August 30, 2022
The former Hyatt property at W192 and Interstate 4 has a new buyer under contract with plans for a massive new mixed-use development. (Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel)
The Orlando Sun Resort that for years signified blight on Osceola County’s busiest tourist corridor could finally be moving toward a sale that would bring transformational change toW192.
Aventura-based Meyers Group Vice Chairman Robert Shapiro confirmed to Growth Spotter that his company has a purchase contract on the 77-acre site and has pulled together a conceptual master plan for a massive new mixed-use entertainment district. The plan was displayed at the ICSC @Florida conference this week in Orlando.
Owned by Fortuna Realty in New York, the one-time Hyatt resort is in a prime location at the northeast quadrant of I-4 and W192. Built in 1974, the sprawling two-story motel sits right across from Celebration and minutes from Disney. It’s the kind of location which Osceola’sW192 Development Authority created its catalyst site incentive grant for, and this one could be eligible for $1.5 million from the authority.2/5
The developer had an off-book pre-application meeting with Osceola County’s planning staff and has sought a zoning verification letter.
Meyers Group is calling the project Park Place and working with RSP Architects on the master site planning. The plan calls for 1,150 residential units spread among four buildings— each 8 stories tall — with another 120,000 square feet of retail and restaurants.
There’s also a 46,000-square-foot movie theater, a 15,000-square-foot food hall and 7-story, 348-key hotel with retail and dining on the ground level. The plan shows a 30,000-square-foot office building adjacent to the hotel complex, with a shared parking garage.
A large village green would separate the hotel pod from a separate entertainment center, which would have 105,400 square feet of retail. The northernmost pod would allocate 10acres for a 110,000-square-foot entertainment venue. Shapiro said they are in discussions with Andretti Indoor Karting & Games to build a second location there.
Shapiro said the plans are still very preliminary and that he is in discussions almost daily with the seller. The biggest hurdle seems to be traffic circulation, as the site has just two access points at Parkway Boulevard and Arabian Nights Boulevard. Both are signalized intersections with dual left-turn lanes, but they may not be able to accommodate the additional vehicle trips from such a large-scale development with parking for over 3,500 vehicles.
Meyers Group has engaged Kimley Horn to conduct a traffic study in consultation with the Florida Department of Transportation, Shapiro said. The primary concern would be the stacking of vehicles on U.S. 192 waiting to make a left turn into the project at Parkway Boulevard.
Fortuna acquired the asset in 2004 with entitlements for more than 4 million square feet of mixed-use development consisting of multifamily, hotel, entertainment and retail uses. It has been on the market since 2018, when the owners settled the outstanding code violations and rezoned it to Commercial Tourist. It would likely have to be rezoned again to comply with the updated Community Center Core future land use.
Last year, New York-based CSC Coliving Co-Founder Sal Smeke said he was in negotiations to buy the asset for $35 million and planned to convert all 960 rooms into studio apartments. Smeke backed out of the deal over the county’s $12,165 per unit school impact fee, which would have added $12 million to the project cost.
Meyers Group founder Stuart Meyers has developed over 20,000 apartments over his more than 50-year career, including the mixed-use Dania Pointe, which was co-developed by Kimco Realty. Earlier this year, the company formed a joint venture with Hallandale Beach-based Accesso, which is known for owning office towers and multifamily projects. The JV formed Meyers Group Partners with the goal of developing 5,000 market-rate apartment units and 1.5 million square feet of retail and office space throughout Florida.
Christina Morris, executive director of the W192 Development Authority, said the community redevelopment agency is sunsetting next month, so the future of the Catalyst Grant program is uncertain. The county has allocated $3 million into a building fund for projects on the corridor, but the administration wants to direct future funds and grants to transportation-related improvements, she said
Morris said the Orlando Sun is such a high-profile location she would expect the county to provide some financial incentives under a retooled grant. “It’s such a cool project,” she said. “I’m sure we could sit down and talk about what we could do. I could definitely see some assistance as they demo the hotel.”