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A photo of the water park at the Coco Key Hotel and Water Resort at 7400 International Drive
A photo of the water park at the Coco Key Hotel and Water Resort at 7400 International Drive (InSite Group)

A Miami-based company led by Francisco Martinez-Celeiro, a former Spaghetti Western star turned property investor, just paid $21 million to acquire the Coco Key Hotel and Water Resort on I-Drive.

The 391-key hotel and resort at 7400 International Dr. sold for a little more than $53,700 per room. According to a deed recently recorded in Orange County, Martinez-Celeiro bought the property through an entity called Toy 13 Inc.

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The former thespian went by George Martin in the 70′s during his acting career. Today, he’s leaning more into the real estate industry. Within the last couple of years, Martinez-Celeiro has invested in markets such as Miami’s Brickell neighborhood and more recently Orlando’s MetroWest suburb.

The sellers paid $3.9 million for the property in 2017, meaning in over two years the property has more than tripled in value.

In his most recent acquisition, Fort Lauderdale-based InSite Group was the seller. According to the boutique real estate investment and development company’s website, the deal was an off-market transaction that took place after InSite completed some property improvements.

Executives at the company declined to comment on the story.

InSite bought the Coco Key Hotel and Water Resort in 2015 for $15.1 million.

It features 5,000 square feet of function space, a 54,000-square-foot water park and a 6,500-square-foot arcade. Residents staying at the resort have access to three on-site food and beverage outlets, a Tiki bar and scheduled shuttle services that take guests to nearby amusement parks.

In 2010, former owner CNL Financial Group reopened the Coco Key Hotel & Water Resort after completing a roughly $40 million renovation. It was originally built in 1970.

The property sits between the Orange County’s Convention Center and Universal Orlando.

A number of entertainment complexes like Topgolf and Andretti Karting have also recently opened not far away. Neighboring the property to its north are I-Drive’s Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition and live-action attraction Zombie Outbreak. To its south is Unicorp National Developments’ 20-acre ICON Park.

In the world's most visited city, the economy is booming and tourism numbers are off the charts. So why aren't hotels in Orlando selling?

Nearby, Wallack Holdings LLC is planning a $500 million Skyplex entertainment complex, that’s set to feature the world’s tallest rollercoaster.

The most recent deal takes place at time when Central Florida is experiencing a decline in hotel sales.

Players in the hospitality real estate industry told GrowthSpotter there’s a shortage of hotel properties on the market, due in part to institutional investors holding onto assets longer and choosing to instead refinance.

Drivers such as Orlando International Airport’s expansion, the $600 million Orange County Convention Center renovation and expansion and the new Universal theme park are all said to promote more hotel development and keep occupancy strong.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-5427, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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