Hotels & Hospitality Development News in Central Florida

Colombian developer planning 17-story condo hotel near Universal

The conceptual design calls for 11 stories of apartments over a 6-story parking garage. The amenities and leasing office would be in a separate 4-story building at the front of the property.

Colombian developer Zicav Group is eyeing one of the last vacant lots near Universal Studios for a 17-story tower.

Zicav Group CEO Carlos Silva held a pre-application meeting with Orlando planning staff in July and submitted conceptual plans for the project called GZ Tower Orlando slated for 5600 Major Blvd. Several members of Orlando-based construction company SkyBuilders USA and engineer Quang Lam also attended the meeting. SkyBuilders has worked on several high-profile projects in the tourism corridor, including TopGolf and Mango’s Tropical Cafe.


Maria Luisa Lord, a Colombia-born attorney and co-founder of Lord & Lord Consulting, told GrowthSpotter she helped bring all the parties together for the project during the firm’s Annual Florida Business Convention last year. Lord specializes in assisting Latin American companies to enter the U.S. market, and she established a Florida-based LLC for Zicav Group in 2021.

“He builds beautiful apartments and commercial buildings in Barranquilla,” she said. “They are mini-condos with luxury finishes, and he came looking for an opportunity to develop something here.”

The rear perspective offers a view of the rooftop terrace, which has shade structures.

The developer currently operates GZ Tower in Colombia, which leases furnished apartments and studios for days, weeks or months at a time. Lord said he plans to open a similar tower here in Orlando. The 1.74-acre lot known as the Sabeti parcel is surrounded by hotels, such as Residence Inn by Marriott, Best Western Universal, Extended Stay America and Holiday Inn Express.

“We found the land and pulled it all together,” Lord said, noting that SkyBuilders is also a minority-owned business led by Colombian nationals. “The idea of the project is to bring economic development to Central Florida and to give opportunities to investors overseas to invest in America and have wealth in this country. They also can bring some different designs from what we are used to here in the Orlando area — the tower is beautiful.”

The land has AC-3 zoning, which allows for up to 200 residential units per acre. It was previously approved for a 147-room condo hotel, but the permits have expired. It has been owned by the same family for 22 years. Lord said the development team is finalizing its plan and readying to submit it to the city.

The outdoor amenities include a large swimming pool with shade cabanas, a Turkish sauna and tiki bar.

The pie-shaped parcel has just 110 feet of frontage on Major Boulevard, so the conceptual plan shows the 17-story tower at the back of the property, with 11 levels of residential use over a 6-story parking garage. Each residential floor would have 11 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, totaling 111 units.

The ground level plan shows a lobby and reception area, management office, co-working space and security room. A separate 4-story amenity building at the front of the property would house the residents’ lounge/social area, fitness center and leasing office.

The outdoor amenities are situated in the middle of the property, between the two buildings and flanked by 54 surface parking spaces. The plan shows a large swimming pool and deck with a fountain, shade cabanas, a playground, kiosks, a Turkish sauna and a tiki bar.

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