Two developers that announced plans for giant swimming lagoons in 2015 have yet to file permits, but Crystal Lagoons USA CEO Uri Man told GrowthSpotter that hasn't slowed demand for the unique amenity, as he's in negotiations for five more projects in the Orlando market.
"We're seeing explosive demand," he said. "In addition to the 11 signed projects in the U.S., we've got 35 in negotiations nationwide."
That even includes projects in cold-weather climates such as Detroit, where the lagoons can be converted to ice rinks during the winter.
Founded by Chilean biochemist/developer Fernando Fischmann, the firm has built more than 50 swimming lagoons throughout the world and has hundreds in development. The company entered the U.S. market in 2014, opening a Miami office and partnering with Tampa-based Metro Development Group for four residential communities in the Tampa Bay market.
The first Crystal Lagoon in the U.S. will open this summer in Pasco County's Epperson Ranch. Metro is building an eight-acre lagoon with public and private beaches, a swim-up bar and small boat launch.
"Up until now, every time I wanted a developer to see the Crystal Lagoon in person, I took him to our project in Cabo San Lucas," Man said. "Once Epperson Ranch opens, I'll just take them to Tampa."
The company announced its partnership with Tavistock over a year ago to build an 11-acre lagoon at Lake Nona near its USTA National Campus. Man said the goal was to open the lagoon when the tennis center opens in December of this year, but Tavistock spokeswoman Jessi Blakley said Monday the company has no timetable for construction.
"As you can imagine, with a project of this significant size and scope, there are many items related to the program for the hotel, conference space and the condominiums that require careful consideration and planning," Blakley said. "We are still advancing the project, and feel confident about the lagoon portion of this new development, however a firm timetable has not been established."
In Fall 2015, Man announced a partnership with Blue Development Group to build a five-acre lagoon in Kissimmee. The developers purchased a 24-acre vacant parcel adjacent to the Bahama Bay condos, and are forming a joint venture with the owners of the existing 160 condo units, Man said. Plans call for construction of 234 new condominiums and a potential hotel on site.
Man told GrowthSpotter the project is scheduled to begin construction this summer, but Blue Development has yet to file permits or preliminary site plan with Osceola County. Principals with the company declined interview requests.
Man said the company currently is not negotiating with Encore Development's Margaritavillage, which previously announced plans for a large swimming lagoon as the centerpiece of its Jimmy Buffet-themed resort on U.S. 192 in Kissimmee.
Man predicts the U.S. demand for lagoons in public parks, resorts and residential development will grow even more once the first project opens in Pasco County. The firm is even exploring ways to use its patented system to create "floating lagoons" within existing lakes.
"This is the future, because now you can take an existing body of water that's not used for recreation and transform it," he said.