Osceola County’s Code Enforcement Board has authorized the county to foreclose on two extended stay motels in Kissimmee’s W192 tourism corridor, but the county may have to get in line.
The Cayman Islands-based lender who holds the first mortgage on the Star Motel and Lake Cecile Inn & Suites filed also foreclosure suit against the owner for defaulting on the $2 million loan.
In October 2019, Nguyen’s Lake Cecile Resorts Inc. had modified the $2 million mortgage with Best Meridian International Insurance Company to extend the maturity date to September 2020. But she defaulted on the loan by failing to pay property taxes for three years and not making loan or interest payments after September 2019, according to court records.
The motels at 4880 and 4900 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway have ongoing code violations since summer of 2019 for junk and debris, unlicensed vehicles, unsafe conditions ranging from holes in the walls to exposed wiring. Last winter, Kissimmee Utility Authority and Toho Water Authority shut off power and water service to the motels when owner Mary Nguyen fell two months behind in paying the utility bills.
At the time, dozens of low-income families, including young children and people with disabilities, were living in the motel with no electricity.
In January, Osceola County Sheriffs Office arrested eight people still living at the Lake Cecile Inn & Suites after a fire broke out in one of the rooms. Deputies charged one person with arson and burglary. The other seven face charges of battery against a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest and inciting a riot, according to OCSO.
On April 15, the Code Enforcement Board authorized officers to bring the properties into compliance. The county hauled away tons of junk, towed 22 derelict vehicles and boarded up the Lake Cecile Inn. On May 14, the county filed a order to foreclose on the outstanding code enforcement liens.
Lake Cecile Resort Inc. also owns the Palm Lakefront Hotel at 4840 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway. The county does not have any active violations against that property.
The properties comprise nearly 18 acres near the signalized intersection with Vineland Road (S.R. 535), and all three have been marketed off and on by HotelMax Hospitality Network as a Disney-area redevelopment opportunity.
“We’ve had several offers, but none were appealing enough to the owner,” broker Terry Hatfield said. “She was looking for a joint venture to redevelop the property rather than an outright sale.”
The motels in foreclosure were built in the early 1980s; Nguyen has owned them since 2005 and 2007, respectively.
“It’s a great location, and we’ve had a lot of activity,” Hatfield said. “I hope she can work her way out of it, and I hope I can help her.”
The nearby Storey Lake Resort has helped spur redevelopment of some older motels along Lake Cecile, notably the Palazzo Lakeside Hotel at 5200 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway. It was purchased in late 2018, mid-renovation, by a South Florida investor who upgraded and rebranded the property.