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Brazilian hotel investor scoops up another I-Drive hotel

International Drive is hot with hotels changing hands, and now the International Palms Resort & Conference Center joins the group of recently acquired hotels.

The 652-room property, at 6515 International Drive and just south of Wet ‘n Wild, was bought by Brasif, a Brazil-based real estate investment firm, from Lone Star Funds in Dallas for an undisclosed amount. If the Brasif name sounds familiar, it’s because that group also owns the Avanti Resort on south I-Drive near Pointe Orlando and the proposed 357-room Uniq hotel that has yet to break ground next to the Avanti property.

“This will be a similar type of scenario like when we converted the old Econo Lodge into the Avanti Resort in the past. We liked the location of the International Palms and we believe the property has high potential for repositioning it within the market,” Marco Manzie, president of Paramount Hospitality Management, told Orlando Business Journal. Paramount is a long-term partner with Brasif and has been the local presence for the Brasif properties.

Manzie said the company is already into the design phase of a redevelopment plan and will shut down the International Palms in early 2017. Immediately, a 10-month renovation will begin on all aspects of the interior design. It will reopen with a new name and brand by October 2017. Many of the details of the renovation still are being determined.

One of the big aspects that attracted Brasif was the hotel’s 20,000 square feet of meeting space, Manzie said, noting the Avanti property doesn’t have as much to offer so this complemented the company’s portfolio. Most of the hotel’s 125 employees will work at the firm’s other properties during the renovation or the hotel will help them find a job elsewhere temporarily until it reopens. It still will cater to both leisure and business travelers.

According to HREC Investment Advisors, which represented the seller, the hotel originally was built in 1970 and underwent a $4.4 million renovation in 2011 that upgraded the rooms. “Simply put, the International Palms Orlando represents the last great value-add hotel-buying opportunity in the International Drive trade area – whether one pursues the execution of a more focused ‘independent’ hotel strategy or becoming affiliated with an up-and-coming brand,” said HREC’s brochure for the property. The hotel’s seller was represented by HREC’s Paul Sexton, Scott Stephens and Kyle Halbrook.

This is the latest hotel to find new ownership on I-Drive. For example, the 176-room Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Orlando was acquired by Largo-based Equity Management Partners on Oct. 6.

I-Drive’s hotel market is expected to continue to change ownership as hotel investment groups want to get a piece of the region’s 66 million annual visitors. Theme parks, attractions and major dining, retail and entertainment destination projects have assured several more years of buzz for the region that will help drive more visitation.

Reference: https://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/news/2016/10/17/breakingbrazilian-hotel-investor-scoops-up-another.html