A rendering of what the UCF indepedent boutique hotel may look like.
A rendering of what the UCF indepedent boutique hotel may look like. (Baker Barrios)

KUD International, the developer approved to lease 5.44 acres near University of Central Florida's entrance and build a 135-key hotel, has filed stormwater management plans and expects to break ground by August, a lead executive for the company told GrowthSpotter.

UCF and Harris Civil Engineers recently filed on KUD's behalf a permit request with the St. John's River Water Management District to shift 3.54 acres of off-site water flow to the campus' master stormwater basin, to enable construction of the proposed hotel and convention center.

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"We are currently finalizing the design, and plan to be underway this summer," said Norman Poulin, project manager in Orlando for KUD.

The development, projected last Fall as a $35 million investment, will be operated as a four-star independent boutique hotel, located west of the intersection of University Boulevard and Gemini Boulevard West.

Outlined in yellow is the 5.4 acres planned for the hotel and convention center, fronting N. Alafaya Trail on the western edge of UCF campus.
Outlined in yellow is the 5.4 acres planned for the hotel and convention center, fronting N. Alafaya Trail on the western edge of UCF campus. (Harris Civil Engineers)

KUD's deadline to build and open the hotel couldn't be confirmed on Monday by a university spokesman, but it has a strong track record with UCF. The developer previously developed the Knight's Plaza projects at UCF, including CFE Arena and The Towers student housing.

"We know they are working diligently to move the project forward," said spokesman Mark Schlueb. "We know their work and trust their ability to finish this project in a timely manner."

KUD International is a subsidiary of Kajima Corporation, a multinational construction, engineering and development firm.

KUD is co-managing partner of the hotel ownership entity, along with Brooksville Development Corp. of Orlando. Atlantic American Partners out of Tampa is a limited partner equity investor, leveraging the EB-5 Investor Visa Program.

KUD's sister company Batson-Cook Construction will serve as general contractor on the project, Baker Barrios is the architect, and Charlestowne Hotels will manager the property.

In addition to 135 rooms, the hotel will include a 5,000-square-foot ballroom, 2,000 square feet of meeting space, a 2,500-square-foot restaurant, a 500-square-foot faculty lounge, swimming pool and fitness center.

The Florida Board of Governors approved the proposal last November, agreeing with UCF that the parcel wouldn't command another academic use because it's not adjacent to other university buildings. UCF will receive an estimated $35 million from KUD over 60 years through a land lease.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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