Two Florida-based firms that are actively building new hotels in Orlando’s tourism corridor, and a third that manages a hotel on W192, submitted letters of interest Tuesday to build and operate hotels on county-owned property at Osceola Heritage Park and NeoCity.
The county identified a total of four potential hotel sites on the East 192 corridor, including two on OHP property that would suitable for a limited-service or extended-stay hotel. The solicitation also requested proposals for two full-service, conference-center hotels adjacent to OHP’s exhibition center and in the heart of the new NeoCity tech district.
“We are proposing for all four opportunities,” said Eduardo Tesi, senior project manager for Riviera Point, which teamed up with L2 Studios and Carnahan, Proctor & Cross engineers. Tesi said the partners have worked together on Riviera Point’s hotel duo now under construction on International Drive near Seaworld.
General contractor Winter Park Construction expects to complete the 101-key La Quinta Inn & Suites by Nov. 1 and the TRYP by Wyndham early in 2020. Riviera Point has been scouting the Orlando area for new hotel opportunities for the last year.
Tesi told GrowthSpotter the company felt the E192 market could currently support new limited service hotels, and they were confident in the county’s development plans for NeoCity and OHP. “As the area grows into a mini Silicon Valley, that will generate enough demand for branded full-service hotels,” he said.
AD1 Development, a division of Hollywood-based AD1 Global, also submitted a letter of interest. Marketing Director Jon McMillian told GrowthSpotter the company is also interested in developing all four sites and their concept expands beyond just hotels.
“We are proposing a mix-use concept which includes a conference hotel, select service and suite hotel, municipal parking, retail and residential space,” he said. “We fully endorse the ethos behind the NeoCity concept and hope that it fully materializes to the great benefit of the community and participating businesses. We ourselves are making strides in sustainability, using innovative tech to enhance the guest experience while still keeping an eye to the bottom line.”
The proposal piggybacks on the concept for an LG-branded “Smart City” within NeoCity. “We understand that building for the future is smart, and that people have moved away from segregated zoning and traditional living and such things as driving your car 30 minutes to work,” McMillian said. “The ideals of mixed-use really appeals to Millenials and all that follow as we move into a tech-savvy, experience driven, autonomous world.”
The company has primarily operated in the hospitality sector. AD1 is currently building a dual-branded Aloft and Element by Westin hotel near SeaWorld and is converting the former Comfort Inn on Palm Parkway into a Crowne Plaza.
AD1 is awaiting permit approvals from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a hotel trio with shared waterpark on 57-plus acres in the Four Corners area of Orange County. The group has Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites approved as flags from IHG, and Four Points by Sheraton as the third flag. AD1 Global has also been one of the most aggressive hotel buyers in the Orlando market over recent years. The company closed out 2018 with a portfolio buy that included two Orlando assets, bringing its total number of hotels in the market to seven.
The final bidder is a joint venture led by Celebration-based businessman civic leader Gene Terrico, who retired from Disney after 25 years and now manages Street Outdoor. He brought in Maryland-based Marshall Hotels & Resorts, which operates Kissimmee’s Seralago Hotel & Suites Maingate as part of a hotel portfolio valued at over $1 billlion. The company also has a development division. Civil engineer KPM Franklin is also part of the team.
In his cover letter, Terrico wrote that OHP Development JV believes that with the increased activity at OHP and the excitement of NeoCity, the corridor has “met the threshold for new, tastefully branded accommodations” to host visitors and the business community alike.
“The onsite rooms will allow the venue to host a wider variety of shows and events, adding to its growing popularity in the Central Florida market. Our approach to phasing the growth of this new type of lodging, with a planned mix of suites, hi-tech executive, hospitality and upscale conference accommodations and on-site food and beverage offerings, will contribute to the popularity and ambiance of the area.”
Osceola County posted a similar solicitation in 2016 but received just one response. At the time, hotel industry experts said the area was still too risky to invest in new hotel product.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated with comments from AD1 Global.