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Osceola County Developments

Development plans starting to gel for long-abandoned Orlando Sun property

A proposal to build workforce housing on the parking lot of the Delta Hotel across from Celebration could help clear the way for a Disney Springs-like complex on the neighboring Orlando Sun Resort property (red).

A major hotel operator in the Disney market is working hand-and-hand with a South Florida developer to create a Disney Springs-like entertainment complex across from Celebration with a workforce housing component.

Meyers Group Vice Chairman Robert Shapiro told GrowthSpotter he is in constant communication with executives at New York-based Tishman Hotels, owner of the adjacent Delta Resort property. Meyers Group has a purchase contract on the sprawling 77-acre site at the I-4 interchange with U.S. 192 in Kissimmee.

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“We’re working together to make both properties be successful,” Shapiro said. “We’re in day-to-day conversations with them.”

Meyers Group first unveiled a conceptual plan for the Orlando Sun property last summer at ICSC Florida in Orlando, but Shapiro said Wednesday the plan has changed since then — it no longer includes 1,150 multifamily units. The original concept would have required parking for 3,500 vehicles, which couldn’t be accommodated on the site.

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“We’re literally in the process of trying to finalize,” he said. “The most recent version is going to be a lot more retail, restaurants, entertainment, and probably a major hotel and possibly some Vacation Club kind of operations.”

Meyers Group and RSP Architects displayed the conceptual master plan at their booth during the ICSC @Florida conference last August.

Shapiro said Meyers Group intends to file plans to Osceola County in the next 30 days. The firm has engaged Newmark and LandQwest to head up the leasing efforts. Newmark did the leasing for Disney Springs, and LandQwest led the effort at Margaritaville.

Also on Wednesday, Dan Unger, Tishman’s chief development officer, and Lowndes attorney Joseph Kovecses held a pre-application meeting with Osceola County’s Development Review Committee to discuss how best to proceed with the infill housing development at the Marrriott-branded resort.

Tishman wants to build up to 610 units of workforce housing on the north parking lot of its recently rebranded Delta Resort Hotel in Kissimmee.

“Tishman owns a bunch of hotels in the market, including the Dolphin-Swan complex over at Disney,” Unger said. “We have a big need for employee housing for the hospitality industry. So this residential project would be targeted to employees, not just at our properties, but other hotels in the area, as well.”

Tishman purchased the ground lease for the 718-key hotel in March 2022 and continued the renovations that had been started by the previous ownership group. The one-time Radisson reopened last year as the second Delta Resort property under the new flag.

The spacious lobby at the former Orlando Grand Resort at Celebration was renovated to meet brand standards for its conversion to a Delta Resort hotel.

The hotel sits on 21.3 acres in the Parkway Planned Development at U.S. 192 and Interstate 4, across from Celebration. Kovecses said the current PD zoning would allow up to 305 residential units, but Tishman is looking to double that number based on the Tourist Commercial future land use, which allows up to 80 units per acre.

Tishman also would be seeking a parking reduction for the hotel and for the new multifamily housing to maximize the density, he said.

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Planning Director Cori Carpenter said both of those things could be accomplished with a major PD amendment. “All of the departments would need to look at what you’re requesting and how much of a decrease you’re asking for, and the justification,” she said.

The developer also would need to submit a conceptual site plan and building elevations showing that it complies with the W192 CRA design guidelines and provide a cross-access easement along the northern property line that would allow the adjacent Orlando Sun Resort property a second access point to Parkway Boulevard.

DRC Chairman Jose Gomez said improving the traffic circulation of the site will be critical to allow the added density and to facilitate the redevelopment of the Orlando Sun property, which currently has just one connection to Parkway Boulevard. “That project has been kind of hamstrung,” he said, because it currently has just one access point onto Parkway Boulevard, and that intersection is too close to U.S. 192.

“‘Where this intersection here is, is a nightmare the way it’s currently configured,” Gomez said. “And adding all these units is going create some additional issues. So that’s something that we’re very interested in, making sure we can solve this to make sure that we’re not pushing traffic out up to West 192 and causing additional operational issues.”

Shapiro said the workforce housing component on the Tishman property complements the Meyers Group concept. “In this case, two plus two equals five.”

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


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