Kissimmee hotelier Susana Wong has made her largest investment yet on the W192 corridor, paying $5.25 million for the Howard Johnson Express Inn & Suites on Lake Cecile.
Kris Lagasse, director of operations, told GrowthSpotter on Friday that Wong plans to keep the Howard Johnson flag, and will make several improvements to the exterior and guest rooms.
"It's a busy property," Legasse said. "Our focus now is to improve the curb appeal with new paint and landscaping."
Located at 4836 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, the hotel was built in 1975, has 129 rooms and sits on nearly 7 acres of lakefront property.
Legasse said all of the guest rooms and suites would be renovated in phases and should be completed over the next six months.
Wong, owner of Orlando-based Dragon Realty, and General Manager Mateo Marcasciano have bought and renovated several budget motels on the tourism corridor, starting in 2014 with the former Oak Plantation Inn, which they rebranded as the Days Inn Kissimmee West and sold in late October for $2.15 million.
Wong's investment affiliates currently own a pair of motels in the Lake Cecile district. She paid $1.75 million in 2016 for the Key Motel and rebranded it the Magic Key Resort. Another affiliate purchased the Monte Carlo Motel that same year for just $815,000 and completed a major renovation of the property.
David Buchheit, executive director of the W192 Development Authority, said he was thrilled to find out Wong had purchased the Howard Johnson.
"The renovations they did at the Monte Carlo are jaw-dropping," he said. "Hopefully the same thing will happen at the Howard Johnson."
The company also built new websites for their independent motels, but the one for Magic Key is still under construction and contains photos of a luxury ocean-front resort that bears no resemblance to the actual property. Legasse said that issue would be dealt with in the near future.
The Howard Johnson seller was longtime Kissimmee hotelier Johnson Young, whose Sunshine Island Investment Corp. provided $2.7 million in financing to the buyer. Young also sold the Travelodge Suites on W192 in December for $5.25 million.
Marcus & Millichap's Kent Hricko represented the seller in both transactions.