New York-based investment firm the Blackstone Group is preparing to spend more than $6.6 million at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes this year on interior renovation work to its lobby, lobby bar and lounge, terrace area and more.
Located at 4012 Central Florida Parkway, the 14-story, 582-key hotel is about to celebrate its 14th anniversary. It's part of the 352-acre Grande Lakes Resort that includes the J.W. Marriott hotel, both of which a Blackstone affiliate bought for $1.3 billion in 2015.
A commercial permit request filed Monday with Orange County detailed the planned renovations to the lobby, lounge and terrace. The filing remains under review by multiple departments.
"The hotel's lobby and lobby lounge have a very classic feel, but as we've worked on the guest rooms, meeting space and golf club, we've moved to a more contemporary design in some areas," general manager Jon McGavin told GrowthSpotter. "That lobby lounge is the last area to be touched, and we're going to do some really cool things. There will be a statement bar, we'll move the bar to the center of the lobby, and we'll be building a marketplace with a high-end gourmet selection of food."
At the terrace and patio area of the lobby lounge, a new glass, edge-to-edge partition folding NanaWall will be installed, allowing the indoor and outdoor spaces to merge under good weather.
Behind the front desk and concierge desk, new design will give the illusion of gas lanterns, said McGavin, contributing to an effort to "bring the outside in."
National architecture firm LEO A DALY has been hired by Blackstone to design the hotel's renovation.
The firm's hospitality division has redesigned the interiors of upscale full-service hotels around the world, and previously redesigned the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek's 15,000-square-foot lobby, with that project introducing an open floor plan and 1960s Florida Retro-design.
The hotel management's goal is to start renovation work in July or August pending permit approvals, McGavin said. A general contractor finalist has been selected by Blackstone, he added, but declined to confirm the name.
HKD is supplying the order for more than a hundred new pieces of kitchen equipment. Based on a project spec book provided to the county, the new equipment includes a prominant Perlick refrigerated bar back cabinet in the lobby, Perlick concessionaire draft beer dispensers, and a Berkel prosciutto slicer, among other appliances.
The hotel owner also filed a permit request on April 11 to install a "Sun Square" shade canopy outside of the Ritz Carlton's swimming pool-area Bleu Restaurant, with ShadeFla out of Miami the contractor. The project was valued at $40,000.
"The idea there is to add more shade for our guests," McGavin said. "Whereas before we used individual umbrellas for tables, now we'll have a larger shade structure."
In February, Blackstone filed notices of commencement with Tarpon Springs-based Cortes Construction to carry out exterior facade repairs and painting on the neighboring JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels, work bonded at more than $9.6 million.
The Ritz-Carlton has more than 120,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, a 40,00-square-foot spa with 40 treatment rooms, three pools, and access to an 18-hole Greg Norman-signature golf course that is shared with the JW Marriott.
The hotel investment by Blackstone follows other recent asset acquisitions in this market by the world's largest private equity firm. The company paid a combined $175.25 million in a national portfolio deal last Thursday for two large multifamly properties in Orlando, and in late March paid $9.43 million for a senior living facility in Ocoee.