented creditors in negotiating Chapter 11 bankruptcy plans, as well as litigation concerning confirmation of bankruptcy plans. He has handled preference litigation, fraudulent conveyance claims, exemption litigation, and a wide range of other kinds of litigation arising out of bankruptcies, including appeals.

Further, Dave has experience accumulated over a period of approximately 26 years, handling real estate mortgage foreclosures, including foreclosures of hotels, apartment complexes, office buildings, retail property, and other types of commercial property, and in handling litigation arising out of the enforcement of security interests in personal property under the UCC.

He also has significant experience representing receivers in receivership cases, handling and litigating assignments for the benefit of creditors, and in defending lender liability claims. In addition, Dave has spent a number of years working on transactional matters related to his expertise in the area of finance. For example, Dave has experience handling the workout of problem loans and debt restructuring.

Dave has also spent approximately 8 years structuring, negotiating, documenting, and closing sophisticated financial transactions, such as mortgage warehouse facilities, repurchase agreement transactions, real estate loans involving special purpose entities, and revolving credit facilities secured by all kinds of personal property, as well as uniform commercial code transactions of all kinds. Many of these transactions have involved hundreds of millions of dollars.

Amanda

A member of the firm’s tax practice, Amanda Wilson concentrates on federal tax planning and structuring. She represents clients in a wide variety of complex federal tax matters with a particular emphasis on pass-through entities such as partnerships, S corporations and real estate investment trusts.


Specifically, Amanda focuses on advising clients on the formation, operation, acquisition and restructuring of such pass-through entities. In addition, she regularly advises clients on the structuring and operation of private equity funds, real estate funds and timber funds. Amanda is the author of the Bloomberg Tax Management Portfolio 718-3rd Edition, Partnerships- Disposition of Partnership Interests or Partnership Business; Partnership Termination.

Amanda regularly works in structuring deals to benefit from tax advantaged structures, including like-kind exchanges, new market tax credits, low income housing tax credits, and qualified opportunity zones. Amanda also has extensive experience in corporate planning and international tax matters, as well as federal tax controversy. Her practice before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) includes providing advice on audits and appeals, drafting protests and ruling requests, and negotiating settlements.

Prior to joining the firm, Amanda worked for Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP (now Eversheds Sutherland), an Am Law 100 firm in the Atlanta office, where she was part of Sutherland’s Tax Practice Group. Amanda has also served as an adjunct professor at Emory University School of Law where she taught Partnership Taxation.

Amanda regularly contributes to the firm’s Taxing Times blog and is a regular panelist on tax webinars hosted by Strafford Publications.

Meritas Law Firms Worldwide logo
Do Your Part Logo