Since as far back as 2016, a development team had been planning to build three seven-story hotels totaling 410 rooms along Bali Boulevard in Southeast Orange County.
The project was the first in the Orlando area to incorporate a beach-like Crystal Lagoon amenity into its design.
Like a tidal wave, the pandemic washed this massive hotel plan away just as it was nearing the final step in the permitting process with the county.
Now, new land owners are back with a different proposal for the 57-acre parcel in Four Corners: Multifamily housing.
“The previously proposed hotel development dissolved when the hospitality demand plummeted due to the pandemic,” Dustin Brinkman, a project manager with engineering firm KPM Franklin, told GrowthSpotter. “The owner now wishes to pivot to multifamily to accommodate the growing demand.”
Brinkman filed an application to Orange County on behalf of land owner, Benjamin Cohen, seeking to change previously approved entitlements to allow for apartment homes.
Cohen, the managing agent for Hollywood-Harrison, LLC, based out of Aventura, could not be reached for comment.
An early land development plan submitted to the county calls for five-story multifamily buildings with a total of 382 units. The project also seeks to use roughly 9 acres of land on the other side of Bali Boulevard to build an amenity / recreational center for the multi-family asset.
That vacant parcel, owned by a Miami-based entity titled Ltv I Liquidating Trust, is currently entitled for 17,000 square feet of commercial, according to development plans. The applicants of this project are seeking a change to the land use in order to allow for the multifamily rec center.
That amenity/ recreation center, if approved, would go up on land directly beside an Advent Health emergency room that opened in 2019. That parcel is included on a land development plan because it’s part of the same PD, but is not a part of the project, Brinkman said.
Of the 73-acre plat, 25.7 acres are developable, plans show.
Brinkman said plans are still being worked out as it’s early in the process.
“We haven’t completed a formal site plan yet as we’re just working on the entitlement,” he added.
Cohen’s entity bought its portion of land in April for $3.6 million, taking the deed from Hollywood-based hotelier AD1 Global.
AD1 Global was pursuing the estimated $70 million hotel endeavor, which had come a long way in the process before it was abandoned.
In 2017, GrowthSpotter reported that the group had secured flags from national hoteliers IHG and Marriott International. Those included a 122-room Staybridge Suites, a 151-room Holiday Inn Express and a 145-room Four Points by Sheraton hotel.
In June of 2021, GrowthSpotter reported that the development team repackaged the concept to include a larger swimming lagoon utilizing Crystal Lagoon technology first invented in Chile and introduced to the U.S. in 2014.
KPM Engineering was also working with AD1 on its project. Brinkman told GrowthSpotter that the team was close to finalizing a proportionate share agreement with the county to fund infrastructure improvements on roads surrounding the property.
In March of 2020, Orange County staff sent a letter to AD1 saying that the project couldn’t move forward because it would impact two failing road segments: Avalon Road from US 192 to Hartzog Road and Avalon Road from Hartzog Road to Flamingo Crossings Boulevard.
AD1 developers were advised to apply for a proportionate share agreement to address traffic.
“This Proportionate Share Agreement was near final with the hotel development but was never completed as the project dissolved,” Brinkman said.
The new owners are now planning to pursue the agreement in order to build apartments, Brinkman said.
The property sits just north of Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway and the Osceola County line, 7.7 miles west of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.