UPDATED: JUNE 24, 2016 12:20 PM — Azzurra Development is upping the ante again on condominium entitlements for its proposed ph Premiere Resort-Residences Orlando, jumping from the 436 announced last March and past the 986 noted on plans in February to a potential 1,186 units, through two phases or more.
It's a $230 million project "that, when complete, will bring to the Orlando market a never-before-seen luxury lifestyle experience with global appeal," CEO Lorenzo Fragala told GrowthSpotter on Thursday.
The developer, which recently elevated the property from a hotel to resort designation, had its Land Use Plan Amendment approved on Wednesday by Orange County's Development Review Committee. It asked to merge two LUPs and two PDs for the two contiguous parcels it owns, totaling 14.14 acres.
Located at 13757 S. Apopka Vineland Road with frontage on Lake Bryan, the project combines a 9.85-acre lot purchased in 2005 ($7.95 million) with a 4.32-acre Shell Gas Plaza bought in 2014 ($2.1 million).
GrowthSpotter first reported in February of Azzurra's request at the time to more than double its room entitlement count to 986, with the company citing higher stakes to compete in Orlando's luxury market.
The first phase building is now planned for 547 keys, with 139 suites to be sold starting at $320,000, with studios, one-, two- and four-bedroom options. The remaining 408 suites will be allocated for guest rental.
That building, planned with at-grade parking, will require a county code waiver to increase the maximum height to 400 feet above sea level, a 100-foot increase from the previous PD. The property sits at an elevation of 105 feet, so true building height will be 295 feet.
"At-grade parking allows for a low-impact drainage design," said Fragala via e-mail, while traveling in Asia. "The result affords a world class arrival experience at ph Premiere Resort-Residences Orlando on beautiful Lake Bryan with spectacular views from above, while being environmentally responsible."
Merging the LUPs will also allow Azzurra to combine existing entitlements of 400 rooms and 200 rooms from each PD, and convert the existing vehicle trip entitlements for the Shell station property into more room entitlements, totaling a now estimated 1,186 keys.
The fuel station will be demolished for the development, but Fragala said a timeline for that has not been set since it's interdependent upon several precedents. Those likely include county approvals and condo pre-sale success.
Fragala declined to confirm how many condo units had been pre-sold, but said "they have been consistent and strong, with approximately 80 percent of buyers coming from Latin America."
A second phase would require building a parking garage and additional rooms, up to the 1,186 entitlement maximum.
Asking for as many units as possible at the LUP phase is common for hotel development, in order to leave options open for expansion.
Fragala also declined to say if a demolition company or construction manager had been chosen yet, noting it remains under deliberation with no deadline date set.
Of the existing 14.14 acres, 8.14 acres are currently usable and 6.0 acres are wetland, with plans calling to increase usable to 11.6 acres and reduce wetlands to 2.4 acres.
Once Azzurra gets its combination of two LUPs approved by County Commissioners, the project can progress to the design and submission of a Development Plan, with layout of the hotel, parking and amenities. A company executive said in February that could occur by year's end.
In its latest marketing materials, Azzurra highlights that the resort-residence units for sale will each be fully-furnished suites that offer "a sophisticated atmosphere and chic color palette of elegant neutrals, with custom-woven carpets, plush accents and modern furnishings."
Dramatic balconies, European-inspired kitchens and expansive bathrooms will be highlights, and to honor the Planet Hollywood brand, units will also feature a selection of celebrity memorabilia.
The property will include multiple pools, including a 35,000-square-foot pool deck, a sandy lakeside beach with water sport services on Lake Bryan, a rooftop pool with cabanas, a bar and restaurant, and a total 25,000 square feet of event space.
The development team is currently interviewing resort management companies to manage the property, after cutting ties with Hampshire Hotels Management, a preliminary manager choice named last year.