The longtime owners of a 9.3-acre parcel set between Interstate 4 and ChampionsGate want to develop a hotel there, but must find a way to address concerns by county staff about road access to the site.
Real estate broker Sean Fullerton and Peter Pensa with AVID Group met with Osceola County planners Wednesday to discuss the project. Fullerton said they also plan to meet with the South Florida Water Management District to discuss stormwater and wetland mitigation on the property.
Fullerton's client, Magnolia Resort LLC, has owned the property since 2000. It was previously approved for 118 timeshare units, but that Planned Development has long since expired, he told GrowthSpotter. Current discussions were described as "exploratory."
"His goal is to find out what they can do with the property," said Fullerton in reference to the land owner entity, which is managed by Rajendra K. Patel. "A hotel seemed appropriate. The parcel where they just built the new Panera was previously approved for a Hampton Inn. We just want to replicate that."
The owner might seek a permit for a 150-room hotel with on-site retail and restaurant uses depending on the flag, Prensa said.
But Development Review Director Mahmoud Najda and members of the county's transportation staff raised concerns about adding more traffic to Goodman Road, which is technically a dead-end road and already serves two vacation-townhome communities: The Fountains at ChampionsGate and Tuscana Resort.
"This was approved a long time ago. If it came in today, it wouldn't be approved," Najda said. "We have too much density now on a dead-end road."
Najda agreed that the location is well-suited for a hotel, and the land is properly zoned. "I just wish it had better access," he said.
He suggested the owner work with ChampionsGate developer RIDA Development Corp. to build out the "primitive road" that now links Goodman to Legends Boulevard.
But RIDA vice president Marc Reicher told GrowthSpotter there isn't enough right-of-way on that strip to build a road that would meet county standards.
"People drive on it now," Reicher said. "They've been driving on it for 50 years."
The additional connectivity would also be required if the other large landowner on Goodman (between Panera and the Magnolia site) comes in to develop his 17 acres.
RIDA sold that parcel to Valencia Land Company LLC in 2005, an investment vehicle of Westerville, Ohio-based real estate investor Robert W. McLaughlin. Reicher said it's entitled for residential development, but there are no active plans to build anything there in the near future.
The other option would be to widen Goodman Road to three lanes, said Senior Transportation Planner Mary Moscowitz, but the developer would have to pay the full amount for the improvement and could not apply for mobility fee credits.
"That's really going to be the linchpin for the whole thing -- the traffic," Fullerton said.