UDPATED: January 27, 2016 1:43 PM — Kissimmee-based Carter Hospitality Group paid $3.5 million in mid-December for a five-parcel assemblage totaling 6.44 acres. Initial plans call for a 700-key hotel on the property, and the company has yet to choose a civil engineer or architect for the project, a lead executive behind the development told GrowthSpotter.
The property holds entitlements for 900 hotel keys, following a convention hotel planned for the site that failed during the recession. Carter Hospitality will likely pursue just 700 keys, with "an upper-end brand to be chosen, similar to Starwood" properties, said Terry K. Hatfield, acquisitions director for HotelMax Hospitality Network, a contractor of Carter for the project.
Located on either side of Ravallo Resort Drive, directly south of Lake Ruby near the intersection of Palm Parkway and Lake Street, the assemblage was coordinated by Lawson Dann, senior vice president with Avison Young, whose client, a Korean investment group behind LLC affiliate Daishin Ravallo USA, owned 3.85 acres across three parcels. Dann drew in an additional 2.52 adjacent acres owned by the James R. Boyce Trust to help the site appeal to hotel developers.
Hatfield said he's currently negotiating with two local civil engineering firms, but has yet to choose. His firm is also open to proposals from architecture firms for the project.
The property lies within the Buena Vista Park PD, which as of May 2015 held entitlements for 899 hotel/timeshare rooms, 65,000 square feet of commercial and 2,400 square feet of office space.
Changes to that PD Land Use Plan, and likely the Preliminary Subdivision Plan, would have to be made by Carter Hospitality to shift more entitlements to hotel use.
Hatfield expects 10 to 12 months will be needed to get through the engineering and architectural approval process with Orange County, before construction could begin in 2017.
Because the 6.44 acres are split in half by Ravallo Resort Drive, future development of the property could involve closing off the southern half of that road. Carter Hospitality could theoretically do so, based on its control of the property condo association, as long as the road's northern half is left open to allow access to another owner's property.
Carter Hospitality did not return calls seeking comment. Development plans have yet to be filed with Orange County's planning division.
The property had originally been planned, prior to the 2008 financial crisis, for a 900-key condo hotel to be named the Ravallo Resort & Conference Center. Funding for that project fell through during the economic recession.
Hotel development along this stretch of Palm Parkway has been active in the past two months. Directly east of this property lie 4.8 acres where two Olando- and Louisiana-based developers are planning common wall, dual-branded select service hotels with Marriott flags, GrowthSpotter reported on Dec. 10.
Carter Hospitality is an affiliate of SGI Partners, a California-based commercial real estate investor and developer with experience in multi-family, office, self-storage, hospitality and retail. In June 2015, the company paid $4.57 million for the 200-plus room America's Best Inn Main Gate East at 5150 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway and North Poinciana Boulevard.
Carter has invested millions in the renovation of that hotel, and on Jan. 15 announced it would reopen in November of this year as a 416-room Red Lion Hotel, after signing a franchise agreement with Red Lion Hotels Corporation.
Carter also owns the Red Lion hotel Orlando - Kissimmee Maingate at 7300 Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, which reopened in December under that new flag. This was Red Lion's first branded franchise location in Florida.