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Citi Tower developer planning 33-story downtown skyscraper with 5-star convention hotel

The developer who built Citi Tower in downtown Orlando is planning a new 33-story tower that will bring the first 5-star hotel and branded residences to the CBD.
The developer who built Citi Tower in downtown Orlando is planning a new 33-story tower that will bring the first 5-star hotel and branded residences to the CBD. (DLR Group)

Summa Development Group has filed plans with the city to build a new mixed-use skyscraper that would bring the first 5-star hotel to Orlando’s Central Business District by late 2023.

The South Florida-based developer has a contract on a 7-parcel assemblage across from its 24-story Citi Tower apartment building at 101 Lake Ave. Summa completed the $57 million tower in 2017 and has been in due diligence for the new 33-story tower project for more than a year.

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The as-yet unnamed project would rise on 1.5 acre site at 319 E Church St., with construction scheduled to start in late 2021. It would include 129 branded residences – a combination of 102 condominiums and 27 penthouse units spread among the 14 upper floors. The building would have its own dog park.

The submitted plans call for a 228-key luxury convention hotel with more than 60,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space on three floors and a Sky Club on the 33rd floor with a pool and outdoor dining.

The yet-to-be named 33-story tower project is being planned to rise on 1.5 acre site at 319 E. Church Street.
The yet-to-be named 33-story tower project is being planned to rise on 1.5 acre site at 319 E. Church Street. (DLR Group)

The first floor would feature two restaurants with indoor and outdoor seating, separate lobbies for both the hotel and convention center and 14,310 square feet of public space. The hotel rooms would be housed on six floors above the 8-level parking garage. The ninth floor would house the spa and shared amenities, which include a gym, outdoor fitness center, lap pool, hot tub and cabanas.

Orlando city planners have met with developers looking to build as many as five new high-rise towers in the Central Business District.

The parking structure would accommodate 741 vehicles, including 183 parking spaces on the first two levels for the public.

Summa representatives declined to discuss the project with GrowthSpotter until it goes to the city’s Municipal Planning Board in September. The developer also has requested a courtesy review from the Appearance Review Board.

The team has held multiple meetings over the last year with city staff, and the project has evolved over that time. The initial concept, presented in the summer of 2019, called for a 33-story tower on a 1-acre site. It featured 121 hotel rooms and a mix of 85 condos and penthouses, with a rootop pool and amenity deck. The proposed hotel flag was Radisson Collection, and it would have been the first U.S. hotel to carry that flag.

Robert E. Smith of Smith Equities RE Advisors owns the office building at the corner of Lake Avenue and Pine Street, and he represents the other four sellers. He also sold Summa Group the assemblage for Citi Tower. “The bottom line is everyone’s property is worth more together than they were separately,” he said.

The new plans for the Monarch tower call for a full-service hotel and 380 apartments with concierge service.

The earlier concept didn’t work, partly because the 1-acre site was too small, Smith said. Bringing the other sellers on to expand the site to 1.5 acres changed the scope of the project, as well as the design.

Chicago-based DLR Group was brought in as the new architect and interior designer, led by the firm’s hospitality division leader, Ed Wilms and design leader Stephen Cavanaugh. The skinny L-shaped building was transformed into one without right angles, with balconies wrapping and emphasizing its rounded corners.

Summa Design Group’s Marlene Weiss curated the art collection, which includes pieces by noted artists Israel Guevara, Jorge Blanco and Robert Catasus.

The engineering team consists of Kimley Horn for both civil engineering and landscape architecture. DeSimone is the structural engineer.

The general contractor and condo sales team have yet to be selected.

If the project moves forward, it would be the first new condo tower built in downtown Orlando since 55 West, which was converted to apartments in 2009. It will be test buyers’ appetites for luxury downtown living.

“Ever since the market crashed, no one has built condos,” Smith said. “I think it will be really exciting to see it come together. The prices these units will be selling for will pull up the value of all the condos around it.”

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Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @byLauraKinsler. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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