Need a sign that Orlando’s tourism economy is starting to get back on track? Look no further than Margaritaville Resort in Kissimmee, where the resort’s master developer has confirmed plans to expand the 186-room hotel that opened in 2019.
Peter Brown, Central Florida asset manager for Encore Capital Management, told GrowthSpotter the master developer intends to build a 75-room addition to the hotel’s east wing.
“We are excited about that,” Brown said. “With COVID winding down, our occupancy has just rebounded. It’s unbelievable, to be honest. We ran at 94% occupancy in April.”
Brown said the five-story addition would be constructed directly across from the existing building, closing in what is now an exterior corridor. The new rooms will be designed to blend in with the existing rooms.
“The way the hotel is built, it’s a single-loaded corridor, so there’s an opportunity to convert it to an interior corridor hotel,” he said.
Encore filed a Site Development Plan with Osceola County last week for the project. Brown said the hotel, which was designed with an oversized lobby and multiple restaurants, has more than enough common areas and amenities to accommodate the additional guests.
Encore expects to start construction in September and should wrap it up within 10 months “with very little impact to room availability.”
Encore also teamed up with Hilton to debut the company’s first Embassy Suites-branded condo-hotel at Sunset Walk, next door to Margaritaville hotel. The developer recently launched sales for the 300-unit condo-hotel, which is scheduled to open early next summer.
Construction also is underway at Sunset Walk on the first of two thrill rides to be added to the entertainment and shopping district. The firm signed Old Town Slingshot and Vomotron as a tenant in 2019, but construction was delayed because of the pandemic.
The Slingshot is a launch ride that propels passengers nearly 500 feet in the air at speeds in the region of 100 miles per hour. Brown said the ride should be open by late summer.
Meanwhile, future phases of the resort include vacation villas (attached two-, three- and four-bedroom short-term rental units), timeshares and a new 352-unit apartment complex. Encore has nearly sold out of phase one of the villas, according to its website.
Encore also recently sold the Offices at Sunset Walk at 8011 Fins Up Cir. to a New Orleans-based investor earlier this month for $4.1 million. Built in 2018, the 19,603-square-foot building was 100% leased at the time of the sale. John Dowd and Theresa Johnson of The Dowd Companies represented both the buyer and seller in the transaction.