UPDATED: October 4, 2016 4:55 PM — The owners of the Roomba Inn & Suites on W192 plan to demolish the 30-year-old hotel and replace it with a pair of seven-story flag hotels and a retail/entertainment center, linking the complex to the neighboring Old Town complex.
The W192 Redevelopment Authority will get a look this week at the redevelopment plans for the Roomba Inn site, recipient of the agency's first $50,000 catalyst planning grant.
Planning Consultant David Holzapfel told GrowthSpotter earlier this year the hotel owners planned to invest $42 million to redevelop the 7-acre site.
"They gave us very good advice," CTN Vice President Abdul Alshoghri told GrowthSpotter on Tuesday. "They have a lot of knowledge about the development of the area. They want the site to look very attractive to pedestrians, and I agree with them."
Alshoghri said he has requested a meeting with county planners later this month to discuss the preliminary site plan, parking requirements and zoning. CTN is still accepting proposals for architect and civil engineer, he said.
"We've had discussions with three or four general contractors," Alshoghri said. "Once we get to the 90-percent stage with our drawings, we'll go out for GC."
David Buchheit, executive director for the authority, said no one from CTN or Logan Simpson is available Thursday to present the plan. "I went ahead and put it on the agenda anyway because I wanted the board to see the progress they had made," he said.
The rendering identifies the first 140-room hotel as a Home2 Suites, a Hilton-brand extended stay hotel.
Alshoghri said CTN is awaiting final approval from Hilton on the site and architectural plans. That's usually a three month process. The floorplan includes several meeting rooms, a breakfast area, pool and fitness center on the ground floor.
He said Hilton would have the final say on whether CTN seeks an outside hotel management firm. The company currently manages hotel properties in Orlando and Daytona Beach and has developed condominiums, office buildings and mixed-use projects in Canada.
The first phase also includes about 62,000 square feet of restaurants and retail space hugging the northeast quadrant of the parcel, along W192 and Holiday Trail. CTN will be in the market soon for a commercial leasing agent. "We have specific criteria for that space," Alshoghri said. "We want brand-name restaurants. We're looking for Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts."
The site plan calls for a second hotel or condo tower in Phase 2 at the rear of the property. Alshoghri said the hotel could be branded or independent.
A 46,500-square-foot entertainment plaza would include plenty of outdoor seating, fountains, landscaping and light towers that project a public light show every night.
"The plaza will serve as a transition zone between the hotels and nearby commercial and entertainment establishments," the consultants wrote. "Lining Holiday Trail is a large entertainment use, additional streetscape, and crosswalks, which will connect and complement neighboring Old Town and Fun Spot. A high-end anchor condo or hotel will complete the back of the site."
Buchheit said the owner has an LOI on the entertainment space, "but whoever is doing it wants to keep it close to the vest."
Logan Simpson recommended rezoning the entire site from its current Planned Development zoning to Commercial Tourist, which has no height restrictions and offers the most flexibility. The proposed Development Plan also complies with the county's Transit-Oriented Design standards. It includes pedestrian connections to Old Town, which will have a future Bus Rapid Transit station.
Old Town/Fun Spot USA is in the middle of a $10 million expansion and rehabilitation, which includes new restaurants, rides and a huge, neon sign modeled after an old fashioned jukebox. Buchheit said the new sign and Ferris wheel will be installed before the end of the month.
"I'm really looking forward to seeing it," he said. "They could have bought a used Ferris wheel. To have something custom-built in Italy and shipped over here means it's going to be special."
This article was updated Tuesday to include comments from owner/developer CTN Developments.