The owners of a partially completed timeshare resort on Old Lake Wilson Road in northwest Osceola County want to convert the property for residential use over the next five years.
Festiva Orlando Resort comprises eight buildings with a total of 144 short-term rental condos, a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. It’s located across from the Mystic Dunes Resort & Golf Club. The property represents the first phase of what was previously known as Celebration World Resort, which was approved for 799 timeshare condos to be developed over three phases on 111 acres. Phase 1 was to include 12 buildings and 288 units, but only eight buildings were completed, along with the recreational amenities that include a pool, clubhouse and basketball court.
Holland & Knight’s Nick Nunn represented the owners Wednesday in their pre-application meeting with the county’s Development Review Committee. He said the North Carolina-based timeshare company intends to convert the resort property in phases, beginning with the first four buildings. The rest would be staggered over a five-year period, he said.
Nunn said the owners plan to update the unit interiors, but don’t anticipate any major construction associated with the conversion. The largest expense could be the $11,362 per unit in school impact fees for each converted unit. That would amount to over $1.6 million for the entire project, based on today’s fees.
Senior Zoning Specialist Amy Templeton said her staff would have to determine if the site meets the county’s parking requirements, which are higher for multifamily than for hospitality uses. The parking lot was built to accommodate 12 buildings, so even if it’s below the standard, the county could consider a waiver, she said.
The remaining phases of the planned resort are slated to be developed for residential use, as well. Tampa-based DeBartolo Development partnered with Lennar Homes on the rezoning and entitlements for that site. Lennar is building about 200 fee simple townhomes and recently filed a Preliminary Subdivision Plan with the county.
The DeBartolo project would comprise 336 garden-style units across a dozen 3-story walk-up residential buildings with a handful of detached garages. The plan also carves out a slice for four carriage units and four “club units” that are incorporated into the clubhouse. Additional amenities include an exercise trail, dog park, pool and outdoor kitchen.
And just south of the Festiva property, the county has approved plans for a 130-acre luxury resort called Park Place with grand vacation homes, a hotel and marketplace component.
The Festiva conversion plan comes as Orlando’s hospitality industry reels from the effects of the COVID-related recession. Westgate Resorts COO Mark Waltrip recently told GrowthSpotter the company is doing well despite the pandemic. Westgate was able to hire back many of its furloughed employees with funds received through the Paycheck Protection Act.
The Omni Orlando Resort Hotel at ChampionsGate recently extended furloughs for 541 employees, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
This week Orlando-based Hilton Grand Vacations announced plans to lay-off 1,600 workers who had been furloughed since early spring.
Earlier this month, California-based Spruce Grove Inc. confirmed plans to buy the Saratoga Resort on Kissimmee’s W192 tourism corridor and convert its 150 townhouse-style units into rental apartments. The resort has been closed since the onset of the pandemic in March.