Plans for two new hotels near Sanford that were announced 20 months ago are back on track, according to one of the developers.
Local hotelier Jayesh Patel said he is nearing approval from Seminole County to build a 120-room Holiday Inn Express and an 86-room Home2 Suites by Hilton at 4750 West S.R. 46, near an Interstate 4 on-ramp. The property is the site of the former Royal Inn & Suites.
"We're talking about hopefully January, February or March we should be breaking ground if everything works out," Patel told GrowthSpotter on Thursday.
The project's final Development Plan is under review, according to the county Planning and Development Division. The next required step of approval will be the final plat.
Patel also has applied for permits from the St. Johns River Water Management District to build stormwater drainage and retention on the site.
Plans for the hotels were first reported here in April 2016. At the time, Patel and partner Bharat Desai had the 6.7-acre site under contract. They closed on the property in July 2016, paying just over $2.6 million to Florida Community Bank, which had taken the land in 2015 through foreclosure.
County records show Patel and Desai's company, FL NAV Investors LLC, also purchased an adjoining, half-acre parcel with a small restaurant for $500,000 in October 2016.
But the project stalled after those acquisitions. Patel said the delay was due to problems related to size of the hotels and getting permission from the county to approve those changes.
"The problem was that before, the Royal Inn was one level," Patel said. "We're going five stories high. Both hotels will be five stories."
The two new hotels will make five that Patel owns, following a Ramada Inn in Altamonte Springs, Best Western in Tavares and a Hampton Inn in Charlotte.
Patel said his partnership will invest between $25 million and $26 million in developing the property. The hotels will be built in stages with construction on the Holiday Inn Express coming first. When that building is half-finished, groundbreaking will start for the Home2 Suites. Each hotel should be finished a year after its groundbreaking, he said.
Patel's original plans included having a Starbucks on his property, but he said it will locate on a nearby parcel now occupied by a service station. To meet county requirements for adequate parking, Patel said he had to nix plans for restaurants on the property.