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Osceola gets one bid for hotel sites at Heritage Park and Judge Farms

One of three hotel sites would be connected to the exhibit hall at Osceola Heritage Park, as shown in this conceptual master plan.
One of three hotel sites would be connected to the exhibit hall at Osceola Heritage Park, as shown in this conceptual master plan. (Osceola County)

Orlando-based Mims Construction teamed with Texas-based investment and development company UrbanAmerica to submit the sole LOI on Tuesday for Osceola County's three prospective hotel sites at Osceola Heritage Park, and the future Judge Farms research park.

The LOI was submitted by Mims affiliate Manatee Lost Lagoon Development LLLP -- the same firm that was in the running to build a water park and resort in Manatee County last year.

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Osceola County was looking for two full-service, branded hotels. One would be a convention center hotel with up to 250 rooms and suites attached to the exhibit hall at OHP.

The other would be located across U.S. 192, at the Judge Farms research park, home to the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center now under construction. This hotel is conceived as an upscale conference hotel for executives working with the high tech businesses at the research park. It is expected have 150-200 rooms and suites, full restaurant and bar, meeting rooms, business center and fitness center/pool.

Lost Lagoon spokesman Bill Gridley told GrowthSpotter the partners submitted LOIs for all three sites.

"For us, it made sense to look at the properties as kind of a tandem unit, because they will be serving the same area," Gridley said. "The county has different goals for each of the sites to attract a different category of visitor."

Although more than 50 developers, architects and contractors downloaded the RFLOI for the project, two representatives from Mims were the only ones to show up March 1 for a site visit.

"The different partners each have decades of experience," Gridley said, adding that Mims "has deep roots in Central Florida."  UrbanAmerica previously invested $30 million in renovation of the Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld, before selling it in May 2015 for around $60 million.

"Really what attracted us to this is the Kissimmee corridor is a growing area, and their current studies show there is a need for hotel rooms along this corridor," Gridley said. "And when you add in the Judge Farms property there as a potential research destination and Osceola Heritage Park as an entertainment destination, the site really seems to make sense."

He said the team also includes general contractor Austin Commercial and two architecture firms: SKS Studio for landscape and Carlson Studio. SKS was the landscape architect for such renowned resorts as Atlantis on Paradise Island and Malliouhana Hotel & Spa in the British West Indies.

County Procurement Director Rebecca Jones said the date hasn't been set for the selection committee to review the Lost Lagoon package. The county could decide to enter into negotiations based solely on the LOI submittal, or ask for a formal proposal. Or the committee could reject it and issue a new solicitation.

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

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