Miami-based Riviera Point Development Group is scouting Greater Orlando for new hotel development sites now that construction is underway on its first two along S. International Drive, drawn to build more to keep pace with a 2021 portfolio goal.
Located at 11551 I-Drive less than three miles from SeaWorld, construction began in March on the project's first hotel pad, a 101-key La Quinta Inn & Suites with its new Del Sol design prototype.
A 14-month schedule led by Winter Park Construction should deliver that hotel in the second quarter of 2019, and vertical construction should start in this year's Q4 on a neighboring 98-keyTRYP byWyndham.
Riviera held a formal groundbreaking ceremony late Wednesday afternoon. The event was delayed until Wyndham completed its acquisition of La Quinta two weeks ago.
"They're proud that this is the only project where both brands are represented," president and CEO Rodrigo Azpurua told GrowthSpotter.
He spent much of the morning visiting properties in two key local submarkets the company favors for its next hotel development: the I-Drive corridor and Altamonte Springs.
"The tourism corridor is still very attractive to us with the vision of the I-Drive District, and the other area of interest is Altamonte Springs," Azpurua said. "There's a strong office market there that will (support) hotels, and the city has put a lot of money in the past 10 years into public areas like parks."
Riviera Point is negotiating directly with land owners and their brokers, foregoing a buyer's rep as of now. It's seeking sites of 2-4 acres with hotel and retail entitlements, because its focus on limited service flags often pairs well with a neighboring chain restaurant, Azpurua said.
The company has set a goal of reaching 1,500 hotel rooms in its portfolio by 2021. Current acquisitions and development in Florida put it on track for about one third of that goal, so Riviera Point must acquire land for at least another 250 units this year to keep pace, he said.
Both phases of I-Drive construction are estimated to total $32 million, with a $10.7 million loan for the first hotel sourced from Miami-based Apollo Bank, GrowthSpotter reported in April.
The developer claims to have raised $6 million in private equity mainly from Latin America, and is near a $12 million goal through the EB-5 investor visa program, Azpurua said. That has been coordinated by regional center Florida EB-5 Investments LLC of Altamonte Springs.
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.
EB-5 foreign investment funds will continue to be raised by the company for its future projects, but will become a smaller portion of its capital stack, Azpurua said.