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An Orlando-based investment group is in the process of buying the former Palms Hotel on Simpson Road in Kissimmee and convert it into apartments.

Ken Cornell, managing partner of Brookfield Investments, has had preliminary meetings with Osceola County planners to discuss conversion plans for the four-story motel.

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"We're still filtering through things to see if it's feasible," Cornell told GrowthSpotter.

The motel just north of the W. US 192 – Florida Turnpike interchange, was once a Howard Johnson Inn but has been closed for more than two years.  It was listed for sale earlier this year as a distressed property with potential to convert to senior housing.

Cornell said he and his partners have a different plan for the 43-year-old building. "We really want to target veterans, especially homeless veterans," he said. "The housing authority has a separate branch to find housing for homeless veterans. We're in conversations with them."

Brookfield would invest up to $6 million converting the hotel's 192 rooms into 184 mostly one-bedroom apartment units. The property also has a 15,000-square-foot meeting space, which would be converting into a residents' lounge.

Stephen Yeow and Robert Paymayesh are also named partners in Brookfield Investments.

"We're all engineers out of Central Florida. We've done a number of apartment renovations in Orange County," Cornell said. "This would be our first hotel conversion."

Cornell said the group expects to be in permitting through the end of the year and anticipates a 4-6 month construction period. The first apartments would be available in 2016.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@growthspotter.com or (407) 420-6261. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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