South Florida couple buys W192 hotel in mid-renovation

A South Florida couple who oversaw one of the most successful hotel rebrandings in the West Kissimmee submarket has purchased a second hotel asset on the W192 tourism corridor.

Carina Radonich and Ariel Tomat, who own a high-end construction company in Sunny Isles Beach, bought a distressed motel at 5200 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway in 2014 for $1.2 million and relaunched it as the Magic Moments Resort and Kids Club after a full gut renovation. 

Today the hotel enjoys a 99-percent occupancy rate year round, Radonich told GrowthSpotter. Hotels in the West Kissimmee submarket have an average occupancy of just under 70 percent, according to STR, a data and analytics specialist.

Now the Radonich and Tomat are hoping to repeat that success with their acquisition of the Palazzo Lakeside Hotel, which reopened this year under the Choice Hotels boutique flag Ascend Collection.

Last week Radonich and Tomat paid $8.5 million, through an affiliate, for the 222-room, interior corridor hotel hotel just west of the Vineland Road/ S.R. 535 intersection. The hotel sits on nearly 10 acres. Built in 1984, it consists of three separate buildings comprising 35,000 square feet.

California hotelier Hari Johl had owned the hotel since October 2017. He secured the Ascend franchise and renovated the first 50 rooms to bring them up to brand standards.

"We're extremely excited," Radonich said on Monday. "We have big plans for this piece of real estate. They have only 50 units working right now, so we'll be working very hard to open the next 100 units in another two or three months."

They also plan to renovate the lobby, reopen the restaurant that overlooks Lake Cecile, and upgrade the landscaping and amenities. 

The new owners are working with their design team on renderings and materials. They will be looking to hire a landscape architect to enhance the exterior of the property, with an emphasis on the lakefront. They also want to install a gate to improve the security of the property.

The shape of the building is reminiscent of a cruise ship, and they want to embrace it by creating a cruise-like atmosphere. 

"We're expecting to do something very nice," Radonich said. "We want this to be one of the iconic properties on W192."

The Palazzo is one of several Lake Cecile hotels and motels to change hands in the last few years. 

  • In February, hotelier Susana Wong paid $5.25 million for the Howard Johnson Express Inn & Suites on Lake Cecile. Wong and her partners currently own three hotels and motels in the lake district.
  • Tang Sun USA paid $4.5 million on May 25 for the Sun Inn & Suites at 5020 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway.

Radonich said the reinvestment on those W192 properties, along with the new construction at Lennar's Storey Lake Resort, are helping to transform that segment of the corridor.

"This location is absolutely amazing," she said. "It's just five minutes from Magic Kingdom. W192 is really cleaning up, and we want to be a part of that."

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

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