Wallack wants more hotel rooms, entertainment space in Skyplex plan

Developer Joshua Wallack wants to increase the size of his entertainment space and hotel at the planned Skyplex entertainment complex, filing a change determination review Thursday with Orange County to convert uses within the approved development program.

The original development program in the Skyplex Orlando PD allowed for 39,823 square feet of restaurants, 8,500 guests/day and 333,423 square feet of entertainment retail, 95,371 square feet of general retail, and a 350-room hotel.


But since that PD rezoning was approved in December 2015 for the property, changes to the development program have increased the need for entertainment and hotel land uses on the site, civil engineer Littlejohn wrote in its request filed with county planners.

The developer wants to adjust the program to 79,441 square feet of general retail (-15,930 SF), 9,000 guests/day and 384,511 square feet of entertainment retail (+51,008 SF), and 450 hotel keys (+100).

Wallack didn't know he was starting a property acquisition marathon in June 2011 that would last three years and seven months, with eight land parcels sourced from eight different parties, 17.43 acres assembled overall and $69.35 million invested in real estate alone. How the Wallack family found the land and financing to make their Mango's Orlando and Skyplex projects happen is a compelling real estate story.

"The (hotel) flag we're working with felt that 450 keys was more suitable for the market than the original 350," Wallack told GrowthSpotter on Thursday. "We're also adding more meeting space to the plans."

He declined to name the flag, but said it will be a "soft brand" from an international hotel chain.

In summary, the conversion would be 5,150 square feet of general retail into 500 more guest trips of entertainment retail (the added 51,008 SF), and turning 10,780 square feet of general retail into 100 more hotel rooms.

The changes are possible using an equivalency matrix approved within the PD, which allows for shifting land uses without increasing the number of PM peak hour trips generated by the development.

The development's architect and pre-construction manager discuss what lies ahead in the coming months for structural design testing.

The request has yet to be fully reviewed by county staff, but has been scheduled for Sept. 14 with the Technical Review Group.

Wallack said his team is continuing to evolve the Skyplex plans with new retail, and will announced his first confirmed attraction lease at the State of Orange County event on Oct. 5, held at the Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive, organized by the Orange County Property Appraiser.

Stormwater management for the site will include a proposed detention pond and underground detention system, with no discharge to Sandy Lake, according to updates on the new Land Use Plan amendment.

On the building design and construction front, a wind tunnel test is being conducted this month, and should be done by end of August.

Liechtenstein-based Intamin Amusement Rides, the rollercoaster manufacturer, worked with structural engineer Celtic Engineering on plans for the entire structure's design, which had to be completed along with engineering design of the ride to create a model for the wind tunnel test.

The development team expects to finalize the LUP amendment and DP by early November, and have early foundation permit drawings available at that time. They can then provide a set of documents to potential suppliers of steel and concrete for material pricing on the tower, garage and hotel.

Euforria, a subsidiary of Winter Park Construction, is serving as pre-construction manager on the project, while the architect is Helman Hurvey Charvat Peacock/Architects (HHCP).

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.