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Intram Investments snags 460 acres along I-Drive

The land Intram Investments snagged is shaded green and white on this map and sits within the World Gateway Center PD. It does not include the 30-acre site of the future Fairmont Hotel, between parcels E1 and E4.

In one of the largest and most expensive local land buys in recent years, Orlando-based Intram Investments has acquired 460 acres between World Center Drive and S.R. 417 with plans to deliver a mix of retail, multifamily, and entertainment options in the shadow of Disney theme parks.

The company paid $96 million for the property on Jan. 5, according to Orange County deed records.

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This is the most robust land deal in the Orlando market since Dec. of 2021 when Gentry Land Company and Wheelock Street Capital bought the 5,937-acre Green Island Ranch in Osceola County for $150 million, according to GrowthSpotter archives.

The Intram deal tops the most expensive land deal in 2022. In March, WPT Capital Advisors took over the deed of a 248-acre industrial park site near the Apopka Orlando airport for $92.5 million.

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The land Intram snagged sits within the World Gateway Center PD and has been owned for decades by long-time developer George C. Barley, who died in a 1995 plane crash. The vast property touches I-4 to the west, World Center Drive to the north (stretching across both sides of I-Drive), S.R. 535 to the east, and S.R. 417 to the south.

Of the total tract, 138 acres are developable, said Randy Hodge, Intram’s executive vice president.

“Intram has had its eyes on the property for a long time,” he told GrowthSpotter. “The property is just so well-located—in the middle of everything, and there isn’t a parcel of this size remaining in the tourist district.”

While Intram has yet to iron out specific plans for the property, Hodge said it’s well-suited for a mix-use development with retail, entertainment, and residential uses.

While Intram has yet to iron out specific plans for the property, Hodge said it’s well-suited for a mix-use development with retail, residential, entertainment, and hotel uses.

He noted that Intram intends to develop some of the retail space on its own but will market some of the parcels for other developers to take over as part of a purchase, ground lease, or joint venture for complementary uses including hotels, timeshares, apartments, and more.

It’s also possible that Intram could wait a bit before they pursue anything.

We don’t have any specific project planned at this time, we are evaluating exactly how to approach things,” Hodge said in a phone call. “Construction costs right now are such that maybe it’s not the greatest time to undertake a significant project until costs and the supply chain stabilize a little better. That’s something we are in the process of evaluating.”

But Intram has already begun the process of changing the land use for one of the parcels. Rebecca Wilson, an attorney with the Lowndes Law firm, filed an application to Orange County on Nov. 23 seeking to switch out hotel entitlements for a 33-acre parcel within the World Gateway PD to allow the development of an additional 900 multifamily units.

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The request, if approved, would combine parcels K2 and K4 with the adjacent parcel K1, to create a 33.5-acre lot and would remove entitlements for 798 hotel rooms for the property just south of Disney Springs, but it wouldn’t strip away all of the development opportunities for vacation rentals.

If the change determination review is approved, parcel K1 along the corner of International Drive and Continental Gateway, would be left with entitlements for 2,385 apartment units and 4,680 hotel rooms.

“We’re obviously excited to have this opportunity,” Hodge said following the purchase. “Retail sales in the tourist market are unparalleled in the country. The theme parks are all expanding. It appears the transit system will improve with the Brightline/SunRail Sunshine Corridor moving forward. There are several luxury hotel and entertainment projects coming. And there is multi-family development proceeding on all sides of the project.”

Since Barley acquired the land here in the early 1980′s, the entity has sold off some of the parcels. In 1997 a 24-acre piece between I-Drive and World Center Drive sold to a developer to build the 777-key Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites.

At least three of the parcels were sold to multifamily developers, leading to the construction of the 408-unit Camden World Gateway apartments, built in 2000, the 252-unit Halston World Gateway apartments, built in 2008, and the 411-unit Cortland World Gateway, built in 2018.

In 2001, Marriott International was under contract to build a Residence Inn Springfield Suites on Parcel K — the subject of the application submitted this week. Those plans stalled.

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Recently, the World Gateway PD has seen the arrival of other development plans that will continue despite the sale.

In 2021, Orlando-based Darton US Holdings, an investment vehicle for Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas, filed an application to transfer three parcels from the World Gateway PD to the nearby Ten Acres International Orlando PD. The change, approved by the county in November of 2021, removed 372 hotel entitlements from the World Gateway PD and gave the Ten Acres PD entitlements for a total of 850 hotel rooms.

That set the stage for plans by Development Ventures Group to build a five-story Fairmont Orlando hotel between I-Drive and I-4 with 550 guestrooms, including 90 suites and 12 villas along the perimeter of three planned pools, and 87 Fairmont Gold rooms. The brand’s signature experience will be offered on the top floor and include a 5,000-square-foot private lounge.

Amenities include a 140-seat signature restaurant, a specialty Mediterranean restaurant, an upscale steakhouse, a gourmet café, and various bars and lounges with both indoor and outdoor seating. Other boasted features are a 12,000-square-foot spa and wellness center; over 44,000 square feet of meeting and event space; three swimming pools, including a family pool, a lazy river and an adults-only pool; children and young adult centers; a library and business center; and ample retail space.

Fairmont Orlando is slated to open in early 2025 and will mark the brand’s 20th property in the United States.

The Orlando World Center Marriott sits to the north of the property bought by Intram while the outlet mall, Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, sits to the immediate east.

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Before the Intram acquisition, the 460 acres were owned by Gcb Associates LLC, led by Chris Liew.

“GCB Associates believes that (Intram) is the right developer for World Gateway who will add significant value to the property and to Central Florida going forward,” Liew said in a statement.

Intram Investments has a long history in the Orlando tourist market, developing a number of projects on International Drive and US 192 over its 30-plus years in Orlando.

In 2019, it snagged 37 acres along World Center Drive, just to the east where The Bainbridge Companies is now building an 806-unit apartment community. A year later, it paid $22.7 million for an 18-acre development site north of Universal Orlando’s planned Epic Universe theme park.

Intram is also the master developer of Kissimmee’s Sunrise City, a 238-acre mixed-use community on S.R. 535/Vineland Road where a number of apartment complexes surround a Publix-anchored shopping center.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at (407)-800-1161 or dwyatt@GrowthSpotter.com, or tweet me at @DustinWyattGS. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


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