Local investor takes down 10 acres near Vineland Outlets, eyes hotel developers

Bob Moser
GrowthSpotter

Affiliates of local real estate investor Wayne J. Hilmer Sr. paid more than $5 million on Thursday for nearly 10 acres east of Vineland Premium Outlets, with one hotel buyer under contract and two more hotel pads being pushed.

Located north of the Publix-anchored Regency Village shopping center, the 9.89-acre parcel currently serves as overflow parking for that center, with access off of Vineland Avenue. It stands to benefit from the nearby retail growth along Daryl Carter Parkway and a future I-4 interchange. 

Hilmer has had the land under contract since the fall of 2016, and spent more than a year cleaning the title and subdividing the site into three lots for individual sale to hotel developers. 

"That price was agreed to a year ago, but this took a year and a half to legalize the property because when it was initially purchased it wasn't properly plotted," Hilmer told GrowthSpotter

Robert L. Harding of GrayRobinson led the legal process, and Kimley-Horn's Jay Jackson as civil engineer and Landsmith Realty Inc.'s Dan Harper as planner handled the subdivision, which was approved by Orange County in late 2017. 

The seller was Tinwood LLC, a joint venture between Regency Centers and Publix that built the retail center in 2002.

Hilmer already has one of the three lots under contract to Brazilian developer QDI, which has earmarked 3.5 acres to develop a 154-key hotel with Best Western's new boutique flag GLō. QDI should close on that deal in the next few weeks, Hilmer said. 

The remaining 6.39 acres across two lots are still being marketed, with ample entitlements that would support select-service hotels of roughly 150 to 165 keys each with surface parking. 

Hilmer was drawn to the land because all of its water retention needs are off property, allowing it to be developed immediately. 

The acquisition follows Hilmer's sale of two neighboring properties (5.14 acres) that he bought through bank foreclosure in 2009. He sold those for a combined $5.05 million in 2014 and 2016 to affiliates of Floridays Development Co., which built and opened a Home2 Suites by Hilton hotel, and filed its notice of commencement on Jan. 8 to start building a new Holiday Inn & Suites.

"What's happening now is you'll have five hotels soon clustered there outside the Premium Outlets mall, and just a mile and a half from a Disney gate," Hilmer said. "That worked out pretty well for us." 

While the remaining two hotel lots are not under contract now, Hilmer said he has received enough interest to anticipate both will be sold by the end of this year. 

Hilmer's company, Cathay Holdings Inc., has been involved in the acquisition and mezzanine financing of commercial real estate in Central Florida for many years, with a portfolio of investment properties in the area. He's the founder of Touchrate Solutions in Orlando, and founded Omni International Jet Trading, which his son Wayne J. Hilmer Jr. now runs as president.

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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