GC & architect names emerge for Universal hotel projects on former Wet 'n Wild site

Universal Orlando will work with a local design-build general contractor and nationally recognized architects on the two hotels totaling 4,000 guestrooms it has planned for the former Wet 'n Wild property.

Apopka-based design-build company FINFROCK will serve as GC for both hotels, while Georgia-based Lindsey Pope Brayfield Clifford & Associates (LPBC) and Melbourne-based BRPH will each take one of the hotels as lead architect, three sources with insight on the project told GrowthSpotter.  

Officials with Universal and the three firms did not respond this week to questions about their roles on the project, the hotel themes, branding or timelines for development. 

FINFROCK is currently seeking subcontractor bids in the market for work on the hotels, which will span 64.6 acres that lie at 6200 International Dr. and directly east, across Universal Boulevard. 

Universal Orlando has yet to file Specific Parcel Master Plans for the two hotels with the city of Orlando, following a second reading and City Council approval of its Framework PD zoning ordinance for the property on July 24. Zoning plans that show the hotel's layout and conceptual design were filed in May.

All three firms have worked with Universal Orlando in recent years. 

FINFROCK's website shows one recent hotel project in its portfolio, a Hyatt House built in Naples in 2016, and it's the design-build contractor on a Winter Park hotel project proposed last year. But the firm has built most of the resort parking garages to date at Universal Orlando, and has used its DualDeck composite truss product in the design and construction of various multifamily and office projects in Greater Orlando. 

The company designs all its buildings in 3D in advance using its StructureWorks software, creating models that allow it to detail where every outlet, toilet, pipe, light switch and more will go in a given room.

When the DualDeck concrete panels are manufactured in the Apopka plant, lasers in the factory allow staff to cast a hole or object in the panel efficiently. That precision factory manufacturing helps FINFROCK be economical and save time in ways other builders can't, by bringing high-strength concrete panels to a construction site that are prepared for quick assembly. 

The top of each panel is the floor of one unit and the bottom is the ceiling of the unit below. There's no need to add dryall or other finishes because the concrete and space between each slab minimize sound transmission. 

LPBC was the architect of record on Universal's 1,800-room Cabana Bay Beach Resort, a three-phase project that encompassed more than 1.33 million square feet of area with a mid-century theme built around the 1950s-60s family vacation.

BRPH has previously designed Universal theme park rides that include the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster, Poseidon's Fury and Transformers: The Ride 3-D.

The company's engineering division is also working on Universal's "Project 942," which involve renovating an area of Islands of Adventure that involves demolition of the Dragon Challenge coaster and construction of a new highly themed ride that Universal announced in late July.

Universal will have 6,200 room across six local hotels after the Aventura Hotel (600 rooms) opens in Summer 2018. Another 4,000 rooms on the former Wet n' Wild property would bring the company to a potential 10,200 rooms across eight properties. 

That still pales in comparison to Walt Disney World's 30,623 rooms across 31 on-site hotels. 

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Copyright © 2017, GrowthSpotter
73°