Westgate plans $61.7M capital investment in Central Florida properties in FY17

Westgate Resorts plans to finish construction on more timeshare towers, dining options and amenities -- including two new water parks -- at its Central Florida properties in the coming year.

The total investment across 13 area properties totals $61.7 million -- a record for the company, according to Chief Operating Officer Mark Waltrip. 

The key expenditures will target three Orlando-area locations and two recently acquired assets in Cocoa Beach.

— Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa in Orlando: Construction on the first of two planned 80-unit timeshare towers should be completed by June 2017.

First reported in October 2015, the project has been delayed in recent months due to a negotiations deadlock between the company and owner of a condo townhome on the construction site.

Located at 10000 Turkey Lake Road, Westgate Lakes currently boasts 1,047 timeshare condominium units across 28 buildings. The new units will be two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom fully furnished luxury timeshare condos, with an average of $331,250 to be spent per unit on the construction and build out.

In addition, work should be completed on a 20,000-square-foot retail village that began in 2015, with a shopping arcade and Westgate's signature sports bar and deli restaurants.

— Westgate Town Center in Kissimmee: the 30,000-square-foot retail center located below the resort's Shipwreck Island water park will open in the summer of 2017. The center has been in the works since 2015 and will feature shopping arcade, two dine-in restaurants and an upscale food court.

General contractor on the project is Roger B. Kennedy Inc. Missouri-based Allen W. Johnson & Assoc. serves as architect. Both are long-time collaborators on Westgate projects.

Waltrip told GrowthSpotter resort officials are still mulling a decision on whether to build a Crystal Lagoon as part of a future expansion of Town Center. The resort filed an application with the South Florida Water Management District in Februrary for the swimming lagoon and eight new timeshare towers. The first tower was completed this year for $20 million.  

— Westgate River Ranch Resort: The timeshare company is investing in amenity upgrades at the dude ranch/golf resort on the shore of the Kissimmee River in Polk County.

Westgate will convert an underutilized building into 3,600 square feet of meeting space. 

The resort also will be getting a water park with a pool, lazy river and splash park. Bryon Smith, construction development director, told GrowthSpotter the water park would be comparable to the Shipwreck Island, which opened at neighboring Kissimmee resorts in 2015. "Only it will have a ranch theme," Smith said.

Westgate expanded it's highly successful "glamping" offerings earlier this year with the addition of 10 luxury teepees, but plans to develop a private hanger estate neighborhood along the airstrip and to add 110 RV campsites are currently on hold.

"We just had more pressing needs," Smith said.

— Cocoa Beach Pier and Wakulla Suites: Westgate will continue the ongoing renovation of the 120-room Wakulla Suites, which the company acquired in May, with a targeted completion date of late 2017. Westgate plans several key enhancements to the property, including an expanded lobby, elevated beach deck and water park featuring a pool, lazy river and splash park.

The company also plans to expand the pier, which it bought and renovated in 2014, with 7,800 square feet of retail and arcade areas.

Westgate also plans a new four-story tower at the pier that will include new vacation villas, an owners' club and pool.  Construction on both pier projects will start in 2017 and should be completed in 2018. 

Westgate features 28 themed destination resorts in 10 states with more 13,000 luxury villas. The company bills itself as the largest private employer in Central Florida, with 6,200 local employees and 12,000 nationally. 

For more information, visit the Westgate Resorts Properties project page on GrowthSpotter.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407)420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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