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Universal seeks Wet n' Wild site redevelopment for 4,000 hotel rooms

Universal seeks Wet n' Wild site redevelopment for 4,000 hotel rooms
The 64.6 acres that make up the Wet n' Wild property at the corner of Universal Boulevard and International Drive. This framework master plan includes three parking decks (green) and the vacating of a portion of Precision Drive (red). (Donald W. McIntosh Associates)

Universal Orlando filed a framework master plan on Monday to redevelop its shuttered Wet 'n Wild property with up to 4,000 hotel rooms.

Located at 6200 International Dr., 64.6 acres that make up the former water park property lie across nine contiguous parcels, with 23.65 acres for the water park site lying west of Universal Boulevard, and the rest of the land on the eastern side composed of parking, storage and support buildings.

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The water park closed in December after 39 years, and demolition began in January.

A proposed land use of 4,000 rooms and vacating the western portion of Precision Drive were the few highlights of change on the Master Plan, which was filed with the City of Orlando by John McReynolds, senior vice president for Universal Parks and Resorts.

An aerial map of the 64.6 acres targeted for hotel redevelopment by Universal Orlando affiliates.
An aerial map of the 64.6 acres targeted for hotel redevelopment by Universal Orlando affiliates. (Donald W. McIntosh Associates)

This broad, initial Master Plan indicates three parking decks of two to three stories each would be built to support the future hotels, with two of those decks located on the property's I-Drive frontage.

Specific Parcel Master Plans (SPMP) will follow for each individual development project within the property.

A Universal spokesman declined to comment Tuesday on the company's future plans for the property.

With more than 20 acres on either side of Universal Boulevard, both sites are large enough to support a 2,000-room convention-level hotel, local architects and theme park consultants forecasted here back in June 2015, when Wet 'n Wild's closing was first announced.

Universal's corporate owner Comcast has stressed in the past year a desire to maximize lodging on the Universal Orlando properties. Construction is underway on a sixth hotel near the theme parks, the Aventura Hotel (600 rooms), along with two new towers at Cabana Bay Resort (400 rooms).

Universal currently has 5,200 rooms across its five local hotels, and will have 6,200 after those two projects are completed. Another 4,000 rooms on the former Wet n' Wild property would bring the company to a potential 10,200 rooms, across an estimated seven or eight hotels.

That still pales in comparison to Walt Disney World's 30,623 rooms across 31 on-site hotels.

Donal W. McIntosh & Associates is civil engineer on the project, and transportation planning was provided by VHB.

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.

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