"We're 100 percent in support of Alberto Vargas and the county's efforts with this long-range vision plan, and have been thrilled with the new ideas Vargas is bringing to the county," said Garritt Toohey, former vice president of Rosen Hotels who returned as a consultant last year to guide the Shingle Creek expansion plans.
As GrowthSpotter first reported on Nov. 10, the Orlando-based hotel company has plans for a 16-story tower dubbed "The Reserve" with 320 condo units (and up to 640 keys via lockout doors), a new parking garage, spa building pool and bar area, and 250,380 square feet of additional convention space.
New plans filed with the county show hotelier Harris Rosen plans a new resort tower, spa building, convention center expansion, parking garage and on-site operations building for his company at the Shingle Creek Resort property.
While distance is hard to discern from engineering maps provided to the county, the tower and spa building will have enough of a setback off Universal Boulevard to allow frontage development in the future that fits the county's vision of a walkable urban streetscape, Toohey said.
"We're leaving that frontage open because we want to cooperate with that vision for Universal Boulevard, once it goes into effect and can be acted on by (developers)," he said. "I could even see a future in which we allow that property to be a test area by the county and a developer for something new" that's built in line with I-Drive Vision Plan standards.
Toohey clarified Thursday that the 16-story Reserve tower will be a condo property, because that is what the company has entitlements for on the property. But Rosen Hotels will own all 320 condo units, renting them out as a normal resort condo.
"You have a few condo properties in Orlando that operate this way, the Westin (Orlando Universal Boulevard) is one example," Toohey said. "It allows us to keep our options open for the property," in terms of future sale of condo units.
A seven-subdistrict future for the tourism corridor faces initial review by County Commissioners on Tuesday. While a battle over height limits for I-Drive attractions has grabbed the most attention, the plan's vision is much bigger than that.
Rosen Hotels has a request coming up for the county's Development Review Committee on Jan. 13 to combine its two lots the expanded resort will occupy, which lie within the Universal Boulevard PD.
The company plans to expand its golf course at Shingle Creek Resort onto a 24.6-acre parcel that it owns directly north of the resort property. Three holes and greens of the golf course will be moved to that parcel, and a 70,000-square-foot, four-story operations building will be built to serve various back-of-house departments for the property.
Toohey said a start date for the expansion would be confirmed after getting the latest lot combination and Development Plan through the county's approval process.
A buyer for the 474-acre, 19-parcel package owned by Colony Capital near Universal Boulevard was named in a Dec. 17 sale deed. In an example of expert corporate obfuscation the parent company behind the LLC and the sale price remain concealed, but sources re-affirm the buyer is an affiliate of Universal Orlando or a subsidiary of its parent company, Comcast.