Brazilian owners of International Drive's Avanti Resort remain on an aggressive pace over the next four months for an August groundbreaking on the site of their proposed 21-story UNIQ Hotel.
Initial site work would focus on a new five-story parking garage, with small-scale demolition on the company's 10.19-acre parcel to follow before hotel construction could start in 2017, Brasif's spokesman in Orlando said Wednesday.
Hotel owner IDrive Orlando Hotel, LLC, an affiliate of the diverse Brazilian business group Brasif, passed the first stage of county approval Wednesday. Orange's Development Review Committee endorsed rezoning from C-2 to Planned Development to allow for a new 351-key hotel tower at the corner of International Drive and Austrian Court, next to the company's existing 652-key Avanti Resort.
Brasif's rezoning request has now been fast-tracked by staff to the county's Planning & Zoning Commission agenda for April 21, and is projected for the Board of County Commissioners on May 20.
The applicant and civil engineer Lochrane Engineering now have the option to submit a Development Plan for review as soon as May 2, getting that ball rolling on approval while taking the risk their PD rezoning request isn't denied by BCC in late May.
Brasif's plans have the chance to move through county approvals relatively smoothly, thanks to more than four months of cooperation with planners to align the project with the I-Drive Vision Plan, well before the form-based zoning code takes effect later this year.
Building permit applications are where the road bumps may appear for Brasif. Orange County's Building Division has historically waited for a project DP to be approved before considering permits.
If a DP is approved by BCC in June or July at the earliest, that leaves a tight window for the Building Division to fully approve a site work permit for the garage by August.
Even if delayed a month, Brasif's project will have still moved through three stages of Orange County approvals faster than most commercial development.
The project's groundbreaking would focus on the new five-story parking garage, said Marco A. Manzie, founder of Paramount Hospitality, Brasif's owner-representative and property manager in Orlando, and coordinator for the expansion.
That would take an estimated four months to build (through November/December). Inside that garage will be housed a new operations building for the property.
The existing operations building near that southeast corner of the property would then be demolished, and the entrance to Avanti Resort currently located on the parcel's southeast corner would be realigned.
Brasif would then be expected to move quickly on the 21-story hotel tower construction in early 2017, after those first three stages are complete, Manzie said. The company is still considering general contractors for the project.
Brasif has previously declined to confirm a projected investment in the new hotel tower and parking garage. The company is exploring financing, but the project isn't contingent on finding a lender, Manzie told GrowthSpotter in early March.
The development group wants to have a unique first-floor restaurant and rooftop bar with dayclub pool, and is open to partnerships with different brands and celebrity chefs for the two spaces.