A three-year effort to bring a national hotel flag to Belle Isle is finally ready to bear fruit thanks to an agreement between the city and the developer.
Orlando hotelier JD Eligeti has filed construction plans with the city and St. Johns River Water Management District for the 110-room Wyndham Garden hotel at 2635 McCoy Rd. Eligeti purchased the nearly 10-acre site in 2016 for $1.2 million and sought approvals from the city for a hotel on the 5+ acres that were zoned for commercial use.
“It started out as, they wanted to put a 5-story hotel there a few years ago and our Planning & Zoning board denied it,” City Manager Bob Francis explained. “Then they wanted wanted to put a park-n-fly and city denied that.”
Francis said the city wanted a 3-story height limit, but Eligeti said he couldn’t get a “good flag” with only three stories. Wyndham Garden is an upper midscale, select-service hotel with streamlined food and beverage and flexible meeting space.
“So we sat down and talked about it,” Francis said. “Early on that lot was split zoned, and he had opportunity to put some single family homes on back of that property. The city negotiated with the owner of the property and came up with a compromise that would allow him to get the four stories If he donated the rest of the land to the city.”
Eligeti agreed, and the land transacted on Oct. 3, providing the residents north of the project a 150-foot natural buffer from the hotel. Eligeti also must build a solid 8-foot high wall to separate the commercial property from the city-owned land.
An affiliate of Kansas-based hotel company Woodspring Hotels paid $1.225 million on Thursday for 2.79 acres in Belle Isle near Orlando International Airport, where it plans to break ground within weeks on a 109-key extended stay hotel.
“I would say this was a great compromise,” Francis said. “We have a need for hotel rooms with the way that Orlando is growing, and being right off the Beachline (Expressway) – it’s a great location.”
Now he’s waiting for final approvals for the building plans so he can start construction. Francis said the city set a strict height limitation of 48 feet for the building. Eligeti’s architect asked for an additional four feet for a parapet, but was denied.