Indian American Danny Gaekwad buys Orlando’s iconic Church Street Exchange Building

The entrepreneur says he will announce a big plan for the building in a few weeks.

Danny Gaekwad
Danny Gaekwad; photo by Luke Christopher

When Digvijay “Danny” Gaekwad moved to the Orlando area  more than 30 years ago, he and his wife, Manisha, would hang out near the city’s Church Street Exchange Building during the evenings.

“It was a very happening and iconic place,” he told The American Bazaar by phone on Wednesday. “I always thought I should own something like it.”

Earlier this month, Gaekwad purchased the Exchange Building and surrounding northside properties for $14.2 million.

“After 30 years, I realize that my life has come  full circle,” the Ocala, FL, resident said.

The Orlando Sentinel first reported the sale on its website Wednesday.

Gaekwad, a top Republican donor and community leader, said he has a big plan for the building, and he will announce it in a few weeks.

The three-story property, which has an area of roughly 87,000 square feet, was built as an urban indoor shopping mall, according to the Sentinel.

The building now houses some 230 companies, mostly technology firms. Gaekwad said his 23-year-old son Kunal, who recently graduated, will be in charge of the building.

Gaekwad, born in Baroda, in the Indian state of Gujarat, has built over a dozen small- and medium-sized companies worth hundreds of millions of dollars, in diverse fields, such as convenience stores, real estate development, hospitality industry and information technology.

In the 1990s, he built NDS Global, a medical billing and transcription company, which would become the largest medical billing and transcription business outside of the United States.

He owns more than a dozen ventures within the sector, including premium brand hotels such as Intercontinental Hotel Group, Carlson Hotel Group and Hilton Hotel Worldwide. He also owns and operates DG Hospitality, a hotel and restaurant management consulting company, which does sales and marketing for hotels and restaurants from inception to operation.

Gaekwad’s current real estate holdings include golf course lots, hotel sites, restaurant sites, camp grounds, car washes and commercial retail sites across Florida. He is also in the process of constructing a premium hotel in downtown Ocala at a site where a historic hotel once stood.

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