Miami developer gets loan for dual-hotel project on South I-Drive, seeks more assets

Miami-based Riviera Point Development Group has secured a construction loan to begin building its dual-brand hotel project on S. International Drive, and is looking for more hotel acquisition opportunities to boost its portfolio quickly.

The developer paid $3.3 million in October 2016 to enter Orlando's tourism corridor, buying 3.32 undeveloped acres in the 11500 block of I-Drive, a site less than three miles from SeaWorld.

It then filed a two-phase Development Plan in January 2017, with the first hotel to be a 101-key La Quinta Inn & Suites with its new Del Sol design prototype. This past August,TRYP byWyndham was signed as flag for the 98-key Phase 2 hotel. 

Last Friday, Riviera Point closed a $10.7 million loan for the project's first phase with Miami-based Apollo Bank. Apollo has an option to increase the loan amount by another $4 million to $5 million for Phase 2 based on some qualifying factors, president and CEO Rodrigo Azpurua told GrowthSpotter.

Winter Park Construction is general contractor on the project, and began mass grading in early March and installing drainage and infrastructure for the entire site.

Vertical construction on the La Quinta hotel is projected to start in mid-June, with completion anticipated for Second Quarter 2019, Azpurua said.

Groundbreaking on the second hotel should follow in this year's third quarter, with a construction finish pegged for the first half of 2020.

Both phases of construction are now estimated to total $32 million. The developer claims to have raised $6 million in private equity mainly from Latin America, and has raised $9 million of a planned $12 million through the EB-5 investor visa program, Azpurua said. That has been coordinated by regional center Florida EB-5 Investments LLC of Altamonte Springs. 

Riviera Point is building its first hotel near Miami International Airport with the Radisson RED flag, where it has hired Radisson as property manager. 

The developer will hire third-party property managers for the two Orlando hotels, and is negotiating with finalists now in anticipation of a decision late summer, Azpurua said. 

Looking forward, Riviera Point is actively pursuing more hotel investment opportunities across Florida, as it works toward a goal of having 1,500 keys in its portfolio by 2021. 

That includes property acquisitions or vacant land for new development. The company currently has a La Quinta in Sebring under contract and is conducting market studies on Lakeland, Azpurua said. 

The two new Orlando hotels will be Riviera Point's fifth development in Florida with a substantial EB-5 investment. 

The company previously developed a 132,000-square-foot office campus in Lake Mary from 2003 through 2005, on the southwest corner of Interstate 4 and Lake Mary Boulevard.

Florida Engineering Group has been civil engineer on Riviera Point's Orlando hotels, and L2 Studios, Inc. the architect. 

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