UPDATED: NOVEMBER 6, 2015, 5:05 PM — Nearly $15 million has been spent within the past week for two economy-level hotels in the heart of International Drive, with the Ramada Orlando across the street from the Orlando Eye going for $7.35 million to a Brazilian real estate development group, and the Super 8 motel on American Way selling for $7.5 million to a Chinese family out of California.
Located at 8342 Jamaican Court, the 135-key Ramada Orlando was bought Nov. 5 by a local affiliate of Brazilian real estate developer QDI. The hotel is located less than a mile north of Pointe Orlando, and a half mile south of the I-Drive-Sand Lake Road intersection.
QDI has five high-end apartment developments in the Sao Paulo area, as well as a corporate office building in Sao Paulo under development and its first hotel property, a Sleep Inn near the airport of Maringá, Parana state.
Fabio Passos, CEO of QDI, told GrowthSpotter late Friday this is the company's first investment in the United States, and his executive team was drawn to Orlando after visiting here annually as tourists for more than a decade.
"Being Brazilian, Orlando is an obvious choice for our first investment," he said. "All the investments being made in the I-Drive area also make us sure that our investment is being supported by all the theme parks, the convention center and more developments."
QDI sourced a $4 million loan for the Ramada purchase from Banco do Brasil Americas out of Miami.
Orlando-based Sky Resort Management was hired to take over management of the Ramada this week, and will retain the Ramada flag. It will be Sky's sixth managed property in the Greater Orlando area, and third on I-Drive.
Passos said new ownership will invest "a few million dollars" in the short-term for Phase I renovations to bring the property up to current Ramada standards.
A Phase II, multi-million renovation and upgrade plan will follow to possibly expand the hotel, which Sky and QDI have yet to begin planning for, he said. The company has another 15 years on its flag agreement with Wyndham, which could allow it to switch from Ramada to a higher-end brand in the Wyndham family in the future.
Seller of the Ramada was Quest International Hotel LLC, which bought the property back in December 2006 for $4.7 million.
Dinyar Mehta, president of Quest International, told GrowthSpotter Friday morning that the holding company's nine members don't intend to reinvest their income from the sale in another property.
The Ramada had been shopped for roughly a year and a half, Mehta said, and discussions with QDI from Brazil began a few months ago.
A mile and a half north on I-Drive, the 110-key Super 8 motel at 5900 American Way was bought Nov. 4 for $7.5 million by Dongxiang Investment Group out of Riverside, Calif., described by managing principal Chih "John" Yuan-Yu as a vehicle for family investments.
Yuan-Yu will be moving to Orlando, and told GrowthSpotter Friday he has retained the Super 8 staff and will be managing the property. The hotel is in excellent shape, doesn't need immediate upgrades and will retain the Super 8 flag, he added.
The market strength of I-Drive and Orlando drew Yuan-Yu to make this his first investment in hospitality, and he will be looking for similar value-add hotel investments in the area, said Kiran Patel, listing broker on the property.
Dongxiang Investment took over an existing loan of $1.948 million from the Super 8's seller, JF American Way, which they took out in October 2014 from First Colony Bank of Florida. The hotel was last sold in December 2012 for $3.175 million.