The owner of a plot of land in Orlando's I-Drive corridor is reconsidering the plan to build a new 1,200-key hotel, and instead opting to build an apartment complex.
According to a Land Development Plan submitted in Orange County last week, developer Kevin Fitzpatrick is looking to build up to 408 multifamily units on 12 acres of land along the unfinished portion of Destination Parkway.
Fitzpatrick, a former head of global real estate at American International Group (AIG), paid $6.6 million for the parcel in 2017 through an affiliate of his Spring Bay Property Company, which is a multifamily and hotel developer made up of private investors.
The project, dubbed Waterside Apartments, would be made up of two four-story multifamily buildings surrounding two parking garages and a clubhouse with a resort-style pool featuring pond views.
The development would offer a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and provide more than 700 parking spaces along with bicycle stations.
Fitzpatrick was not immediately available to comment on the development.
The veteran developer was president of an AIG real estate unit until he left the New York-based insurer in 2009.
In 2013, he famously settled a four-year, $274 million federal lawsuit with the company over his charge that the insurer refused to pay him during the financial crisis in 2008. Terms of the settlement remain confidential.
He bought the 14-acre site in late 2017 through the entity SB UniOrlando LLC, with entitlements that include 1,200 hotel keys and 150,000 square feet of retail.
At the time, he told GrowthSpotter they were conducting market studies to determine the "highest and best use" for the $6.6 million site.
Brett Moss, a director at HFF who leads the company’s multi-housing investment advisory team, said there's a driving demand in the area for apartments to serve a traditional workforce.
Bolstered by Orlando's strong job and population growth, the project can make "a potential sale to a multifamily investor very attractive," Moss said.
He points to the Lockheed Martin facility just 10 minutes north of the property. The company plans to employ 500 people in Central Florida by 2022.
"People think it's only people putting on Mickey Mouse costumes, but there's only so many of those jobs," Moss said.
Lockheed Martin Corporation is the largest defense contractor in the U.S., the 14-acre site is also near the Orange County Convention Center.
Waterside Apartments would be the latest addition to a growing list of developments planned in the area, like Vincent Desai's newly proposed timeshare project just east of Little Lake Bryan.
Multifamily developers ContraVest and Flournoy Partners are adding over 1,000 units to the I-Drive corridor with a trio of communities at Universal Boulevard and Destination Parkway. While Legacy Partners is seeking to raze a shopping center on Universal Boulevard and build 399 apartments there.
Even the owner of the former Artegon Mall property on I-Drive has filed plans to build an apartment complex in the mall parking lot.