NY hotelier moves forward on preparing for development on U.S. 27 in Polk County

Granite Davenport LLC, an affiliate of New York hotelier Harry Gross, filed updated plans and environmental permit documents this week with the Southwest Florida Water Management District for a proposed 75,000-square-foot, 150-room hotel and 5,000-square-foot convenience store on U.S. 27 in Polk County.

Gross payed $3.6 million for the 17-acre site in March 2018. Gross is a veteran real estate developer known for building hotels from the ground up with his own money, and best known for building a double-decker hotel in Manhattan - a 68-story Marriott duel-branded tower.

The Polk County project site is located on the northwest side of the US Highway 27 and Deen Still Road intersection in Davenport. The land, which abuts the Park 27 distribution center, is vacant and to be “mass graded for future phases of development,” according to an Aug. 20 letter to the water management district from project engineer Brent A. Lenzen of Kimley-Horn and Associates.

In May 2018, two months after the land purchase was completed, George Tsunis, real estate agent and hotel developer indicated that Granite was planning to develop an an extended-stay hotel -- either a Marriott or Hilton flag -- and either a restaurant, retail, gas station, drug store. When contacted this week, Tsunis declined to reveal any details about the project.

Attempts to reach Gross and members of his project development team were also unsuccessful. G-Holdings, led by Gross and his sons, Ron and Etai, has completed a half-dozen Marriott branded hotels in New York City.

The site is about ¾-mile south of a new Woodsprings Suites extended stay hotel that was just completed by Park Square Enterprises at the intersection of U.s. 27 and Bella Citta Boulevard.

Gross’s purchase is just one of the many new developments in the Four Corners submarket at a quadripoint formed by Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Polk counties, the area has planned multi-family communities and shopping. The area is just over a mile from I-4 and one of the region’s busiest distribution hubs with thousands of warehouse jobs at U.S. 27 near I-4 in eastern Polk County.

Red Clay Development Partners has proposed 310 garden-style apartments at the corner of U.S. 27 and Ronald Reagan Parkway (County Road 54) - within the Four Corners Town Center Development of Regional Impact (DRI) and close to the back entrance to the ChampionsGate community in Davenport. The DRI is entitled for for 1 million square feet of retail-commercial space and a movie theater.

Miami-based Spider Group Corp. is also planning an apartment community on 20-acres carved out of the southern portion of the DRI, fronting on Dunson Road. The developer was approved for 270 units but filed an application earlier this year to amend the plan and increase the unit count to 319.

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