The Budget Inn & Suites on W. Colonial Drive in Winter Garden is razed and a general contractor will be chosen in the next couple of weeks, as the run-down former motel is transformed into a multi-tenant center that will include Culver's first restaurant in Orange County.
The multi-million dollar project, which will include a Wawa and likely some office space, should start vertical construction within 60 to 90 days and take another five months to complete, said Randy Hodge of Intram Investments.
A final cost for the six-acre development won't be known until the final configuration is decided upon, and whether new construction or land leasing is involved, Hodge said.
Main tenants Culver's and Wawa will lease. Wawa has already been given the nod by the city's Development Review Committee, and Culver's and the office space still need some developmental tinkering, according to DRC meeting minutes.
The project is spelling the end for not just the Budget Inn at 13603 W. Colonial Dr., but its Chit Chat Lounge, an IHOP and a gas station that all stood on the northwest corner of W. Colonial and S. Dillard Street.
The area has long been a rag-tag entry to what is generally an upper scale community.
"This will change the face of a corner that has seen better times," Hodge told GrowthSpotter on Thursday. "This will be a nice, bright, new cohesive development."
The project also represents what is beginning to occur in the Orlando area from an undeveloped land standpoint. It is becoming less available, and developers are buying distressed properties and razing them for redevelopment. The same type of plan is being developed for a former Days Inn & Suites in Sanford.
Intram's Winter Garden site will give Wawa nearly 40 locations in Orlando.
There are at least two other outparcels that Hodge said he is still working on commitments for.
The property did not come easy to Intram. The company had to have it annexed into Winter Garden from Orange County and its zoning changed to planned commercial district from arterial commercial district. The new use allows retail, office, hotel, medical office and restaurants.
Permits are pending and/or have been approved for: demolition — most of which is already done — office-related supplies, electronic and mechanical work, signs, fencing and trees, according to Winter Garden's permitting website.