Darren Pellegrin, a former Tavistock Development Company manager who now runs his own real estate company, is behind a newly proposed $80 million hotel project near SeaWorld Orlando.
Pellegrin told GrowthSpotter he co-founded Boss Development and Construction about 18 months ago with a business partner in his hometown, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He said the company aspires to develop retail, hotel and multifamily properties across the country.
One of its first projects is slated to break ground soon in the Houston market, he said. “We have some others in the works too.”
In Central Florida, the firm is seeking to develop a new hotel with 378 rooms and a 6,000-square-foot restaurant pad across the Dolphin’s Plaza shopping center along International Drive.
The subject property spans about 7.4 acres., and is currently owned by an entity led by property investors Gary and George Houghton in Orlando.
It sits within the I-Drive District overlay area, meaning the developer must adhere to specific standards that were adopted in 2017 as a means to spur more urbanized and pedestrian-friendly developments.
The developer and engineering consultant Doug Kelly, with GAI Consultants, are currently in the midst of working with Orange County and its planning manager Alberto Vargas to try to amend the current standing Development Plan approved in 2014.
Those entitlements call for up to 60,000 square feet of retail uses, and a maximum of 500 hotel rooms or 250 timeshare rooms. The building could be as tall as 125 feet, which is about 11 stories.
According to the recently submitted preliminary review item application, Pellegrin only intends to build up to eight stories high. He told GrowthSpotter they’re currently in negotiations with large hotel management companies to brand the hotel. The stand-alone retail pad will front International Drive and be put up for sale.
“We want the hotel to have an extensive outdoor area with a kiddie pool and large family pool area,” he said.
Prior to working at Boss Development he was a senior development manager at Tavistock for more than two years. Before that, Pellegrin helped develop outdoor shopping centers and attractions in Mississippi and Tennessee, including the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum.
When he was with Tavistock he helped plan the SpringHill Suites now under construction in Lake Nona.
“I love it over here,” he said. “It’s a great town, with great growth and great demand. I hope I can find a few other properties to work on.”
Nearby the property along International Drive, Park Square Homes is planning a large short-term rental community on the former Marriott Grande Pines golf course, just south of SeaWorld.
Plans call for 178 townhomes and 245 detached vacation homes. The project will consists of different sized resort homes that range from a three-bedroom townhouse to a 12-bedroom vacation home.
In addition to Sea Word, other tourist attractions in the area include the Orange County Convention Center and entertainment complexes like Topgolf and Andretti Karting.