Huge Vacant Resort Near Disney Unveils Rebirth Plan

A huge vacant resort near Disney World is getting a new name and at least $10 million in upgrades, including a new lazy river, amenity deck and clubhouse. An opening is now planned for September or October.

The 890-unit resort has been sitting vacant since it was built in 2008. Formerly called Grande Palisades, it will be rebranded now as The Grove Resort & Spa.

BTI Partners, which is a part owner now, has hired Benchmark Hospitality to run the resort as a condo hotel. “By early spring, we will start repainting and start interior remodeling, and construction on the spa, fitness center and lobby,” said Kevin Mays, project manager for BTI. Upgrades will also include major rehabs for the central courtyard and surrounding landscaping. BTI has filed plans with Orange County's Development Review Committee for the amenity deck.

The resort, 15665 Grande Palisades Blvd., is only a few miles west of Disney World’s west entrance,  which in turn is a few more miles west of the theme parks themselves.

During the Great Recession, the property became subject to a $150 million foreclosure – one of the largest in Central Florida. Only 300 units were ever finished, and they were never occupied. The entire complex will now be renovated and repainted. BTI has hired Orlando architects L2 Studios. The general contractor is Welbro Building Corporation.

Grande Palisades was built by a team of developers led by Paul Oxley. Many previous buyers lost down payments on the units under the previous owners, mostly from the United Kingdom. Oxley filed for bankruptcy and fled the country. Mays said he expects new buyers will also be international.

The area west of Disney World is much less developed than the eastern and southern corridors, but there is some new activity there, including new hotels at Flamingo Crossings. The nearest big intersection to The Grove is Hartzog Road and State Road 545 (Avalon Road.) The area was also known as Lake Austin Preserve at one time.

A fund affiliated with Connecticut-based Westport Capital Partners and BTI bought the debt on the property, and won ownership in an auction.

Source: Orlando Sentinel


Garry Walmsley

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