The southern shore of Lake Bryan, near the gates of Walt Disney World, could one day be home to a new waterfront hotel that would double as an entertainment destination if a proposed project crosses the finish line.
Eric Raasch, with planning and civil engineering firm S&ME, filed a pre-application meeting request to Orange County Monday afternoon to discuss with staff the development of a 200-room hotel with 60,000 square feet of entertainment space. He also sought a verification letter to confirm the project would be allowed under the current zoning.
As new development continues to spring up around Lake Bryan, this is the latest concept to emerge for this prime 17-acre piece of property located just north of World Center Drive behind the Caribe Royale Resort on Lake Bryan Beach Boulevard.
Since 2018, three other proposals — including one for a high-end “glamping” resort — have been filed to the county but abandoned.
In 2021, a pre-application request was submitted for a high-rise hotel with three buildings totaling 382 rooms, a ninth-floor restaurant and bar, and a second-floor bakery, fitness center and spa. It didn’t go any further.
“Different developers have presented projects and for one reason or another they never panned out,” said Raj Patel, who has owned the land since 2012.
Patel told GrowthSpotter that the property is now under contract by a developer who intends to build the latest hotel iteration. He declined to name the developer and that information is not included in application materials.
An early concept plan submitted to the county shows two buildings slightly spaced apart along the lake. G3 AEC is listed as the architecture firm leading the project’s design.
This surrounding area has been bustling with hotel development activity of late. To the west, along I-4, global brand Nobu Hotels, founded by Robert de Niro and world-renowned Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa, is expected to enter the Orlando market by 2025.
A short drive to the north, Dart Interests is building its sprawling Evermore Orlando Resort on 1,100 acres that will be anchored by a 433-key Conrad Hotel. The $1 billion construction project will include a 17-million gallon Crystal Lagoon water feature to create a beach-like atmosphere.
It’s likely more development will move in at some point as there are still large swaths of vacant land around the 214-acre Lake Bryan. On the northern shore of the lake, an 8-parcel assemblage totaling 172.5 acres is entitled for 2,100 hotel rooms or timeshare units and over 300,000 square feet of commercial uses.
While the land is not officially on the market, broker Raj Goyal said it’s garnered a lot of interest from prospective buyers.
And while no contracts have been inked just yet, Goyal is optimistic it will sell considering its location and size.
“It’s a big piece of property and not too much is available,” he told GrowthSpotter. “That makes it very exclusive.”
With that exclusivity, “the price tag has gone up,” he added.
In 2018, the property appeared on the market for $87 million, GrowthSpotter reported at the time.
“I think (we will find a buyer),” he said. “There has been so much interest, post-COVID. I feel that we have more interest in the property than ever before.”
For vacant land on the western edge of Lake Bryan, a developer is working to swap out some hotel entitlements for multifamily and commercial space.
In total, Ohio-based Silver Hills Development wants approval to build out as many as 332 multi-family units, 400 hotel rooms, and 5,300 square feet of commercial.
Early site plans mention a 295-foot tall hotel, covering a minimum 6,000 square feet. The project, titled Lake Bryan Condos PD, would be built out in multiple phases, with each phase having sufficient infrastructure to stand on its own, according to site plans.
This site was previously envisioned to hold Planet Hollywood International’s first luxury brand Premiere resort. For unknown reasons, the project stopped before any shovels were placed on the ground.
Adjacent lakefront land to the east of Raj Patel’s property totaling 46 acres is also vacant. No development plans are in the pipeline for this property, according to Orange County permit records.
The area has also attracted multifamily developers.
To the southeast, The Bainbridge Company is planning to build more than 800 apartment units across two phases of its Bainbridge World Center community.
And on the eastern shore of Lake Bryan, Contravest recently opened its 266-unit Addison Lake Bryan apartment community.