|By Sara K. Clarke, The Orlando Sentinel,
Fla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jan. 10, 2011--Plans for a hotel adjacent to the south Orlando headquarters of Darden Restaurants have stalled out, prompting the company to look for a new developer that can keep the project alive.
Darden confirmed last week that construction of the 129-room Courtyard by Marriott, first announced in December 2010, did not move forward under the original developer, the Legacy Cos. The hotel was scheduled to open in the middle of 2012.
Darden spokesman Rich Jeffers said the company intends to pursue the project with another developer. Jeffers said the company is talking with potential partners but has no timeline for the hotel's opening.
A hotel has been among the plans for Darden's new headquarters campus for years. To be built by the headquarters building on John Young Parkway at Taft Vineland Road, the hotel was to provide lodging for Darden's employee-training programs but was also expected to be open to the public. The site is just off the Beachline Expressway a couple of miles east of the International Drive tourist corridor.
At the time the project was announced, Darden said it would not be involved in financing the project but had pledged to fill a minimum number of rooms each month.
The Legacy Cos. is an affiliate of Legacy Hotel Advisors, which was started by Tom Hutchison, a prominent Orlando real estate executive who led CNL Hotels & Resorts Inc., which was sold in 2007. Calls to Hutchison and Legacy Hotel Advisors were not returned Monday.
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