Story of a Deal with Don Geller

The Situation

Don Geller has been a Polk County resident for 30 years. In 1994, he realized he needed to purchase a commercial office building due to growth in his business and purchased the 740 S. Florida Ave. office building. He owned his business until 2007 when he was bought out by the franchisor, who continued leasing the building for 6 years. They eventually left and he leased it again until 2018 to a large local title company.

One day, Don asked his CPA in town, Steve Hamic, “If you had to sell your office building, who would you go to?” and without hesitation, Steve said: “Gary Ralston!”. Gary presented Don with a thorough analysis of not only his building, but the population growth and trends of Central Florida. Shortly after listing the property, a viable offer was accepted. However, an unforeseen environmental problem arose. Closing was delayed upon discovering that the original structure on the property was a gas station.

The Solution

It was determined that gas tanks were likely still buried underground. Gary Ralston and David Hungerford started fact-finding and developed a plan to resolve the issue, which involved the State of Florida’s Abandoned Tank Restoration Program (ATRP). Gary discovered an attorney in Tallahassee who specialized in cases like this.

The Result

When the original buyer walked due to uncertain environmental risks, Gary and David identified a new buyer. They worked diligently to assure the buyer they had all the proper paperwork, the issue was resolved, and they closed shortly thereafter. In the end, Don paid a $500 deductible to enter the property into the ATRP and avoided contamination cleanup costs that easily could have been more than $100,000.

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