Hotels & Hospitality Development News in Central Florida

Family behind Ramada Plaza on I-Drive plans second hotel across from Universal

Miami-based retail and hotel developers the Shah family are planning their second hotel project in Orlando's tourism corridor, following up the 2012 expansion of their Ramada Plaza Resort on International Drive with a smaller Ramada-flag hotel, which would lie directly north of Universal Orlando's Loew's Portofino Bay Hotel.

Located on the northwest corner of Vineland and S. Kirkman roads, the Shoppes at Portofino strip center parcel has been owned by the Shah family since November 2007, where in 2008 they built the two-story, 32,000-square-foot retail and office property for just over $5 million.


Of the 3.15 acres on the parcel (137,312 gross square feet), the existing retail/office segment occupies only 33,914 square feet. A development plan for a hotel on that parcel had been previously approved by the city of Orlando, but fell dormant by the owner.

The project was renewed for approval through a Planned Development application in December to change the proposed hotel's height and signage. It will be reviewed by Orlando's Municipal Planning Board on Feb. 16.


The hotel could have up to 175 rooms, structured parking behind the property and a potential rooftop bar on top of what would be a 10- or 11-story building.

While named generically as the "Portofino Hotel" on designs submitted by architects Cuhaci & Peterson, the property is expected to be another Ramada franchise, sources in Orlando's hotel development community told GrowthSpotter on Wednesday.

Through an LLC affiliate, the Shah family also owns the 295-key Ramada Plaza Resort & Suites at 6500 International Dr.

Swapnil and Shail Shah, brothers and managers of the Shoppes of Portofino property, did not respond to requests for comment.

The Shah family's JNS Development also owns the 0.79-acre Universal Plaza retail center just around the corner from Shoppes at Portofino, at 5389 S. Kirkman Road. Swapnil Shah also owns a 2.86-acre vacant commercial parcel on Windover Drive directly behind that retail center, both of which lie less than a quarter-mile from the Portofino property.

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