Some of the first homes built within Chuck Whittall’s Ritz-Carlton Residences Orlando subdivision are fetching over $2 million.
What previously served as overflow parking for The Ritz-Carlton and J.W. Marriott hotels, is now shaping up to be an exclusive residential community accessible only through a few grand entryways into the Grande Lakes Orlando Resort.
Nine modern, custom homes have been completed and are move-in ready, according to a news release. Property records show three contracts have closed for a little more than $6.9 million.
Buyers include Indian River Transport Company President and CEO John Harned Jr., New York-based real estate investor Bradford Mott, and husband and wife Dr. Raj Gutta and surgeon Dr. Anita Saluja.
Each residence sold for about $2.3 million. Prices in the community typically range from $2.15 million to $2.83 million. Single-family homes in the community are about 3,000 square feet and include a gourmet kitchen, a two-car garage and a private pool.
Residents have access to resort amenities, such as the 18-hole Greg Norman-designed championship golf course and the Ritz-Carlton Spa. Residents also have access to a private clubhouse for the community with a full-time concierge that offers housekeeping services.
The 37-lot subdivision is Orlando’s first and only Ritz-Carlton-branded single-family community, born out of a licensing agreement between Unicorp National Developments Inc. and the luxury hospitality company.
Similarly, New York-based GFI Development Company is currently building 15 single-family waterfront home villas as part of The Ritz-Carlton Residences Miami Beach condo tower, completed in 2019 in the city’s Mid Beach neighborhood.
A company tied to Unicorp purchased the roughly 11-acre property in Orlando for $3 million in 2017 from Marriott International, which retained the property after selling a majority of the resort property to Blackstone in 2015.
The transaction set off the creation of Unicorp’s 37-lot Ritz-Carlton Residences Orlando subdivision, which sits within the 500-acre Grande Lakes Orlando Resort, located southwest of the Central Florida Parkway and John Young Parkway intersection.
It consists of the 582-room Ritz-Carlton and 1,000-room JW Marriott hotels, which sold for about $900 million in late 2018 to a partnership between Trinity Real Estate Investments and Elliott Management Corporation.
The partners have since poured millions into updating rooms and expanding its amenities.
Earlier this year, The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes completed a $30 million renovation that went into modernizing guest rooms, building a new luxury pool, and updating its Club Lounge.
Restaurants at the resort include the recently opened Knife & Spoon led by award-winning chef John Tesar, and PRIMO led by multiple-time James Beard award-winning chef Melissa Kelly.
Brokers at Stockworth Realty compare Metro Orlando’s luxury market to the ranks of notable cities where millionaires pay top-notch prices for residences, such as New York, Miami Beach, Singapore and the Grand Caymans.
“The luxury market continues to perform very well in Central Florida in spite of the global challenges of the past year,” Wanner said in a prepared statement. “We are pleased to see a continued increase in buyer interest.”
According to a market report by Stockworth Realty, there are few opportunities to buy a new luxury waterfront home, but sale transactions are up.
Data stated in the report found an annual median year-over-year inventory of luxury product (priced $1M and up) in Orange County is down, while overall sale volume and transactions are increasing.
Last year’s luxury residential sale volume jumped to $962 million across 560 transactions, up from $796 million in sales volume across 476 transactions in 2019. Year-over-year inventory went down from 421 units in 2019 to 353 units in 2020.
The Ritz-Carlton Residences Orlando wouldn’t be Unicorp’s first luxury single-family home development. The company, which is behind large mixed-use projects like O-Town West, also developed the Carmel community by Orlando’s Dr. Phillips neighborhood.
Carmel, an 11-lot residential subdivision, sold out earlier this year with Whittall acquiring the largest residential lot for his own 20,000-square-foot mansion.