Two local brothers with a diverse commercial real estate portfolio are diving in to Apopka with a new self storage and hotel development, drawn to the city two years ago on the advice of a Marriott executive.
Amin and Ramzan Gulamali own and have developed fuel stations, retail properties, office buildings and three hotels across Florida through affiliates of their Farish Enterprises, LLC.
Apopka currently has two other brand-named, limited service hotels. When the brothers heard two years ago at a conference that Marriott wanted to enter the Apopka submarket, the duo tried to seize the opportunity, impress a national hotel company with their site selection, and hopefully build a long-term relationship.
Veteran owner-operator of fuel stations in the Greater Orlando area was drawn to invest in his first local hotel property with family members, based on Orlando's strong economy and airport growth, he says.
"When Marriott said they wanted to get into Apopka because of the way the city is growing, we knew we could buy land there," Amin Gulamali told GrowthSpotter. "And then because we had such a large (parcel) we did a feasibility study for the market, and found we could fill a self storage need as well."
Located at 1616 E. Semoran Blvd., about 2.5 miles east of Apopka's downtown, the 12.11-acre property lies south of an existing ALDI Market. The brothers paid $1.03 million for the site in July 2016.
A Preliminary Development Plan was initially with the city in Fall 2016 for what is now a four-story, 91-room Fairfield Inn & Suites hotel, and a three-story, 60,732-square-foot self storage facility. The staff review process lasted a full year in part because of a height variance request, which ultimately drew staff approval.
That DP and re-plat went before Apopka's Development Review Committee on Oct. 25, and should move on to City Commission in the coming months.
Interplan LLC is the civil engineer and architect. Construction plans are being prepared for submission after DP approval, and the general contractor position is being bid out now, Gulamali said.
The brothers will be hiring a third-party hospitality management firm for the hotel that is pre-approved by Marriott, and will be trained themselves over the first year to eventually assume full management duties.
The self storage facility will be the Gulamalis' first in that niche of commercial development. They'll hire a third-party manager, and are negotiating now with CubeSmart.
Both projects will be built concurrently, at a total cost that Gulamali declined to estimate on Friday. The developers will be seeking a construction loan in First Quarter 2018 of up to 80 percent loan-to-cost, and may favor an SBA loan, he added.
A new Car Wash Express has also been proposed separately from this project that would be built next to the ALDI, facing Semoran Boulevard.