Hilton Orlando owner buys nearby land to retain water, free up pond for infill

An affiliate of RIDA Development Corp., owner of the 1,418-room Hilton Orlando on the corner of Destination Parkway and International Drive, paid $3.85 million on Friday for an adjacent six acres, where it plans to divert the hotel's stormwater retention and free up more than 2 acres on the hotel parcel for future development.

The seller was Redus Florida Land, an affiliate LLC of Wells Fargo Bank in Charlotte, which set this deal in motion seven months ago. 

In mid-August, the Hilton Orlando owner filed a Development Plan with Orange County seeking to fill the hotel's existing 2.18-acre stormwater pond, located east of its swimming pool area. That DP was approved in mid-November by the county's Development Review Committee. 

RIDA would then install new stormwater pipes around the old pond boundary, and redirect that retention demand about 1,000 feet southeast to Redus' 6 acres.

A separate mass grading DP was also filed in August for the Redus land, to expand its retention and accommodate runoff from the Hilton. That DP was approved by Orange's DRC in late October.

RIDA did not respond to requests for comment on Monday, regarding long-term development plans for the 2.18 acres it will free up by filling the pond. But a long-awaited connection of Destination Parkway will activate the property.

The extension of Destination Parkway from Universal Boulevard to Tradeshow Boulevard started construction late last year, and should conclude in April 2018. The new four-lane road will be the last segment to connect International Drive to John Young Parkway. 

Right along that portion of future parkway, another three parcels totaling 76 acres of vacant commercial land (56 acres submerged) are owned by Wells Fargo affiliate Redus. 

HFF Orlando has been marketing 14 of those acres since last June, dubbed "Waterside at Universal." Still up for sale, roughly half the property borders a lake, and entitlements include 1,200 hotel keys and 150,000 square feet of retail.

Two Stan Thomas affiliates own a combined 30 acres across four parcels that front the Destination Parkway connection. Another 27 acres between two parcels are among those Universal Orlando affiliate SLRC Holdings acquired in December 2015

A 1.8-acre parcel buried in between Redus' 14 acres and a 23-acre SLRC parcel is owned by Tax Deed Enterprises II LLC, a Sarasota-based investor. Julia Sosa, principal with LandQwest Commercial's Orlando office, is marketing the isolated parcel.

Completion of Destination Parkway will give these properties direct access to the tourist corridor's two main thoroughfares in Universal Boulevard and International Drive, along with quick access to SR-528 and Interstate 4. Destination Parkway will also provide a straight shot to SouthPark Centre, a 2.9 million-square-foot office complex with some of Orlando's top corporate tenants. 

In the near-term, RIDA is planning an expansion of the Hilton property on its western side, facing International Drive. Its revised DP submitted in mid-November includes plans for a third ballroom, back-of-house area and additional meeting rooms as new additions.

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