UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 28, 2017 12:04 PM — A pair of Taiwanese investors by way of Ormond Beach want to build out the final phase of short-term rental condominium buildings at Vista Cay Resort, set between the Orange County Convention Center and Universal Boulevard.
Yun-Chung Hsueh and Hsiu Lan Tu, who split time between Vancouver and Volusia County, paid $4.8 million in late May through an LLC affiliate for the 8.48-acre undeveloped property, marketed by CITY Commercial's Lee Zerivitz. It lies south of the Publix-anchored Lake Cay Commons retail center, and southwest of the Universal Boulevard and Destination Parkway intersection.
The pad-ready sites, complete with road and parking infrastructure, would accommodate the last four buildings planned for The Isles at Vista Cay, which along with Vista Cay at Harbor Square directly to the north make up what is known as Vista Cay Resort. The project debuted in 2005 and was built by Pulte Homes.
County zoning restrictions have led a majority of Greater Orlando's vacation home development to be focused in Kissimmee, but Vista Cay Resort and this remaining undeveloped property are one of the few sites in Orange County entitled for short-term rental.
Pulte lost the parcel to the homeowner's association in 2009 in lieu of foreclosure. Its plan for the vacant 8.48 acres called for another four buildings of 10 units per floor and 40 units per building, with 160 new units total.
That's what Hsueh and Tu intend to do, said attorney Richard D. Franzblau, serving as legal counsel for the developer. The group bought the land as the tail-end of a 1031 exchange, after selling a hotel asset in Volusia County, he added.
The owners have yet to hire a general contractor, architect or civil engineer, Franzblau told GrowthSpotter.
T.C. Chen of Sperry Van Ness is preparing to market the project for unit pre-sales and lending partners. Units could range from 1,100 to 1,500 square feet with two to three bedrooms, based on the former Pulte models.
The developers are working with Winter Park Construction on project cost estimates, but have yet to formally sign a general contractor, Chen said Thursday. They will market the project through local regional center Florida EB-5 Investments LLC to try and draw foreign investors, he added.
County planning staff expect to meet with the applicant next to see what could be done to align their development concept with the new I-Drive District standards, which would be optional for them at this point.
Investor demand in new vacation condo units at the project should be high, based on market response to the first phase and consistently strong tourist demand.
"It's an extremely popular property, but one where the timing was bad, in that they debuted in 2006 just before the (economic recession). When Pulte announced the project there was a paid waiting list, but then we had the market downturn," said Brent Ferry, Realtor with Global Real Estate Services, Inc. in Kissimmee, whose company has previously sold and managed condo units in Vista Cay Resort.
"We ultimately saw a lot of foreclosures in there which has kept the pricing down, as well as the way financing is limited with condominiums now," he continued. "But (rental) demand has remained high there because it's pretty much the only place you can do short-term rental and be near Universal."
Editor's Note: A correction was made Thursday morning to a misspelled word in Brent Ferry's first quote.