|By Jerry W. Jackson, The Orlando Sentinel, Fla.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Sep. 13, 2005 - The former Holiday Inn in downtown Orlando will be converted to a luxury condo-hotel as the first phase of a total makeover of the 4.5-acre property, project developers said Monday.
The 228 units will range from $179,000 for studio units to a penthouse suite expected to sell for more than $1.75 million, said George Kalivretenos, one of the partners in the newly formed development group Orlando CityPlace LLC.
To be called The Lexington, the hotel is now undergoing a $25 million renovation of the interior and exterior, and units should be available for delivery in March or April, Kalivretenos said.
"We will be aiming for a four- or five-star quality," he said, with "a very European feel."
While most of the units will be studio-style, 52 will be one-bedroom units that will sell for $329,000, he said. In a condo-hotel, owners can use units on their own or rent them out for hotel use through an on-site management company.
The property, at Colonial Drive and Hughey Avenue next to Interstate 4, was recently refurbished following damage from last year's hurricanes and is operating as part of the America's Best Value Inn chain.
Barry Greer of St. Cloud is a partner in the Best Value Inn chain as well as one of the three principals in Orlando CityPlace, along with Kalivretenos, who lives in Celebration, and Robert H. Stoehr of Wisconsin.
The hotel will close in December for the final phase of the conversion work and will reopen in the spring as the condo-hotel managed by Regency Management, Kalivretenos said.
A former Angel's Diner on the north side of the hotel will be incorporated into the project but a full-service restaurant will remain, Kalivretenos said. Some of the former restaurant space will be taken out to make way for a condo tower on the north side of the property, he said, and long-range plans call for construction of a five-story building on the south side of the existing hotel.
The top two floors of the five-story building would be devoted to a spa and exercise facilities, while the bottom three floors would have retail and office space. Two homes on the property will be razed to make room for the project. Plans for the condo tower are incomplete, but at least 1,000 units are projected, Kalivretenos said.
Orlando CityPlace acquired the property in four parcels from multiple property owners for a total of about $22 million.
A developer who has specialized in single-family projects in the past, Kalivretenos said the downtown location as well as the timing are right for the former Holiday Inn property to be converted to a condo-hotel. He said he also is developing Savona, an upscale single-family project in the Dr. Phillips area, where Brentwood Customs Homes will be building.
Kalivretenos, 49, said he has worked for a number of developers in the past, most recently serving for about three years as Central Florida division president for Sunland Homes, a single-family project developer based in Leesburg.
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