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Buena Vista Hospitality Group Acquires the 1,100 room Sheraton
World Orlando Resort; Plans to Drop Sheraton Affiliation
and Convert to a Condo Hotel
By Christopher Boyd, The Orlando Sentinel, Fla.McClatchy-Tribune Business News 

September 29, 2006 - A Tampa resort-development group has purchased the Sheraton World Orlando Resort on International Drive, with plans to immediately begin a $30 million renovation of its 1,100 hotel rooms as well as its public areas and meeting halls.

Buena Vista Hospitality Group will rename the hotel the International Plaza Resort & Spa, dropping its affiliation with Sheraton. It also plans to convert the resort into a condominium hotel.

"It should be a very active meeting destination," said Mike Frost, Buena Vista's chief executive officer. "When the renovations are complete, it will be a four-star hotel."

The hotel, located on 28 acres adjacent to SeaWorld Orlando, was built in the early 1980s. It has about 70,000 square feet of convention space.

Frost would not disclose how much his company paid for the hotel, which it purchased in partnership with UrbanAmerica, a New York-based private equity real estate group.

The hotel will remain open during the 18-month renovation. The revamped resort will have a tropical theme, Frost said.

"It needs to be refurbished and brought up to date," he said.

Buena Vista owns several other Central Florida properties, including the Doubletree Club Lake Buena Vista on State Road 535 near Disney World. That hotel includes a restaurant and deli, three swimming pools and a spa.

Christopher Boyd can be reached at cboyd@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5723. 

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

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News. For reprints, email tmsreprints@permissionsgroup.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA. 



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