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An aerial view of property located on both sides of Ravallo Resort Drive, just south of Lake Ruby, and the names of the hotel flags planned for the site.
An aerial view of property located on both sides of Ravallo Resort Drive, just south of Lake Ruby, and the names of the hotel flags planned for the site. (HREC Investment Advisors)

Orlando-based Pitibru Hotels LLC is moving forward with plans to develop a hotel on land it recently acquired from Carter Hospitality Group.

The company, led by investor Zopito Verratti Buccella, is seeking to revise plans approved in Orange County for a 127-key Comfort Suites hotel on a 2.5-acre lot at 11942 Ravallo Resort Drive. According to the application, Pitibru Hotels is requesting to update the project’s landscaping and canopy count.

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Kimley-Horn is the project engineer, and Richard Lee Wu is the hotel architect, according to submitted plans.

The site was part of a larger 6.5-acre assemblage, located on both sides of Ravallo Resort Drive, just south of Lake Ruby.

An aerial view of the roughly 6.5-acre assemblage sold by Carter Hospitality Group.
An aerial view of the roughly 6.5-acre assemblage sold by Carter Hospitality Group. (HREC Investment Advisors)

In the last two years, CHG has been steadily selling off portions of that five-parcel land portfolio with fully entitled rights for three hotel developments. The Kissimmee and California-based hospitality company purchased the property, which had been foreclosed on, for about $3.5 million in 2015.

Paul Sexton, senior vice president at HREC Investment Advisors, told GrowthSpotter the deal was part of an old company strategy to collect well-located assets throughout markets like Orlando by purchasing distressed mortgage notes from lenders.

Sexton represented CHG in the sale of its land. The total sell out of the assemblage added up to roughly $7.26 million. The final two parcels that were sold to Pitibru Hotels traded for about $2.34 million in May.

On the two southernmost lots on Ravallo Resort Drive, a joint venture between Savannah-based HOS Management and Iowa-based Hawkeye Hotels is planning a Hyatt House and Tru by Hilton. Each have entitlements to develop approximately 125 rooms.

The hotels are being developed alongside a number of similar projects that have managed to sign on internationally known hospitality brands, including an Aloft hotel and Holiday Inn Express.

Highlighted in blue the property ocated within the Buena Vista Park PD. Lots 2-5 were bought, entitled and sold by Carter Hospitality Group.
Highlighted in blue the property ocated within the Buena Vista Park PD. Lots 2-5 were bought, entitled and sold by Carter Hospitality Group. (HREC Investment Advisors)

Just across from the site, Lake Buena Vista Properties LLC, led by LA-based developer Robert J. Guidry, is building a Marriott dual-branded SpringHill/TownePlace hotel.

Meanwhile, the northern-most lot, which neighbors Pitibru Hotels parcel to the east, has remained vacant with no development plans for years.

The 1.85-acre parcel is owned by entities tied to chef Chris Christini and his family members, who have owned the property since 2005. The chef owns Christini’s Ristorante Italiano in Orlando’s Restaurant Row.

The entire 6.5-acre site land was once poised to fit a 900-key condo-hotel resort to be named the Ravallo Resort & Conference Center, but funding for that project fell through during the economic recession.

CHG is an affiliate of SGI Partners, a California-based commercial real estate investor and developer with experience in multi-family, office, self-storage, hospitality and retail. In 2015, the company paid $4.57 million on a hotel redevelopment opportunity at 5150 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway.

After investing millions into the renovation, the firm reopened and rebranded the hotel as the Red Lion Hotel Orlando Lake Buena Vista South. It also owns the Red Lion Hotel Orlando-Kissimmee at 7300 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy., and the Saratoga Resort Villas near Disney World.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-5427, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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