BTI Partners is aiming for construction of vacation townhomes to begin about 18 months from now across the street from The Grove, as a third tower at the condo-hotel resort is expected to be complete next summer with input from owners at the first two towers providing guidance on design details.
Land development for the townhomes should begin in about a year, BTI's Director of Development and Construction, Kevin Mays, told GrowthSpotter on Thursday.
"Before we start putting vertical construction on the ground, we usually want to test presales out, about six months from getting started," Mays said.
BTI also is searching for other opportunites across the Metro Orlando area and statewide, he said.
Marketing the changes taking shape at The Grove in real time through partnering third-party brokers has been key for BTI, he said – including additions such as a water park, restaurant and spa as well as updated designs within the units including furniture and cabinets that allow flexibility while being consistent with original details.
"Each time we have an event, we make sure we update the website with great photos and video to convey all that through our international broker network," said Mays, saying BTI works with more than 100 with a focus on the U.S., South America, Asia and Europe. "Our outreach is direct to them, so they understand what the product looks like. ... That kind of outreach helps take away some of the peaks and valleys" the international market sometimes sees because of outside forces such as politics or economics.
The Groves' mix of 2- and 3-bedroom condo-hotel units hasn't undergone major structural renovations, however. Work on the third tower began this month.
"If the market was demanding something different, we would have the ability to change," Mays said. "We just don't see the reason."
Despite starting out inheriting a previous vision when taking over the property -- which had been known as Grand Palisades when it was built by Paul Oxley and foreclosed on during the Great Recession of the late 2000s – several features put in place under BTI's watch since 2013 at The Grove are the result of noting clients' expectations, including its sizeable water park.
"That's 7 acres of absolute fun, and it's intentional based on what we heard from guests and owners," Mays said. "... We still have the ability to be reactive.
Many guests finding the units' layout allows two families to vacation together, he said, so other changes include tweaking seating space to allow more people to congregate together and bed configurations for sleeping arrangements.
"As we've sold to owners all over the world, we're learning some of the things that are making it more attractive," he said.
Earlier this year, BTI studied the highest and best use for the vacant land it purchased across Avalon Road. Evans Engineering contributed an early density study for the project with approximately 200 units and Looney Ricks Kiss drew up the conceptual site plan. Outparcels for retail are in the works, but guests will rely on amenities at The Grove. Townhomes remain the choice for the property.
"It's a totally different product design," Mays said. "... We listen to the market, and where segments are underserved we try to fulfill that."