An Apopka developer has submitted plans for a twin hotel complex called the Mount Dora Hotel Center on U.S. Highway 441 in Mount Dora adjacent to a Hampton Inn.
The plans submitted by Al Jamal of Alysha Enterprises call for two five-floor hotels on vacant land near Limit Avenue and U.S. 441.
The Mount Dora Hotel Center would include an 84-room Holiday Inn Express and an 81-room extended-stay Home2 Suites by Hilton with a drive aisle between the two buildings to allow guest ingress and egress.
Jamal has previously been involved with a Best Western hotel project across from Waterman Hospital on U.S 441 in 2002.
Mitch Collins, P.E., of Orlando, is project engineer and Miles Architecture Group, of Maitland is the architect.
Jamal has owned the property since 1994. He also built the existing Hampton Inn in 1999 and sold it in 2002 for $3.95 million. The site is directly across from the Country Club of Mount Dora and the new medical office building that was built by AdventHealth.
He said the hotels would be ideal for Mount Dora, which he called a “hidden spot” in Lake County.
“People don’t know it, but this is a great weekend place,” Jamal said. “There’s something going on every weekend, 52 weekends a year. The hotels will be a great place for bikers or when grandparents come to visit their grandchildren and they need a place to stay.”
Vershurn Ford, Mount Dora Public Information Officer, said planning and zoning staff provided a series of review comments and are awaiting a response from Alysha. A date to go before the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission will be set once the department has received the revisions.
Jamal said revisions to the project will be sent to the city by December. If the city approves the plan Jamal said construction will begin in March 2022 and the hotels will be open in March 2023.
“We’re working on the revisions right now,” Jamal said. “We want to make sure everything is done right, but it takes time for soil boring, traffic studies, all these things take time.”
He added that although the buildings are laid out according to the requirements of IHG Hotels and Resorts and Home2 Suites, any changes to the plan by the city supersede the hotels’ plans.
Jamal said plans are also in the works to place a bar and fine dining restaurant on the site. He is currently in talks with several restaurants but could not name them due to current negotiations.
Jamal said as the area becomes more popular with visitors, demand for hotel space will increase.
“They’re coming from all over,” he said. “This is going to be a very nice place.”
Ford said the new hotels would benefit the city’s tourism industry.
“Our many visitors seeking what makes Mount Dora ‘Someplace Special’ will now have more options for accommodations,” Ford said. “Because Mount Dora is often characterized as ‘Festival City,’ tourism pushes the demand for hotel accommodations. In addition to our charming bed and breakfasts and a renowned historic hotel, the city is pleased this new hotel center will provide residents and visitors with more options for accommodations.”
Home2 Suites guest suites feature separate sleeping and living areas, with a kitchenette equipped with full-sized appliances. Induction burner cooktops are available upon request at no extra cost. The hotel includes a 24-hour fitness center and a saltwater pool among other amenities.
Holiday Inn Express, is a select-service brand “designed for the smart traveler,” according to its website. The brand standard calls for illuminated signage and a distinctive blue lighting package on the exterior. The blue color scheme is carried throughout the interior common spaces, including a blue feature wall in the lobby and in each guest room. Each guest room includes a built-in niche that houses the under-counter refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and extra supplies in one central location. Headboards are designed with integrated lighting and power supply outlets.