Greenville, S.C.-based JHM Hotels plans to renovate and re-open the vacant Lake Buena Vista hotel it bought in the Nik Patel property auction by December, and will introduce Marriott International's newly acquired Delta Hotels and Resorts brand as its flag, making this the first Delta hotel in the United States, JHM's president told GrowthSpotter.
Located at 12490 Apopka-Vineland Road in Orlando, JHM closed its $27.85 million acquisition on Monday of the property formerly owned by Patel's company, Alena Hospitality, which was one of five hotels auctioned in late July in relation to alleged loan fraud by Patel, according to previous coverage by the Orlando Sentinel.
The seven-story hotel lies on 3.85 acres, less than two miles from the entrance to Disney Springs. The property opened in 1973 and was acquired by Alena Hospitality in March 2013. Alena started renovations, but it was estimated prior to auction that another $500,000 would be needed to complete the work.
D.J. Rama, president of JHM Hotels, said Tuesday the company aims to re-open the hotel by December, and will begin working immediately with Marriott and Delta's design team to finish renovations "with the leisure traveler in mind."
"We're excited about the acquisition and this new brand relationship," Rama said. "This will be the first Delta hotel in the U.S. launched by Marriott after it acquired the brand."
Marriott International completed its acquisition in April of Vancouver-based Delta Hotels and Resorts' brand, management and franchise business. It's one of Canada's largest hotel companies, with 37 properties in more than 30 Canadian cities.
Rama projects JHM will invest a few million dollars in the coming months into renovations to bring the hotel up to new brand standards for Delta, "somewhere in the lower single-digit millions," he noted.
JHM will likely hire Orlando-based CVC Hospitality, Inc., as its general contractor, Rama added. CVC specializes in turn-key solutions for hotel renovation and construction.
"Most of the hotel renovations were already completed by (the previous owner), particularly the rooms," he said. "Our focus will be to work up designs with Marriott and Delta, with renovation focused on the public spaces."
With the newly acquired hotel in Lake Buena Vista, JHM and its affilliate LLCs now own and operate 10 hotels in the Greater Orlando market, most of them concentrated near Orlando International Airport. The company previously built, and has since sold, two hotels in Lake Buena Vista.
Prior to this purchase, a JHM affiliate acquired the Holiday Inn Orlando International Airport for $14 million on July 16, and plans to turn that hotel into the airport's best for business travelers, GrowthSpotter reported in late July.
Delta Hotels and Resorts was last active in Orlando in the early- to mid-1990s as flag of the Delta Orlando Resort, which was originally the Court of Flags hotel on Major Boulevard, near International Drive and Universal Orlando. That hotel was demolished in 2006.
JHM bought the Lake Buena Vista hotel at auction in partnership with Jacksonville construction company owner Darren Watson, which together formed Florida-based company DKR Enterprises, the Orlando Sentinel noted in an Aug. 27 story about other winnings bidders in the Patel property auction.
Paul Sexton, vice president of HREC Investment Advisors, was listing broker on the portfolio of Alena Hospitality hotels auctioned in July, which will provide money to creditors and satisfy claims against Patel.