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Multi-Family Residential Developments

Plans filed to turn Clarion Hotel near airport into apartment complex

Another Orlando hotel is in line to be converted into an apartment community.

The latest redevelopment proposal targets the 50-year-old Clarion Hotel near the intersection of McCoy and Conway roads, a short drive northwest of the Orlando International Airport.

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An entity affiliated with Delray Beach-based Lockwood Development Partners acquired the 399-room hotel in May of 2021 for $17.1 million. Now, the owner has filed a Land Use Plan with Orange County seeking to rezone the 8.8 acres of property from C-1 to PD to allow the conversion into an apartment community with a maximum of 444 units.

It’s the latest hotel conversion project in the pipeline for the Orlando area.

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Austin LaPoten, vice president of hotel investment sales with CBRE, said it’s becoming a more and more common transition for older, under-performing hotels or motels.

The trend ties to the demand for more multifamily housing, he added.

Orange County alone needs roughly 55,000 additional apartment units by 2030, according to the Florida Apartment Association.

“I definitely see it as a positive for Orlando,”LaPoten told GrowthSpotter. “You have lower-end products that haven’t been renovated or haven’t performed being replaced with apartment complexes. Some hotel owners are making a land play for a better multifamily opportunity.”

For the Clarion hotel, built in 1971, some of the units will be designated as “micro-units,” according to a land-use plan submitted by engineering firm Kimley-Horn.

“The existing hotel site is being converted into a multi-family development, which is intended to include a range of unit sizes, the minimum being 240 square feet,” the plan reads.

These micro-units “provide alternative housing choices and market-rate housing options for county residents,” the plan reads.

A unit smaller than 500 square feet will require a waiver from Orange County. Waivers are also sought to allow the developer to turn 20,000 square feet of existing multipurpose space into space for recreation amenities.

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It’s unclear if the current owner, Lockwood, will be handling the conversion project or if another entity will take it over once the rezoning request is finalized.

On the site plan document, real estate investor David Israel, the founder of DDI Equities, is listed as the primary contact for the developer/ owner.

Israel nor anyone with Lockwood could be reached for comment as of Wednesday afternoon.

Several local hotel conversion projects have emerged lately.

In June, Infiniti Investments Solutions, Inc filed paperwork to Orange County requesting a preliminary review meeting to discuss redeveloping the 214-room Quality Suites on Turkey Lake Road into apartment units.

Infiniti Investments purchased the property for $12.75 million in April. The hotel, built in 1990, was rebranded into a MiCasa Hotel following the acquisition. It’s located on the west side of I-4 across the street from the Orlando Health Dr. Phillips Hospital, directly next to vacant land where nearby Sand Lake Surgery Center is looking to build a new 30,000-square-foot medical complex.

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Details such as how many hotel rooms will be converted into apartment units and how much the renovation effort will cost were not included in the materials submitted to Orange County.

When a group of buyers — SAR Apartment Capital, Infinity Investments Solutions, and Aramar Investments LLC, ― purchased the 295-room Toscani Suites, just south of Disney, in 2021, they announced plans to convert it into a 151-unit apartment complex.

The renovation work for this project is expected to cost $10.5 million, according to a news release by SAR Apartment Capital.

In May, One Stop Housing, a Sarasota company that specializes in converting distressed motels into workforce housing, acquired the 154-room Ambassador Hotel just west of downtown Orlando.

This would be One Stop’s ninth motel conversion in Florida. The company entered the Central Florida market with its Backlot Apartments on U.S. 192 in Kissimmee, followed by Colonial Gardens near the Orlando Fairgrounds property in Pine Hill. That property is still technically operating as a hotel, but, as of early May, Vengraff was seeking annexation into the City of Orlando with rezoning from commercial to residential to allow for long-term rentals.

In April of 2021, South Florida developer Carlos Balzola bought the 435-room Champions World Resort in Kissimmee and is currently converting it into apartment homes. The same developer completed the conversion of the former Red Lion Hotel into The Maingate apartments.

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Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at (407)-800-1161 or dwyatt@GrowthSpotter.com, or tweet me at @DustinWyattGS. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


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