Design updates green-lit for Cambria Suites at Lake Eola, construction plans in review

Construction plans are now under review and design updates earned city board approval Thursday for the planned eight-story Cambria Suites west of downtown Orlando's Lake Eola.

Located at 170 E. Washington St. on the southwest corner with Rosalind Avenue, the 0.63-acre vacant parcel was bought in late October for $3 million by California-based Stratus Development Partners, which is serving as lead in a joint venture with Sunny Isles Beach-based investor and developer HB Capital Group.

City staff and members of Orlando's Appearance Review Board were pleased Thursday with the latest design changes by Newport Beach-based Hannouche Architects, following an initial courtesy review given in the fall. 

The ARB gave the hotel its major certificate of approval, and now construction plans could receive a first round of staff comments as soon as next week.

"I think they've taken what was strong architecture and refined it even more," said Doug Metzger, urban planner with the city and ARB coordinator. 

The 155-key hotel's Master Plan and initial design proposed a bit of Miami Beach in downtown Orlando when it was filed in late July 2017, featuring pastel colors and a mix of the Art Deco and Miami Modern architectural styles found on Collins Avenue. 

New changes to the design include removal of balconies on the upper floors of the hotel's northern side, a change not reflected in the latest rendering. Those were originally inspired by the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach, but removed because they didn't fit Cambria brand standards. 

The most notable changes were to the hotel's eastern front, facing Rosalind Avenue. Balconies on every floor of that side were kept, with the floor plates thickened and northernmost edge angled outward, which ARB members agreed gave those balconies more visual pop. 

A new bronze-colored metal screening was also added on that front to run vertically over a glass elevator column. The design feature gives the hotel another point of distinction, and a similar band of bronze screen will run horizontally along the building's northern side. 

Partner Andrew Wood told city staff the design additions have contributed to an estimated project cost now near $42 million, up from a $30 million forecast in early November

General contractor candidates are being vetted now, and construction lenders engaged. Brother and partner David Wood said in November a loan would be sought at 75 percent loan-to-cost.

The Woods declined further comment Thursday on their project timeline and milestones.

An internal 82-space parking garage will be accessible from Washington Street on the northern side, where the vehicle entry was also promised to be well-designed to engage pedestrians. 

Andrew Wood told staff their goal is to draw non-hotel guests into the property through that entry point, with visitors encouraged to go up to the rooftop bar and lounge overlooking Lake Eola. 

A restaurant with outdoor seating on Rosalind is anticipated for 3,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space, which HB Capital hired Select Strategies Realty to market. 

The Cambria Suites Master Plan earned approval in mid-September from Orlando's Municipal Planning Board with the help of local GrayRobinson attorney Jason W.  Searl, who eased concerns of the neighboring St. George Orthodox Church's pastor that steps would be taken to protect its historic structure during construction. 

The rooftop balcony amenity will be the first or second for a hotel in downtown Orlando, depending on when United Capital Corp. builds out and opens its planned rooftop bar on the renovated Marriott hotel near Creative Village

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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