South Florida hotelier investing millions for IHG conversions in tourism corridor

After spending more than $33 million last year to buy two Disney-area hotels, Hollywood-based AD1 Global is now converting them from Choice brands to IHG flags.

CFO Alex Fridzon told GrowthSpotter the company is spending a combined $13 million on renovations to comply with IHG brand standards. 

"Both properties, because of the structure and how they were built, have been underutilized," he said. "We have a very good relationship with IHG, and they bought into our plan."

The 200-room Comfort Inn Orlando - Lake Buena Vista will be converted to a Crowne Plaza and will be the first to introduce the brand's new "work-life" prototype rooms. 

"It's a little different design -- very modern, spacious and light," Fridzon said. "It works very well for business and leisure, and it's very tech-friendly."

The owner is renovating the guest rooms one floor at a time, from the top down. All should be turned over by March, with common areas completed by May. 

The Comfort Inn only served breakfast, so AD1 is converting that space into a full-service restaurant with a bar to meet brand standards.

"We're adding a splash pad and enhancing the pool area," Fridzon said. "It already has a waterslide."

The building exterior will get a total refresh with new paint and sleek new railings on all the balconies. The lobby was redesigned by AD1's in-house team using Crowne Plaza guidelines.

Exterior renovations are largely complete at the Royal Parc Suites in Kissimmee, which AD1 is converting from a Quality Suites to IHG's Staybridge Suites.

"The landscaping isn't done yet, but we've already painted and added a lot of stonework to the exterior to incorporate the prototypical Staybridge Suites design," Fridzon said. In addition, the company is adding a splash pad to the pool area and converting a game room to a small movie theater.

The hotel's 224 suites are being gutted and renovated in five phases. Each will receive all new flooring, furnishings, kitchen and bathroom to meet brand standards. AD1 is about halfway into the second phase and will start lobby renovations in November. 

"We're doing it wing-by-wing," Fridzon said. "Our goal is to be complete by April."

AD1 expects to realize at least a 20 percent increase in average daily room rates for both properties as a result of the improvements, he added. The Staybridge Suites Royal Parc is already available for bookings through the IHG portal, and Crowne Plaza will be added shortly.

The company is strongly vested in the Orlando market with several other projects in the pipeline. AD1 expects to break ground early next year on a new dual-branded Aloft and Element by Westin hotel on International Drive, southeast of SeaWorld.

AD1 is awaiting permit approvals from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a hotel trio with shared waterpark on 57-plus acres in the Four Corners area of Orange County. The group has Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites approved as flags from IHG, and Four Points by Sheraton as the third flag.  

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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