Marc Reicher, senior vice president of RIDA, told GrowthSpotter the firm expects to make a decision in the next 30-60 days on whether to proceed with the expansion that would more than double to size of the facility.
The expansion is part of an ongoing agreement between RIDA and Osceola County that initially was approved in 2008 and subsequently divided into two phases. RIDA completed the first phase of the conference center in December 2012.
The 56,000-square-foot facility consists of a large exhibit hall, eight meeting rooms, public restrooms, prefunction and back of house areas. It's connected to the Omni Orlando Resort by covered walkway.
"It has been a smashing success," Reicher said. "It has allowed us to book much more business into our facility."
He said sports complex with eight multipurpose fields - also a part of the phase one contract - is generating $3 million in additional bookings and banquet revenue each year.
The county paid $18.5 million for the first phase and has pledged another $21.5 million toward phase two. Preliminary plans filed late last year with the South Florida Water Management District show a building footprint that largely adheres to the conceptual rendering approved in the 2014 amended agreement between RIDA and the county.
Reicher said there is enough demand to justify the conference center expansion. "Bigger is the mantra among the people who plan these things," he said. "We're seeing heavy demand from groups that need a lot of breakout space."
The contract specifies that the phase two improvements include additional flexible meeting space and support space, a welcome center with permanent kiosk for the convention and visitors bureau, and 8,000-square-foot restaurant banquet facility space, dedicated outdoor space and a climate controlled connection to the hotel.
If the company proceeds with phase two, construction would start this summer and last approximately 14 months. But the contract also requires a substantial private investment at ChampionsGate:
1) 23 four-bedroom Villa units to be constructed concurently with the conference center expansion;
2) an expanded water park amenity at the hotel, to include a wave pool, toddler pool and waterslides;
3) an additional 20,000 square feet of retail at ChampionsGate Downtown;
4) and hundreds of multifamily and/or vacation rental units.
RIDA filed preliminary construction plans for the Villas at ChampionsGate with the water management district, but no plans have been filed with Osceola County for either project.
The developer has a Nov. 1 deadline to provide the county with a written cost estimate and proof of funding for the construction of conference center expansion.
The ChampionsGate Development of Regional Impact (DRI) is approved for 1,970 residential units, 98,000 SF of office space, 349,200 SF of retail space with 3,000 parking spaces, a 1,879-room hotel and a 54-hole golf course. The total project size is approximately 1,246.13 acres.