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Highlighted in blue is the 3.32-acre parcel along S. International Drive bought by Riviera Point Development, north of the intersection with Westwood Boulevard, and east of the former Marriott Grande Pines Golf Course.
Highlighted in blue is the 3.32-acre parcel along S. International Drive bought by Riviera Point Development, north of the intersection with Westwood Boulevard, and east of the former Marriott Grande Pines Golf Course. (Orange County Property Appraiser)

Miami-based Riviera Point Development Group paid $3.3 million on Thursday to enter Orlando's tourism corridor, buying 3.32 undeveloped acres on S. International Drive where it plans to develop two select service hotels, its founder and CEO told GrowthSpotter.

Located in the 11500 block of S. I-Drive, just south of the intersection with Avenida Vista, the property lies directly north of the 288-unit Ancora Apartments being built by LeCesse Development Corp. on 16.5 acres, which is north of the 61,173-square-foot Orchid Bay Plaza retail center owned by Orlando-based Phoenicia Development.

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Riviera Point bought the land from an affiliate of Phoenicia, then immediately resold it to another of its own affiliates on the same day for $3.8 million.

"We're planning two select service hotels, about 100 rooms each. The first flag we have an agreement for is a La Quinta Inn, and the second may be a Radisson brand," Riviera Point's Rodrigo Azpurua said on Monday. "It's a dual-brand development, meaning they will share an operator and parking. They won't share amenities, however."

With three of its four Orchid Bay parcels undeveloped, groundbreaking is close on apartments and retail, with advanced talks for multiple hotels.

The specific brand targeted for the first hotel is La Quinta Del Sol, a new design introduced by La Quinta Inn & Suites in 2014 that features cleaner geometric lines, and maximization of revenue per square foot for the franchisee.

Riviera Point is currently raising capital for a Radisson RED hotel near the Miami airport, a new lifestyle select flag that Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group says is inspired by art, music and fashion.

Expected to break ground in January, that Miami hotel would be the new Radisson RED's third location in the U.S., after Minneapolis (Carlson Rezidor's headquarters) and Portland.

"We are entertaining the possibility that the second property within the recently acquired (Orlando) site be Radisson RED," Carlos Jose Chuman, finance manager with Riviera Point, told GrowthSpotter. "Radisson RED has also demonstrated interest in the site because of its location and our familiarity with the brand, since we are developing one in Miami."

A spokeswoman from Carlson Rezidor declined to comment on a potential deal for the new flag in Orlando.

Riviera Point came to know the property through a La Quinta representative, who was introduced to it at ICSC's RECon Las Vegas trade show in May by a broker working for Phoenicia, Azpurua said.

The property stands to gain from Orange County's planned widening of a 2.5-mile stretch of I-Drive between the points of S. Westwood and N. Westwood Boulevard, with a new median and expansion from four lanes to six lanes.

Azpurua projects total investment for both Orlando hotels to be roughly $30 million, including furniture, fixtures and equipment. The capital stack should include one third developer's equity, one third EB-5 foreign investor financing, and one third from a conventional bank loan, he said.

This will be Riviera Point's fifth development in Florida with a substantial EB-5 investment. Azpurua is also the president of The EB-5 FMC Regional Center, designated since June 2015 by the USCIS to sponsor capital investment projects for investment by foreign nationals seeking permanent visa status in the U.S.

The company previously developed a 132,000-square-foot office campus in Lake Mary from 2003 through 2005, on the southwest corner of I-4 and Lake Mary Boulevard.

Riviera Point already has proposals in hand from civil engineers and architects for work on the dual-brand hotels project, and will choose service providers in the next two weeks, Azpurua said.

After that, the developer would produce and seek Orange County approval for a Development Plan and building permit, and raise EB-5 capital. Azpurua hopes to break ground only in Fall 2017.

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The developer is working toward building a hotel investment portfolio of 1,500 rooms in the coming years, Azpurua said.

Phoenicia is looking to further subdivide its Orchid Bay Plaza property, negotiating with a hotel group for roughly a third of the 9.3 acres directly behind the retail strip, which would buy that land and build two limited service hotels with around 120 rooms each.

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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