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Highlighted in blue are the 10.42 acres being developed, northwest of the intersection of S. Apopka Vineland Road and Winter Garden Vineland Road, just north of an entrance to Walt Disney World property.
Highlighted in blue are the 10.42 acres being developed, northwest of the intersection of S. Apopka Vineland Road and Winter Garden Vineland Road, just north of an entrance to Walt Disney World property. (Orange County Property Appraiser)

Weston-based developer Jafrejo Holdings has broken ground on a Twin Peaks restaurant and plans a 164-key Candlewood Suites for a 10-acre property in Lake Buena Vista, and will seek a management firm and general contractor for the hotel in the coming months, the company's CEO told GrowthSpotter.

Located at 12353 Winter Garden Vineland Road, the 10.42-acre property lies northwest of the intersection of S. Apopka Vineland Road and Palm Parkway, and is roughly 2.2 miles from the entrance to Disney Springs.

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Partners Jack Flechner and Fred Burgess acquired the three contiguous parcels making up the property in April 2015 for $7.3 million. The developers are in the process of removing a previously approved fuel station from the Development Plan and replacing it with a 164-key hotel, with the project's total investment estimated at $32 million.

William J. Evans, president of Atlanta-based Red Maple Development, previously bought the property back in December 2007 for $4 million, and initially planned a Hampton Inn for the ite. Those plans stalled during the economic recession, and when Flechner and Burgess approached Evans in 2014 about renewing the development plan, they assumed they'd take on that previously approved hotel flag.

But parent company Hilton Worldwide showed hesitancy in 2015 to let the group move forward with another Hampton Inn, in a market already well-stocked with properties using that flag. Rather than wait for Hilton's approval of another brand, Flechner and Burgess turned to IHG, "which loved our site and got us approved within weeks for the Candlewood Suites flag," Flechner said.

Of the eight geographical submarkets in Greater Orlando broken down by hotel market analysts STR, Lake Buena Vista had the highest occupancy rate (83 percent) and ADR ($126) in 2015.

The Greater Orlando market boasted 68 individual hotel transactions in 2015, with single asset sales totaling $595 million in value -- more than the previous two years combined. Despite economy and debt market questions, Orlando can draw more hotel investment than ever, said Paul Sexton of HREC Investment Advisors.

The Walt Disney Company announced in its 2015 earnings report that average occupancy at its hotel properties was 92 percent, which is hand-delivering excess consumers to satellite hotels around the Disney property.

The southern half of the 10.42 acres bordering Winter Garden Vineland Road will be built upon, while the northern half will remain a conservation easement.

Construction on the 10,000-square-foot Twin Peaks began first week of February, with Venture Construction of Tampa serving as general contractor. That restaurant should be built and open by July.

DP and permitting approvals for the Candlewood Suites hotel will be sought from Orange County in the coming months, with construction expected to begin in late Summer or early Fall, Flechner said.

The developer has yet to choose a hotel management firm or general contractor. Fundraising of $20 million for the Lake Buena Vista project has been completed by coordinating 40 foreign investors through the EB-5 immigrant visa program.

Jafrejo Holdings owns franchise restaurants, shopping centers and limited service hotels South Florida and Atlanta. Burgess founded an EB-5 consulting firm, which is the main form of financing the company uses for its new developments.

The duo have six restaurants open and four now in development in Florida and Georgia, with franchisee agreements for Twin Peaks and VooDoo BBQ & Grill. They also have three hotel projects in varied stages of development in Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta and Orlando's Lake Buena Vista.

Despite selling the property last year, Evans is partnering with Flechner and Burgess on the Orlando project's development. David Wallace & Associates out of North Miami Beach is the project architect, while Highland Engineering is the civil engineer.

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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