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Buffalo Lodging Associates, an affiliate of University Park-based Benderson Development, should break ground in First Quarter 2016 on a new Home2 Suites by Hilton hotel on its last undeveloped parcel on American Way, and has yet to decide if its in-house general contractor will lead the project, the company president told GrowthSpotter on Friday.

A Buffalo Lodging affiliate filed plans with the City of Orlando to build the new hotel just west of the corner of N. International Drive and S. Kirkman Road. The developer is requesting Master Plan approval to build a six-story, 134-room hotel that would feature an outdoor pool.

“We’ve concluded that suite hotels are most desirable in markets like Orlando’s I-Drive, and this new brand (Home2 Suites) has been quite successful for Hilton,” said Ron Kendall, president of Buffalo Lodging. “We’ll customize the property to feature more double-bedded suites for this leisure market, compared to the typical room layout for this brand in a business market.”

Launched in 2009, Home2 Suites is one of Hilton’s newest flags, considered mid-tier and extended stay with all suites. With investment for this hotel type estimated at $100,000 per room, projected build-out cost for the hotel could be $13.4 million. The application will be reviewed on Dec. 15 by the Municipal Planning Board.

If plans are fully approved by Orlando City Council by January or February, Kendall said construction of this hotel type would last roughly a year. That’s only if his firm can hire subcontractors efficiently in Orlando, not easy in such a busy construction market, he said.

“We have the capability of GC’ing our own developments, but it depends on how many of our own projects are running (nationwide) at any time,” Kendall said. “So still to be determined if we hire an outside GC.”

Through affiliate LLCs, Benderson owns five other select service hotels in Orlando, four of which lie in the tourism corridor, with two there on American Way (Hilton Garden Inn and Hilton Homewood Suites) across the street from the new proposed hotel.

Located at 5910 American Way, the 1.86-acre property will be developed and managed by Benderson affiliate Buffalo Lodging, which manages the five other properties in Orlando.

Kendall said Buffalo Lodging and Benderson are currently exploring one more hotel development opportunity in Greater Orlando, but declined to specify. The last hotel the group built locally was a Homewood Suites near UCF, nearly a decade ago.

Architect on the new hotel is FRCH/Design Worldwide of Cincinnati, civil engineer is Z Development Services of Orlando, and geotechnical engineer is Universal Engineering Services of Orlando.

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