Epelboim begins clearing new hotel site near OCCC, scouts Orlando for more land

Bob Moser
GrowthSpotter

Miami-based Epelboim Development Group began clearing its first new hotel site in Orlando's tourism corridor last week, and is actively scouting land in four more local submarkets as part of a 25-asset growth plan over the next five years. 

Planned for 6461 Westwood Blvd., directly southeast of the Orange County Convention Center's West Concourse, the company paid $5.5 million in July 2017 for the 4.46-acre site, after initially filing its hotel Development Plan in February 2017

At 259 keys, the developer is touting this as the largest Tru by Hilton hotel in the United States. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at the site on Thursday morning. 

Epelboim began clearing the site of vegetation last week, and has a mass grading permit to proceed with site work and a new stormwater retention pond.

That phase is projected to run the next 45 to 60 days, by which time  a final building permit to go vertical is anticipated, principal Noel Epelboim told GrowthSpotter

Kellogg & Kimsey of Sarasota is the general contractor, and has been working with Epelboim on another new hotel now under construction in Atlanta.

Total project cost has remained steady at a $40 million estimate, of which $16 million is being targeted from 32 foreign investors through the EB-5 immigrant visa program.

The company currently has 20 of those secured, Epelboim said. Florida First Regional Center is coordinating the campaign.

A construction loan of $21.5 million was sourced in February from Miami-based lender BridgeInvest, which Epelboim said has experience lending to hotel projects that incorporate EB-5 investors to their capital stack. 

Completion of the hotel's construction is anticipated for Fourth Quarter 2019, Epelboim said. Coral Gables-based Trust Hospitality will be the property manager, after managing Epelboim's first hotel in Miami.

The developer's gameplan for growth over the next five years is aggressive, to say the least. With four hotels currently under development, it wants 25 properties by 2023 and is targeting Greater Orlando for three of those.

Local submarkets they're actively looking for land in are Lake Nona, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary and downtown Orlando's SoDo District, Epelboim said.

"One of the key things we look for when scouting hotel locations is solid demand generators, and for us being next to a hospital is one of those key generators," he said, in reference to the Lake Nona and SoDo attraction. 

"In Altamonte, the heavy commercial area around that mall is attractive and market research showing demand for hotels," Epelboim continued. "And Lake Mary is growing in all ways, and there is demand for select-service hotels." 

Epelboim has developed residential and commercial projects in Venezuela, Costa Rica and South Florida for more than 30 years, and recruits EB-5 immigrant visa investors to help finance many of its projects in the past five years. 

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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