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Celebration, the Community Walt Disney Co. Created Near Orlando, Is Getting Its Third Hotel
 - a 450 room Condo Hotel Being Developed by Related Group and
 Mona Lisa Hotels and Residences of France
By Jack Snyder, The Orlando Sentinel, Fla.McClatchy-Tribune Business News

Aug. 22, 2006 - Celebration, the community Walt Disney Co. created in Osceola County, is getting its third hotel -- the largest one so far.

Mona Lisa Development, the U.S. affiliate of Mona Lisa Hotels and Residences of France, is partnering with the Related Group of Florida, one of the state's biggest condo builders, to build a 450-room condo hotel in the southern part of the community.

The French company's affiliate is already building a 240-suite Mona Lisa at Celebration condo hotel at the north end of Celebration, near U.S. Highway 192.

That project, the French company's first U.S. venture, is 90 percent sold, according to Bill Haberman, principal and chief operating officer of the U.S. affiliate.

The Celebration Co. sold 14 acres on Celebration Boulevard near World Drive for the new condo hotel, which is scheduled to be under construction next year. The hotel's buildings will range from nine to 16 stories. The complex will include one- and two-bedroom suites, a restaurant and a conference center.

The venture is the Related Group's first in Central Florida. Established in 1979, the Miami-based developer has built more than 55,000 apartment and condo units.

Haberman said he and his partners view Orlando as the best condo-hotel market in the world, with Celebration a special location. "Celebration has it all," he said, noting the community's ambience and features such as the golf course and the Celebration Health hospital.

Haberman said units at the Mona Lisa at Celebration are priced from the $300,000s to the mid-$500,000s. He said projected prices at the new hotel could range from the high $300,000s to just more than $700,000.

The first hotel in Celebration was the 115-room Celebration Hotel, which local hotelier Richard Kessler opened in 1999.

There may be more to come: Four Seasons Hotels Inc., the Toronto-based luxury-hotel operator, bought nearly 400 acres at the south end of Celebration in 2002. Tentative plans suggested a 400- to 450-room hotel, a golf course, time-share units and a few fractional-use luxury homes.

Andrea Finger, spokeswoman for the Celebration Co., said Four Seasons has not set a construction date yet.

Development interest in the community is strong, she said. The Celebration Co., a Disney affiliate, has sold two parcels during the past year for construction of 190,000 square feet of office space.

Jack Snyder can be reached at 407-420-5094 or jsnyder@orlandosentinel.com.

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Copyright (c) 2006, The Orlando Sentinel, Fla.

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