At World Center Drive and State Road 535, near Disney’s theme parks, the Maryland-based hotel industry giant Marriott International already has a prominent brand presence on land that features an 18-hole golf course, condominiums and vacation villas.
Now, Marriott plans to add another entry to the site of its roughly 200-acre Orlando World Center Resort: A 216-room Residence Inn.
It would be the 10th Residence Inn by Marriott in the Orlando market. The brand, one of 30 to operate under the Marriott flag, features “modern, flexible suites with all the comforts of home,” including full kitchens with full-sized refrigerators, stovetops, microwaves, dishwashers and coffee makers, according to the company’s website.
The latest Residence Inn project is slated for a 2.3-acre parcel overlooking the 12th hole of Hawk’s Landing Golf Course. The space formerly held the sales center for Marriot World timeshares before the operation was discontinued several years ago, according to public records. That commercial space has since been demolished.
Now plans for a new hotel are led by Orlando-based developer Avista Properties, which, according to its website, owns the Fairfield Inn & Suites on International Drive, Hyatt Place Orlando and several other hotels in the Daytona Beach area.
Their Residence Inn by Marriott proposal for 14344 State Road 535 has been on the books since 2020 when the development application was first submitted to Orange County. Renderings submitted at that time show a nine-story, 176-room gray and white hotel with a pentagon-shaped pool and palm trees at its rear. The building is surrounded on three sides by a parking lot.
Development plans submitted to Orange County lists Winter Garden-based LandSmart Consultants as the project’s civil engineering firm and Orlando-based Magley Design as the land architect.
But since those plans were turned over on July 9, 2020, the project saw little movement with Orange County’s planning division for nearly two years until re-emerging this week.
Avista Properties — which focuses exclusively on the development of Radisson, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, Hyatt Place, Residence Inn by Marriott, and Hampton Inn— did not return phone calls seeking comment.
The hospitality industry struggled during the pandemic, which resulted in the temporary closure of nearly half of the market’s hotel rooms, according to the 2022 CoStar Hospitality Market report. Revenue per available room — a metric used in the hospitality industry to measure hotel performance — was down 56% in 2020 compared to the previous year, the report says.
And while RevPAR rebounded by 53% in 2021, it is not expected to get back to the 2019 total for several years.
The pandemic also impacted hotel construction projects. While more than 60 projects with nearly 11,000 rooms are in the planning and proposed phases of the hotel development pipeline in the Orlando market, many of these are currently being reassessed, according to the report.
On April 6 of this year, a new application was filed to the county for the property, this time for a slightly larger 216-room Residence Inn.
While Avista Properties is still the developer, the application now lists Orlando-based Mitch Collins P.E. as the project’s civil engineer.
Collins, the firm’s president, told GrowthSpotter that he’s new to the effort but is under the impression that hotel’s design hasn’t deviated from what was originally presented two years ago.
“I’ve been told to keep everything the same,” he said. “It should be the same. I don’t know if I can get that done or not, but that’s the plan.”
The site is owned by California-based hotel real estate and investment company Prospera Hotels, which made the $5 million purchase through an affiliated entity in 2019.
At the time of the transaction, the land had entitlements for 6,900 square feet of office space, 7,000 square feet of retail and 6,200 square feet for restaurants.
Marriott World Resort Center is anchored by a 2,010 room main hotel that includes recently expanded ballroom space. The resort also offers villas in two other Marriott-branded properties: Marriott’s Sabal Palms, to the northwest of the hotel, and Marriott Royal Palms, located north of the proposed Residence Inn by Marriott.
Marriott brands comprise more than 7,000 properties across 131 countries and territories, according to its website.