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Reunion developer Encore building aqua park as part of $18M investment

Reunion developer Encore building aqua park as part of $18M investment
Encore is building a new waterslide park as part of an $18 million investment in Kissimmee's Reunion Resort. (Encore)

Vacation home developer Encore is adding a multimillion dollar water park amenity at Kissimmee's Reunion Resort.

Managing Director Jim Bagley told GrowthSpotter the aqua complex, which opens in February, is part of a total $18 million investment Encore is making at Reunion.

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The same firm announced plans for a massive water park and swimming lagoon at its nearby Jimmy Buffet-themed Margaritavillage community, the Sentinel reported earlier this year.

Reunion Resort's newest amenity will include a splash park, water slides, clubhouse and pool.
Reunion Resort's newest amenity will include a splash park, water slides, clubhouse and pool. (Encore)

The 10-acre aqua park at Reunion is strictly for resort guests and includes four tube slides, a "Rain Fortress" kids area with looping slides and a beach entry pool, a poolside bar and grill, cabanas and sun shades.

Encore Capital Management, a real estate private equity firm based in Boca Raton, is one of the largest developers of vacation rental homes in Osceola County right now. Bagley said the firm currently has 160 vacation rental homes under construction along the Jack Nicklaus golf course.

"We've closed 40 homes," Bagley said. "We're selling about 25 a month."

Meanwhile, Encore is in the process of getting clean title to the Reunion property that it acquired through foreclosure when the original developer defaulted on a series of 2007 bonds.

Ginn Reunion Borrower LLC had taken out a $70 million mortgage in 2007 from Morgan Stanley Mortgage Capital Holdings - a debt that was later passed through to Wells Fargo. The borrower and lender reached a mortgage settlement agreement in 2011 in which the developer paid $1.5 million for the golf course and Wells Fargo held a $35 million hope note on 11 undeveloped parcels in the community.

A hope note is issued when a lender reduces principal or changes the terms of an existing note in exchange for a piece of upside value if the property ever sells. But a source close to the project told GrowthSpotter the Reunion parcels had accumulated several million dollars in arrears, interest and penalties on the CDD assessments that they essentially had no value.

That note was set to mature this month, but the bank appears to have written it off as a loss, according to a report from Trepp Loan.

Bagley said Encore has reached agreements with Reunion's community development districts and is in the process of converting the nonperforming bonds to performing bonds.

"That's all super-ancient history," Bagley said.

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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