The investment group that two years ago announced plans to renovate and enlarge Sanford's historic Mayfair Inn, is finally ready to move forward with the project.
Key Performance Hospitality Management recently submitted engineering and site plans for the project to the city. Based in Sanford, KPHM plans to invest an estimated $30 million to restore and enlarge the 94-year-old building into a 130-room, boutique hotel, unlike anything else in Central Florida.
"I absolutely consider this one of the most exciting projects the city has seen, not only now but in the future," Sanford planning and development director Russell Gibson told GrowthSpotter.
"It will get this vacant property back in use as it was originally constructed," Gibson added. "What they intend to create is a four-diamond hotel and one of the only historic hotels in Central Florida."
KPHM's estimated $30 million investment in the project includes costs to acquire the property overlooking Lake Monroe, carrying costs to date, renovation and new-build, pre-opening marketing and initial working capital, Troy Antonik, KPHM executive vice president and CFO, said in an e-mail. KPHM is continuing to work on constructions plans, which will be submitted once the site and engineering plans are approved, Antonik said.
The firm laid out its timeline during a March presentation to the Sanford Chamber of Commerce: finalize design plans and permitting in the second quarter of this year; selective demolition in quarter 3; renovation and construction 2019 through 2020; and a grand opening in 2021.
"We hope to commence work on the site before year's end," Antonik said in the e-mail.
Demolition will include leveling an old, exterior-corridor motel building to the east of the main property in order to accommodate necessary parking spaces. Rooms on the second and third floors will have to be gutted and renovated, Antonik told GrowthSpotter in an earlier interview. Original plans for 120 guest rooms and suites have been enlarged to 130, since that article was published.
The team wants to keep as much of the original exterior as possible. A 3,500-square-foot ballroom will be renovated in hopes of making it a destination for weddings, graduations and other social events. The full-service hotel also will feature a restaurant, outdoor dining with view of Lake Monroe, a pool and fitness center. KPHM's executives told city officials their goal is to design the hotel to meet or exceed standards of AAA's Four Diamond designation, Gibson, the city planning director, said.
Original plans to align the inn with a major hotel chain flag have been dropped, however.
"Our intent is to operate the property as an independent boutique hotel without a flag," Antonik said in his e-mail.
Construction on the Mediterranean-style hotel, designed by Sanford architect Elton J. Motin, started in 1916. It opened in 1925 as the Hotel Forrest Lake, named for a long-time Sanford mayor and state representative
The city took the hotel over after Lake went to prison for fraudulent handling of city finances and at the bank he founded. Local flower grower W.E. Kirchhoff Jr. leased the property and changed the name to the Mayfair Inn.
In 1947, Kirchhoff sold the hotel to the owner of the New York Giants baseball club who renamed it the Mayfair Inn. The building stopped operating as a hotel in 1963 when the Bernarr Macfadden Foundation opened the Sanford Naval Academy School for Boys there, Ping reported. The school closed in 1976.
From 1977 to 2017, the building served as the international headquarters of New Tribes Mission, a non-denominational missionary organization. New Tribes, which later changed its name to Ethnos360, sold the property in 2017 to Pelta RE Ventures, an affiliate of KPHM.