The developers of Reunion West have dusted off plans for a new hotel adjacent to the resort’s Encore Club and waterpark.
NDM Hospitality, which manages the club and Rentyl vacation home business at Reunion, Bear’s Den and Margaritaville, filed construction plans this week with both Osceola County and the South Florida Water Management District for the 90-room hotel with a reception hall and an expansion to the club and water park, which were built in 2015 at the cost of $18 million.
The company is led by brothers Daniel, Nick and Matt Falcone — sons of Encore founder Arthur Falcone, who led the development of the Disney-area vacation home resort. This would be its first hotel development.
Dave Schmitt Engineering filed the plans, which call for demolishing the existing tennis and basketball courts at Encore Club on Fairfax Drive just west of Old Lake Wilson Road to accommodate the new building and required parking. The new 6-story building would incorporate the 8,680-square-foot reception hall on the ground floor and 90 hotel rooms on floors 2-6. The tennis, volleyball and basketball courts would be relocated west of the clubhouse, and the developer would add 105 new parking spaces to accommodate the hotel and reception uses.
The plan does not show a separate pool for the hotel, so it’s likely guests would have access to the 10-acre aqua park, which includes four tube slides, a “Rain Fortress” kids area with looping slides and a beach entry pool, a poolside bar and grill, cabanas and sun shades.
This isn’t the first go-round for Falcone and Encore to look at plans for a hotel to complement the vacation home business. In 2015, the developer filed preliminary plans for a 300-room convention-center hotel to be built on 46 acres adjacent to the community’s first water park that spanned both sides of Tradition Boulevard, just east of the Interstate 4 overpass. The plan would have expanded that amenity with a sound stage, a larger pool, multiple water slides, a splash park, sports courts and a kiddie pool.
At the time, company executives saw the hotel as a necessary component of the resort that could attract business travelers and others for short-term stays. That project was scrapped and replaced with Spectrum+, a 296-unit condo/townhouse resort that launched in 2018 and is now in its final development phase. NDM Hospitality manages the rentals and amenities at Spectrum+.
Encore officials and their engineers held a pre-application meeting with SFWMD in 2016 to discuss plans for the hotel at the Fairfax Drive site. Now it appears they are activating those initial plans.
Various owners have floated plans over the years for a major expansion of the AAA 4-Diamond Reunion Grande at Reunion Resort. In 2017, the previous owner and manager were negotiating with Osceola County for a share of the county’s Tourist Development Tax to help finance a 200-room addition and $30 million expansion of the conference center, but the plan never materialized.
Lubert Adler sold the golf resort in 2019 to Atlanta-based Kingwood International Resorts. At the time, the new owner announced plans to make significant investments in Reunion Resort, such as the addition of 1,200 rental accommodations, a new 400-room hotel with significant convention and meeting facilities to enhance the resort’s condominium and private home rentals. Kingwood has never filed any new development plans for the facility upgrades.
Meanwhile, Reunion’s vacation home business has been thriving, with sales regularly topping the $5 million mark.