Hilton Orlando owner files plan to expand event space w/new ballroom building

Editor's Note: A Development Plan filed on May 2 had incorrect figures for total square footage of the proposed expansion. This article was updated on May 16 to correct that square footage after a revised DP was filed. 

Owners of the Hilton Orlando near International Drive filed plans Wednesday to add nearly 50 percent to the hotel's meeting and event space, pursuing expansion onto an adjacent stormwater pond that has been eyed for new use since August 2016

The 1,418-room hotel on the corner of Destination Parkway and International Drive is owned by a joint venture of RIDA Development Corp. out of Houston, Ares Management of Los Angeles and Park Hotels & Resorts in Virginia. 

The plans filed with Orange County propose expanding the hotel's ballroom space to the east of the hotel onto roughly 2.5 acres that has long served as a retention pond, combined with some surface parking directly north. 

The expansion would add approximately 111,000 gross square feet of multi-purpose event space over one story, and an outdoor event lawn. Part of the building would be two stories where an escalator and entryway connects to the hotel. 

The Hilton Orlando currently has 236,000 square feet of meeting and event space, comprised of 3 grand ballrooms, nine boardrooms and 42 meeting rooms. Another 50,000 square feet is available as an outdoor event venue. 

"We're very excited about the prospects of our convention space expanding," RIDA's senior vice president Marc Reicher told GrowthSpotter. "We've said publicly in the past that we want to co-invest with the Orange County Convention Center and grow along with them." 

A new road entry is also proposed on the eastern side of the hotel to give direct access to the new event space, running vertically between the new building and the eastern boundary of the current pool area. 

RIDA and Hilton began taking steps 20 months ago to free up this pond for future development, filing plans to fill the hotel's 2.18-acre stormwater pond and install new pipes to redirect that retention demand about 1,000 feet southeast.

It would go to a 6-acre parcel off site the hotel owners later bought in March 2017, which RIDA will grade and deepen for the Hilton's retention needs.

Expansion plans for the Hilton Orlando join a growing number of full-service hotels in Orlando's tourism corridor that have focused on new meeting space in the past two years.

In February, the owner of the neighboring Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek filed plans to expand their joint event space.

Plans were filed in mid-January to expand ballroom and convention center space at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Lake Buena Vista, and the Caribe Royale Orlando hotel on World Center Drive.

In May 2017, owners of the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld filed plans to expand that hotel's ballroom-area meeting space by nearly 40 percent

Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate concluded more than $40 million in investments last year made over 17 months, which included a 100,000-square-foot expansion at the adjacent Osceola County Conference Center. 

A business-traveler focused expansion was being considered for Reunion Resort last year. And in 2016, new owners of the Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld initiated a $30 million renovation project that included new ballroom and outdoor meeting space.

HKS is project architect on the Hilton Orlando expansion, BBM Structural Engineers of Longwood, BLUM Consulting Engineers out of Dallas and Kimley-Horn are contributing engineers, and ITEC Entertainment Group is landscape architect.  

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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