Winter Garden's economic development team called on CVC Hospitality asking the hotel builder for leads on hotels that might want to move to town. Instead it ended up wooing CVC and winning its headquarters.
CVC is breaking ground next week on a new 10,198-square-foot, $1.55 million headquarters at 310 E. Crown Point Rd. across the street from where the Solar Bears are building their new practice rink. Advance Design & Contractors Inc. is the general contractor for the 20-foot tall building.
"Talk about salesmen," said Chris Kersey, chief operating officer for CVC Hospitality. During the meeting Kersey and the company's president, Craig Vincent Cook, mentioned that they were interested in leasing a new headquarters. They had been leasing space in Pine Hills for 28 years and were ready for a change.
"Why not build?" Kersey remembered City Manager Mike Bollhoefer suggesting. "We have a ton of good lots for a fair price."
Kersey said the city even offered to do a traffic impact study for the company and facilitate permitting.
"They had tons of energy and were excited and pushing the move," he said.
Kersey and Cook went to look at the land the city had to offer and decided quickly to make the move. Their 28 employees, too, agreed by vote.
"We just kind of fell in love with it," Kersey said. The S.R. 429 access makes it a 20-minute ride to almost anywhere in Orlando and the employees were getting tired of Pine Hills' lack of lunch spots and deterioration of the neighborhood, he said.
Six of the 28 employees, including Kersey, live just a golf cart ride away from the new headquarters site so their commute is just a few minutes.
"We will move to Winter Garden and make that our home forever and hopefully add jobs, of course they (Winter Garden) are very interested in adding jobs," he said.
It is likely that will happen. CVC is on a high growth trajectory, doubling its revenue last year and landing it in top spots in trade publications. It was a top construction company from 2012 to 2015 in Hotel Management magazine and also earned a position for its design firm and purchasing in the same magazine.
CVC is a one-stop shop for hotel and resort developers. It designs, plans and builds hotels and resorts. It also does hotel renovations. It has designers for the buildings, a construction team of sub-contractors, and interior designers who create the furniture as well as the interior designs.
CVC works across the country, with licensing in 32 states and will add 10 more by year's end.
It is finishing up a project in Washington State. It is working on the Hard Rock Casino in Lake Tahoe and building a Courtyard by Marriott in Miami.
"It's the perfect size headquarters for us," said Winter Garden City Manager Mike Bollhoefer. "One of our goals is creating jobs."
Bollhoefer also likes the fact that a lot of the CVC's employees live in town. Finding employment for city residences nearby is another goal, he said.