UPDATED: July 31, 2017 12:43 PM — Plans for a new 16-story JW Marriott in Bonnet Creek Resort were filed Monday in Orange County, with the project on a fast track for Fourth Quarter groundbreaking and PCL Construction conducting pre-construction cost estimates.
First reported on May 2 by GrowthSpotter, the luxury hotel tower is proposed to have 16 accessible stories with a total height equivalent of 17 stories, and a rooftop bar to view Walt Disney World fireworks.
Projected for 516 keys and 50,000 square feet of meeting space, it would occupy a 10.6-acre site on the eastern end of Chelonia Parkway, facing Interstate 4. The property lies within the Bonnet Creek Community Development District, directly east of the Waldorf Astoria and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, and would offer guests unique access to the Disney theme parks.
Randall F. Greene and DCS Real Estate Holdings, the South Florida developer behind Bella Collina and other high profile Orlando-area projects, own the land through an affiliate. Greene declined to comment on Tuesday, but previously confirmed the project outline in early May.
Total project cost is estimated at $282 million, with construction financing to supply $218.24 million (77.3 percent), comprised of senior and mezzanine debt. The financing was arranged by the Miami capital markets team of Walker & Dunlop and New York-based SRF Ventures, Inc., the companies announced July 31.
Highlight amenities at the property should include the flag's "Spa by JW," a signature restaurant and two more full-service options, multiple bars and quick-service dining, a fitness center, swimming pool and lazy river.
PCL Construction has been conducting pre-construction cost estimates for the project. A general contractor has not been chosen yet, but is expected within the next 30 days.
DCS' next steps are to wait for sufficiency review comments from county planners before being scheduled with the Development Review Committee.
The county approval process for this DP should be streamlined because the property lies within a DRI, with clearly determined entitlements available.
The Chelonia Parkway site is designated for hotel and conference center use within the Bonnet Creek PD zoning. A recent change to that PD increased the conference square footage by 50,000 square feet, approved in early April by Orange County Commissioners.
Bonnet Creek Venture, Ltd., the declarant of that PD, would have to approve of the new JW Marriott plans. It was behind the conference space increase in recent months that sets the stage for this project.
An aggressive construction start estimate of November or December would put the hotel project on pace for completion in late 2019.
While the property will carry all the JW Marriott brand standards, Morris Architects' design features clear inspiration from Miami, and boasts a more modern exterior than the other JW Marriott in Orlando.
Marriott International is expected to directly manage the property.
The Chelonia Parkway site lies 6.9 miles southwest from the existing JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes (11.4 miles by road), just outside the sphere of protection that allows this flag to be contracted for another hotel.
The new JW Marriott at Bonnet Creek would be a luxury resort on par with the other JW Marriott at Grande Lakes, one of 34 hotels in Greater Orlando given the Four Diamond rating by AAA in 2017. The Four Seasons Resort at Walt Disney World is the only local property with a Five Diamond rating.
Market-wide occupancy levels for Orlando's luxury hotels broke the 80 percent threshold in 2016 and have been trending upward for the past six years, Don Stephens, managing director for HVS' Orlando office, said in early May.
In terms of average rate, those properties are near $300 on aggregate, up 4 percent from 2015 with a growth pace that should continue this year, he added.
DCS' development focus on Chelonia Parkway moves to the backburner a 20-acre site on Westwood Boulevard south of the Orange County Convention Center, which an affiliate bought in November 2016 and had been planning a convention-level hotel tower with 1,000 to 1,200 keys.
Greene's RG Developments & Investments is known as a well-capitalized developer. It's the co-owner on multiple Florida real estate projects with DCS Real Estate Holdings, which is controlled by Dwight C. Schar, a minority-stake owner of the Washington Redskins and founder of NVR Inc., a large national homebuilder that operates under the Ryan Homes brand.