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An elevation of the La Quinta Del Sol, one of two hotels proposed for 3.32 undeveloped acres in the 11500 block of S. International Drive.
An elevation of the La Quinta Del Sol, one of two hotels proposed for 3.32 undeveloped acres in the 11500 block of S. International Drive. (L2 Studios)

Miami-based Riviera Point Development Group plans to break ground in the fourth quarter on one of two neighboring hotels on S. International Drive, and will seek a general contractor and lender in the coming months, a lead executive with the company told GrowthSpotter.

The developer filed a two-phase Development Plan on Jan. 20 with Orange County. Full approval of that DP is expected by June, followed by construction permit approvals estimated by September, acquisitions and finance manager Carlos Jose Chuman said on Monday.

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Riviera Point paid $3.3 million in mid-October to enter Orlando's tourism corridor, buying 3.32 undeveloped acres in the 11500 block of S. International Drive. 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.

Learn how this EB5-focused hotel developer was drawn to the property, and what two flags the company is lining up for it.

Consistent with the company's initial forecast last October, the Orlando plans are for the first hotel to be a 101-room 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.

The DP lists a 98-room Radisson RED as the second-phase hotel on the site. It's a new flag from Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group that hasn't been formally signed yet, but that Riviera Point is optimistic to land, Chuman said.

"The second will most likely be a Radisson RED, we have a wonderful relationship with (Carlson Rezidor)," he said.

Riviera Point broke ground last week on its first Radisson RED hotel near the Miami airport, a $24 million project for which the developer has raised nearly all of a $11.5 million funding target via the EB-5 immigrant investor program. Miami will be the new flag's third location in the U.S., after Minneapolis (Carlson Rezidor's headquarters) and Portland.

Chuman said the Orlando hotels will be phased, with a time lapse of nine to 12 months between the construction of each. Total development cost is projected at $32.5 million, of which $12 million or more will be raised via EB-5.

Riviera Point has four EB-5 investor slots left to fill on its Miami hotel project, after which it will shift fundraising focus to the Orlando hotels, Chuman said.

The company will be seeking a construction loan for roughly one third of the Orlando project's cost, and should begin actively seeking lender opportunities in the second semester, he added.

Riviera Point is now evaluating general contractor options in Greater Orlando, and is seeking a firm with hospitality experience, Chuman said.

Investor proposes two new hotels on Phoenicia land along South I-Drive

Details on who the prospective buyer and developer of the site is, and what he and nearby land owners stand to gain from an ongoing county road project.

Florida Engineering Group is the civil engineer on Riviera Point's Orlando hotels, and L2 Studios, Inc., is the architect.

This will be Riviera Point's fifth development in Florida with a substantial EB-5 investment. The company's founder and CEO Rodrigo Azpurua is also the president of The EB-5 FMC Regional Center, designated since June 2015 by the USCIS to sponsor capital investment projects.

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 and other developers stand to gain in the long-term from Orange County's $21 million investment now being made to widen that portion of I-Drive between both ends of Westwood Boulevard.

The construction project is currently at 50 percent, and should be finished by Hubbard Construction in Fourth Quarter 2017, according to county staff.

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Riviera Point's two hotels will be followed in the development cycle by two more proposed limited service hotels directly south of the Orchid Bay Plaza shopping center, where 5.04 acres are under contract to Port Orange-based hotel investor B.P. Sodhi.

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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