Local caterer pays $1.5M for historic bed & breakfast house in Downtown Orlando

A local veteran chef and event caterer paid $1.5 million on Tuesday for the 124-year-old Dr. Phillips House bed and breakfast property in Downtown Orlando, and plans extensive cosmetic renovations in the coming months. 

Located at 135 N. Lucerne Circle East, the three-story, nine-bedroom Dr. Phillips House was built in 1893, and lies on the eastern side of Lake Lucerne in downtown. It's the anchor among four historic homes now serving as B&Bs that make up The Courtyard at Lake Lucerne, a popular venue for downtown weddings and private events.

The house is named for Dr. Philip Phillips, a local citrus industry magnate in the late 19th century who, with his wife Della, were prominent supporters of the arts and hosted many cultural events at the home. 

The Phillips family occupied the home beginning in 1912. It eventually fell into disrepair in the late 1980s until Courtyard at Lake Lucerne Inc. bought it in 1995 for $300,000 and embarked on a thorough renovation. Managers of that entity include members of the Meiner family, which have operated multiple local barbecue restaurants, including Bubbalou's

The buyer this week was an LLC affiliate of Sourikone "Lo" Soukhavong, a hospitality chef of more than 25 years and owner of Millenia Event Catering for the past decade. 

His catering business currently services more than 50 venues in Central Florida, including The Courtyard at Lake Lucerne. It was there he learned earlier this year of the owner's off-market interest to sell. 

"They kept it off-market because with weddings on the books for more than a year in advance, they didn't want to give the brides any cause for concern," Soukhavong told GrowthSpotter on Thursday. "We're excited for the opportunity."

A fan of preservation with his own historic home near Lake Eola, Soukhavong he'll embark on a cautious but extensive renovation of the Dr. Phillips House in the coming year, estimated at $250,000 overall. 

That will include a fresh look of Victorian Blue paint for the exterior, replacing the Mustard Yellow color the home has featured for decades. Work inside should include new hardwood floors, paint and lighting, and for the backyard new brick pavers, fencing and landscaping. 

Soukhavong said he has hired an exterior painting company thus far, but no other service providers. He and his family will manage the property themselves. 

The buyer sourced an $883,800 loan from JPMorgan Chase Bank to help finance the purchase and renovations.

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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