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Omni hotel renovations planned, but expansion may be put on hold

The Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate will proceed with plans to to renovate all 720 guestrooms and 49-villas over the summer.
The Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate will proceed with plans to to renovate all 720 guestrooms and 49-villas over the summer. (Orlando Sentinel)

The Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate has big plans for 2020, including a property-wide renovation and new 167-room tower, all while the hotel industry faces crippling losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

General Manager Robert Stanfield told GrowthSpotter the hotel still plans to move forward with the next phase of renovations. Starting in June, the hotel will launch a floor-to-ceiling refresh of all 720 guest rooms in the main hotel with new flooring, paint, furnishings, artwork, linens, window treatments and bathroom restoration.

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In addition, 49 two- and three-bedroom villas will receive new light fixtures, chandeliers, furniture, larger TV’s and interior design. All of the renovations are scheduled for completion in early fall 2020.

Insight on the hotel and conference center expansion and how it will drive occupancy and rates at the resort.

The renovations actually kicked off in December and January. The hotel has already replaced the carpets throughout the common areas and meeting rooms. The lobby also was updated with new furnishings, draperies, refinished woodwork bar and a new chandelier. Work has also been completed at David’s Club, a steakhouse known for its bourbon collection. The restaurant’s wood floors were refinished and the carpet, wall coverings, leather seating and tables were all replaced.

Houston-based RIDA Development, the master developer of ChampionsGate, filed Site Development Plans last week with Osceola County and the South Florida Water Management District for the expansion. The plans call for a new 6-story tower with 167 guest rooms, along with a reduction of five existing guest rooms, for a net gain of 162 rooms.

The planned expansion would increase the room count at one of Osceola County’s two AAA 4-diamond properties to 1,024. RIDA officials were not immediately available to comment on the timetable for the project.

The new 6-story addition to the Omni Orlando would be built at the northwest corner of the hotel.
The new 6-story addition to the Omni Orlando would be built at the northwest corner of the hotel. (Hanson Walter and Associates)

The project would be the Omni’s largest capital expenditure since 2017, when the hotel completed a $40 million expansion that included additional conference and meeting space, a new villa building that added 93 guest rooms and suites, and a host of new amenities, including a wave pool and miniature golf course.

The Omni may be an exception, as the hotel industry faces an abrupt and unprecedented drop in demand that is gaining pace and getting progressively deeper and more severe week by week. The American Hotel & Lodging Association is projecting that 44% of hotel workers have lost or will lose their jobs in the coming weeks. In Florida, that could translate to 88,631 affected workers.

This project will be the largest expansion in the 17-year history of Gaylord Palms.

Robin Webb, founding broker at Commercial America Properties, said he expects most hotel companies to put the brakes on capital expenditures in 2020. “It’s logical to believe that renovations will probably be put on hold until we see how the industry recovers,” he said. “You have no pipeline for future business other than personal reservations, and those are really unknown because of travel restrictions. Hopefully this is short-lived and you’ll see things ramp up again in a couple of months.”

Construction is well underway on the $158 million expansion at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, Osceola County’s only other 4-diamond hotel. The expansion, which started in June 2019, will add 302 guest rooms, bringing the total room inventory to 1,718. It also includes new meeting space and parking structures.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407)420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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