A rural stretch of S.R. 60 in Lake Wales might seem like an odd location for a new motel, but fuel station owner Pratik Patel said it's the perfect site to capture two specific customer demographics: truck drivers and hunters/fisherman who flock to the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes area.
Patel opened his Marathon fuel station and "Jimmy's Truck Stop" convenience store in 2003. He operates a deli that specializes in gator bites, chicken gizzards and Cuban sandwiches, and has always allowed free overnight truck parking.
Now Patel has filed a building permit request for a 32-room motel and a 10,645-square-foot tire store with truck wash on 19 acres surrounding the existing truck stop.
"Some of the rooms will be extended stay, because I know a lot of fishing and hunting people need to have a kitchen," he told GrowthSpotter on Tuesday. "It's going to be nice and decent."
He said he hasn't decided whether to bring in a national brand, but the two-story motel would be built to brand standards and could be expanded as demand grows.
Carter Engineering is civil engineer on the project and filed plans this week with the South Florida Water Management District. The site plan calls for additional heavy asphalt to accommodate the expanded truck parking facilities.
"We're ready to find a builder," Patel said. "We'd like to break ground as soon as possible."
The site is about 13 miles from Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo, but it's close to the 2,909-acre Lost Oak property on the southern shore of Lake Kissimmee. The owners of that site have filed preliminary plans with Polk County for a huge new golf resort that would also include equestrian and sporting clay facilities.