A new Comfort Inn & Suites hotel coming to East Lake Mary Boulevard is among at least half a dozen hotels either announced or under construction in and around the bustling Seminole County city of Sanford.
Hickman Enterprises, a small Winter Park real estate and development company, plans to build the 100-room Comfort Inn hotel on a 5.22-acre tract on the south side of Lake Mary Boulevard, just east of Sipes Avenue.
Company president Andre Hickman said he is in the process of getting the land annexed into Sanford and rezoned for commercial use. He's looking for a general contractor and hopes to break ground in the first quarter of 2020 and open the hotel in the latter part of the year.
Hickman said he thinks the hotel will be successful because of its proximity to Orlando Sanford International Airport and the Seminole County-owned Boombah Sports Complex, both about a mile away.
"The (Boombah) baseball fields are quite a draw and the local businesses in Sanford are thriving," Hickman told GrowthSpotter." We hope to pull from all those, but the fields and the airport are our main source of hope."
But Hickman, who owns another Comfort Inn near Interstate 4 and State Road 46, said he wonders if the proliferation of new hotels in the Sanford area might produce a glut of empty rooms.
Here are some examples of what's coming:
- Two hotels have broken ground at the I-4-S.R. 46 intersection: a 120-room Holiday Inn Express and an 86-room Home2 Suites by Hilton, both being developed by local hotelier Jayesh Patel.
- An extended-stay WoodSpring Suites Hotel is coming to Hickman Road near the I-4-S.R. 46 intersection, just outside the Sanford limits. The developers are Suresh and Vishaal Gupta of Park Square Homes.
- An Extended Stay America hotel is approved on Rinehart Road near the Best Buy store in Sanford, according to Russell Gibson, Sanford’s director of planning and development services.
Also on the drawing board is the long-awaited renovation and reopening of the historic former Mayfair Inn Hotel at 1000 E. First St. in downtown Sanford. Key Performance Hospitality Management of Sanford is developing the project and has submitted architectural plans to the city.
The city has approved four other hotel sites, but no flags have been announced, Gibson said
The seeming explosion of new hospitality locations in the Sanford area is a primarily a result of expanding commercial development throughout Seminole county and a dearth of new hotels in the past 10 to 20 years, said Robin Webb, LandQwest’s senior managing director for Central Florida.
"There's been no lodging development in Seminole County in a number of years," Webb said when asked about the potential glut of hotels. "There is a need for new inventory. And some of the new brands are not represented in Seminole County."
The dearth of new hospitality product is especially apparent in the county north of Lake Mary Boulevard and west of I-4, Webb said. Virtually no new hotel development has occurred in that part of the county for a decade. And at least two hotels, the Days Inn and Knights Inn, near I-4 and S.R. 46, have been demolished recently, exacerbating the need for new inventory.
"There are about 8,500 rooms in Seminole County," Webb said. "If you add another 400-500 rooms, I don't think that's an intimidating thing at all."