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Hotels & Hospitality Development News in Central Florida

Developer eyes W192 Ramada Inn for next conversion

The hotel property consists of an 8-story tower connected to the lobby, and several two-story exterior corridor hotels surrounding two pool courtyards.

A California real estate agent is eyeing the Ramada by Wyndham Kissimmee Gateway on the W192 tourism corridor for another residential conversion.

Steven Glaude, acquisitions manager for Servio Capital, had a pre-application meeting in late December with Osceola County’s Development Review Committee to discuss the project. He told them the developer is looking to do a one-to-one room-to-apartment conversion with an emphasis on workforce housing.

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“I‘m a syndicator,” Glaude said. “I basically focus on identifying opportunities that will benefit not only our investors but the city as well. We typically look at hotels that are a little more on the aged side, and this is a good opportunity to kind of clean up the area and bring some very nice efficiency studios to the marketplace.”

The hotel has about 500 rooms and sits on nearly 9 acres just east of Old Lake Wilson Road. It’s sandwiched between the Super Walmart and Maingate Village, a former Red Lion hotel that was converted into apartments by T2 Capital Management. The 331,353-square-foot Ramada was built in 1973 and 1974 and consists of an eight-story tower attached to the main lobby and several two-story, exterior corridor motel buildings situated around two courtyards, each with a pool. The hotel has a sports bar and separate restaurant off the lobby area, as well as a business center, gift shop and arcade.

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The Ramada Inn (red) on U.S. 192 is close to three other motels that were converted into workforce housing.

“This would be kind of a Class B+ end product. So we’re looking at relatively higher-end finishes,” Glaude said. “We would like to do some type of mixed-use elements. So there’s talks about adding potentially some self-storage on maybe an anchor tenant like Starbucks, or in a similar you know, coffee shop to basically you know, add some additional amenity space for the tenants.”

DRC Chairman Jose Gomez said the first step would be to apply for rezoning to Commercial Tourist, which takes about 90 days. “We don’t anticipate any issues with the rezoning because it’s consistent with the land use,” he said. “It’s consistent with everything around it, so that should be pretty straightforward.” While the CT allows multifamily residential, it prohibits self-storage.

Glaude later clarified that the storage units would only be available to residents. “We do that with all our projects,” he said. “When you’re doing studio units, additional storage is premium.” He also plans to convert some of the meeting space into a fitness center and install laundry centers.

Osceola County’s ordinance regulating motel conversions requires that 75% of the front facade of the building be non-residential. Senior Development Coordinator Jane Adams said if the team opens a cafe on the ground floor of the building, that would likely satisfy the code requirement. She also explained the county’s utility and recreation requirements for conversion projects.

Gomez also said the Site Development Plan would need to show any improvements being made to the property to comply with the code, including improving the pedestrian access, landscaping and parking. The parking ratio “normally trips people up a little bit” because it goes from a 1:1 ratio for hotels to 1:1.5 for studio apartments.

Gomez said Glaude could qualify for a parking reduction if he submits a parking study, installs features such as bike racks and ride-share pick-up areas. “Some have put in a shuttle service to employment centers, like theme parks,” he added.

Adams added that if the developer creates pedestrian or vehicular access from the property to the neighboring Walmart, that also could help qualify for the parking reduction.

“That’s a great idea,” he said. “I love it. It’s going to look fantastic. I’m excited.”

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Glaude said his team just wrapped up a project in the Baymeadows area of Jacksonville that involved the conversion of three motels with a combined 341 keys. The buyer on that deal was Elevate Commercial Investment Group, a Dallas, Texas firm with over $500 million in assets under management. “I’ll probably bring them in on this one, too,” he said.

He told GrowthSpotter the pre-app meeting gave him a better idea of costs and impact fees, which led him to revise his purchase offer for the property. “I still feel like it’s a generous offer,” he said. “I have a feeling this is going to come to fruition.”

Developers have completed several hotel/motel conversions within a block of the Ramada. There’s Maingate Village next door, and across U.S. 192, the former Hawthorne Suites on Reedy Creek Boulevard was converted into Avia Apartment Homes in 2020.

The renovation work to convert the former Toscana Suites, shown here, into apartment units is expected to cost $10.5 million.

The developer who bought the former Toscana Suites hotel at 2950 Reedy Creek Blvd. applied for building permits last September to begin the conversion process for that property into 47 studios, 65 apartments and 10 loft residences.

The same development partners who completed Maingate Village also purchased the former Claremont Inn and Rodeway Inn across from Celebration with plans to convert both into condo apartments.

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


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