UPDATED: AUGUST 9, 2016 4:25 PM — New York-based United Capital Corp. led tours for prospective general contractors on Tuesday of the closed Downtown Orlando hotel it plans to renovate and reopen as a full-service Marriott.
The company hopes to start full renovation by late September, open the hotel in Second Quarter 2017, and may seek separate GCs to lead work on the public space, guest rooms and a new three-story parking garage, the company's chairman and CEO told GrowthSpotter.
Located at 400 W. Livingston St., the 2.13-acre property lies west of Interstate 4, and southwest of the intersection with N. Hughey Avenue.
An affiliate of United Capital won the shuttered 290-room hotel at auction in August 2015 with a bid of $12.625 million, a sale coordinated by court-appointed HREC Investment Advisors.
The property was previously being renovated as a Sheraton by scandal-plagued businessman Nikesh A. Patel, who was arrested on charges of loan fraud in August 2014, the Orlando Sentinel previously reported.
Light work has started on the hotel's interior, but full-scale renovation should start in late September, said Attilio F. Petrocelli, chairman and CEO of United Capital.
Bernard Molka, construction director for the company, led potential GCs on a tour of the property on Tuesday.
Bids for the GC positions should be finalized by end of August, with one or more firms selected in September and full-scale renovation to start by October. The hotel will have up to 298 rooms when it opens in April 2017 or shortly after, Petrocelli said.
Three contracts will be bid out for GC applicants for the hotel's public space, guest rooms and new garage, said Stephen Kronick, vice president.
Separating the work helps ensure any delays in one area won't slow down construction across the property, said Kronick, nothing that one GC could still win multiple contracts.
Petrocelli declined to estimate total investment cost in the hotel, in part because United Capital will now be adding a new parking garage to the mix.
United Capital has filed a Master Plan request with the City of Orlando to build a three-story, 123-space parking garage (valet only), as part of its redevelopment of the hotel.
Historically, parking for the hotel was accommodated on a leased 1.44-acre surface parking lot from the city, located directly east of the property. The city declined to make that lot available again, leaving United Capital no choice but to build a parking garage, Petrocelli said.
The proposed garage would be based on the southern portion of the property, directly behind the hotel's pool deck. The facility is planned as a precast/concrete composite building with finishes to match the hotel.
The application should be heard by the Municipal Planning Board on Sept. 20. Renovation of the hotel may be delayed if challenges arise over the parking garage plan, said Petrocelli, though that isn't expected after working closely with city planners. L2 Studios is the architect, and applicant for the garage plans.
The closed Sheraton hotel was United Capital's first acquisition in the Greater Orlando market. It later bought a local Burger King in March for $1 million, at 2607 N. Hiawassee Road.
"We want to get out feet wet first (with the downtown hotel), then probably in 2018 we'll try to buy more assets in the market," Petrocelli said. "UCF and the whole Creative Village plan really attracted us, and we like everything the city is doing downtown with its revamp of the Citrus Bowl and the new soccer stadium."
After winning the hotel at auction, United Capital's initial talks for a flag with Marriott International Inc. had the multinational favoring lifestyle brand Renaissance Hotels for the property, Petrocelli said.
"They were well down the path with that, but we came back and said much of the public doesn't necessarily know Renaissance, but they do know (signature brand) Marriott Hotels," he added.
United Capital is a diversified real estate investment and management company, of which Petrocelli and his wife Beverly own a majority stake.
The company manages its own hotel properties through affiliate AFP Hospitality Management, and has hired Michael Hinks as general manager for the Orlando property, Petrocelli said.
United Capital has seven active full-service hotel properties that total more than 2,000 rooms, about 150,000 square feet of meeting space, and a convention center with approximately 170,000 square feet of exhibit and meeting space, according to its website.
This would be the company's first property with a Marriott family flag. It's hotels across Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York carry the Hilton, Doubletree and Radisson flags.
United Capital's lone active property in Florida is currently the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Miami Airport Convention Center.