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Developer readies land buy on South I-Drive for two hotels, seeks lender & GC

Developer readies land buy on South I-Drive for two hotels, seeks lender & GC
A view of Phoenicia Development's remaining land in the 11700 block of International Drive that is available, with new plans for inline retail (yellow outline) and 5.04 acres under contract to hotel developer B.P. Sodhi (blue). (Orange County Property Appraiser / staff edit)

Port Orange-based hotel investor B.P. Sodhi should close next week on some of the last few undeveloped acres around Phoenicia Development's Orchid Bay Plaza shopping center. He filed for construction permits Wednesday to build two limited service hotels, and has yet to choose a lender, general contractor or future property manager.

Based on the east side of S. International Drive, north of the intersection with S. Westwood Boulevard, Sodhi's affiliate Pearl Eagles, LLC filed plans in early December 2016 for the 5.04-acre site behind an IHOP restaurant.

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Newly addressed at 11797 I-Drive, the development calls for a four-story, 139-key Woodspring Suites Signature extended stay hotel, and a five-story, 83-room "boutique hotel" with the placeholder name "Pearl Eagle."

**UPDATE** Sodhi's affiliate Emerald Eagles LP paid approximately $1.8 million on Aug. 25 for 2.825 acres from the Phoenicia Development affiliate, with the deed recorded Monday in Orange County. It's intended as the first half of the property for the first hotel, with closing to come in the future on the other half, said Tom Harb, CEO of Phoenicia.

  • Hotels & Hospitality Development News in Central Florida

Sodhi applied on Aug. 23 for building permits to construct the Phase 1 hotel building of 40,824 square feet, with associated infrastructure, parking and other site improvements to support both phases. Phase 1 site work was valued conservatively at more than $6 million on the applications.

Sodhi expects to close on the land purchase next week, and has yet to choose a general contractor, construction lender or third-party property manager for the planned hotels, he told GrowthSpotter on Thursday.

On the GC front, Sodhi is vetting candidates and aims to hire in the next 30 to 60 days for a groundbreaking target in 90 days. "We're on a fast track to get the project built within 12 months," he said.

Sodhi expects to decide on a flag for the second property within the next 90 days as well. While Woodspring Suites Signature is locked in as an extended stay brand for the first hotel, Sodhi said he's "keeping all my options open on the flag and product niche" for the second, which should cover 42,236 square feet.

Total investment in the two hotels, including land acquisition, was conservatively estimated at $20 million or more by Sodhi on Thursday. His equity should cover 35 percent of the project cost, with a construction loan to be sourced for the remainder within the next two weeks, he said.

Sodhi's current hotel portfolio includes approximately 1,000 rooms across multiple properties in Florida. His LLC affiliates sold the 205-key Ramada Orlando Downtown in January 2016 for $4.9 million, and a Travelodge Inn & Suites near Orlando International Airport (1853 McCoy Road) for $4.59 million in November 2015.

Architectural Design + Associates Inc. of Ormond Beach is the architect on the planned hotels, Florida Engineering Group is civil engineer, and American Surveying & Mapping, Inc. of Orlando is the surveyor.

Adjacent to the IHOP and hotels site, Phoenicia Development is preparing to build a 6,543-square-foot multi-tenant retail building with three inline spaces, has one remaining restaurant pad available south of the IHOP for its fourth retail building in that Orchid Bay lineup, projected for 15,000 square feet.

Phoenicia's Orchid Bay Plaza and standalone retail pads should be supported further by residents of the 288-unit Ancora Apartments on 16.5 acres north of the strip center, a $45 million project expected to open this fall.

North of the apartments is a 3.32-acre parcel in the 11500 block of I-Drive that Phoenicia's affiliate sold in October 2016 to Miami-based Riviera Point Development Group, where it is planning a La Quinta Inn and a second Radisson brand hotel.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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