Orlando's tourism corridor: More than $2 billion of high-profile development planned for 2018 and beyond in the thriving I-Drive Resort Area
ORLANDO, FL (July 2018) - The I-Drive Resort Area continues to increase its presence as a major player in Orlando's booming hospitality industry. The past several years have brought changes to the tourism corridor.
2015: A banner year for development
This is the year it all began with the opening of these highly anticipated and landscape-changing projects:
, $200 million entertainment destination and home to the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye
opened in the heart of International Drive. The 400-foot, iconic observation wheel is the centerpiece of the themed complex featuring a dynamic blend of attractions, restaurants, nonstop entertainment and shops. USA Today Travel
named the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye the second largest observation wheel at 400 feet tall. Read about it here
Joining the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye as part of I-Drive 360’s unique line-up of attractions, are world-famous Madame Tussauds, SEA LIFE Aquarium, SKELETONS: Animals Unveiled! and Arcade City
. Twice a day, visitors also enjoy a $1.5 million water show set to music and color-changing lights. The complex offers free parking in its 1,600-space garage. i-drive360.com
Mango's Tropical Cafe & Nightclub Complex
opened its $40 million, 55,000-square-foot restaurant and nightclub providing nonstop live entertainment, dancing and dining. The Latin-themed restaurant and club is an expansion of the Mango's brand in South Beach and is the newest nighttime hotspot on I-Drive. mangos.com
In addition to these exciting, new attractions, visitors continue to find endless fun in the I-Drive Resort Area including six of the world's most famous theme parks (SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, Aquatica - SeaWorld's Waterpark, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay Water Park), restaurants, dinner shows, shopping experiences, mega entertainment complexes, smaller family style attractions and spas.
2016: The trend continues
Development in 2016 kept moving forward with new attractions such as SeaWorld's Mako Coaster, Universal's Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster and Skull Island Reign of Kong, Main Event at Pointe Orlando and Breakout Escape Rooms Orlando. New dining venues were also added, including the new McDonald's - World's Largest Play Place, Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen and a completely re-designed Tony Roma's. Loews Sapphire Resort and Home 2 Suites by Hilton Orlando both opened their doors to guests and Alexan Crossroads and The Courtney Apartments at Universal Blvd. started leasing, adding more residents to the Resort Area. As well as a new Seabra Foods grocery store.
2017: No slowing down
With 33 projects tracked by the District, development definitely did not slow down in 2017. We saw many new attractions such as Volcano Bay Water Park, Topgolf Orlando, Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, iFly Orlando Indoor Skydiving, Universal's Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, and Lockbusters Escape Game. SeaWorld Orlando opened a new and improved Dolphin Nursery, the Aquatica Pass Member Pavilion, Flamecraft Bar and Kraken Unleashed. Three new restaurants started serving guests: Pio Pio, Uncle Julio's and Pollo Tropical. Hogan's Beach Shop, CVS Pharmacy and the brand new Visit Orlando's Official Visitors Center all opened their doors.
The I-Drive Pedestrian Bridge between the Orange County Convention Center and Hyatt Orlando opened to allow pedestrians to safely cross above International Drive. The I-4 Ultimate project completed the Grand National Drive Overpass & Kirkman Road Interchange which connects the Major Blvd. area to north International Drive.
It was a record year for accommodations as new & existing hotels accounted for ten projects, giving guests even more options for their stay in the I-Drive Resort Area: Cabana Bay Beach Resort Expansion, Calypso's Pool Bar & Grille at Caribe Royale, DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld expansion, Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Orlando, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Orlando at SeaWorld, Homewood Suites Orlando Theme Park, Las Palmeras by Hilton Grand Vacations, Staybridge Suites Orlando at SeaWorld, TownePlace Orlando at SeaWorld, and Westgate Lakes Resorts & Spa.
Finally, five new residential complexes came online: Ancora Apartment Homes, Axis West, Lake View Apartments, Lantower Grande Pines and Westwood Apartments. All helping to make the I-Drive Resort Area a great place to dine, shop, play and live!
2018: Newly opened
Hyatt House Orlando Universal
started construction on their second Orlando location on Caravan Ct. It will be a 9-story hotel with 168 units. Opened June 2018. house.hyatt.com
Starflyer-Vue at 360
is the world's tallest spinning swing ride at 440 feet. The tower ride reaches speeds of 40 mph as riders reach the top and begin spinning. The ride seats 24 passengers. Grand opening was June 2018. starflyer.com
Air Force Fun North
at Orlando Crossings Mall is taking now taking flight at Orlando Crossings Mall as of June 2018. The 2,400-square-foot helicopter tour facility will include a two-story building with two helicopter pads. airforcefun.com
Solaya Luxury Apartments
to include eight four-story buildings with elevators, 322 units, 8,500-square-foot clubhouse. Opened May 2018. www.livesolaya.com
Ray Rush at Aquatica SeaWorld's Waterpark
is a new family raft slide that offers guests three unique slide elements, allowing them to slide, splash and soar. Opened May 12, 2018. aquatica.com
has a new free-standing location with drive-thru on S. Kirkman. Opened May 2018. www.dunkindonuts.com
Fast and Furious: Supercharged
officially opened April 23, 2018 at Universal Orlando. Buckle your seat belts and read about it here
Residence Inn near Universal Studios
, opened a five-story, 145,000-square-foot, extended-stay hotel with 196 rooms, this March 2018. marriott.com
, known for their exclusive offerings and unique doughnuts, opened their doors at Universal's CityWalk this March 2018. blog.universalorlando.com
Andy's Frozen Custard
quick service frozen dessert restaurant is serving up sweet treats as of March 2018. www.eatandys.com
Under new management, the International Palms Resort & Conference Center, a 653-room property had shut down for a 10-month renovation. It has been rebranded as Avanti Palms Resort & Conference Center
. Renovations include lobby, guest rooms, dining areas, pools & 20,000 SF of meeting space. Grand re-opening March 2018. avantipalmsresort.com
is a new mid-rise luxury apartment community to include 309 units, a zero-entry pool, exercise room with indoor hot and cold plunge pools and a resident game room that will include an indoor golf simulator. Opened February 2018. www.solsticeorlando.com
The International Drive widening project
completed its expansion from four to six lanes from South Westwood Blvd. to North Westwood Blvd. in January 2018. For more details, check here
Lexus of Orlando
to build a 175,000-square-foot showroom and maintenance facility. Opened January 2018. www.lexusoforlando.com
2018: A look at things to come
Universal Orlando Resort
has confirmed their sixth hotel, the Aventura Hotel
. The hotel will be 17 stories with an all-glass design, including a lounge called Bar 17 Bistro. The 600-room hotel is scheduled to open August 16, 2018. blog.universalorlando.com
is adding a new location on the north end of International Drive at Fun Spot Way. It will include a convenience store and gas station and is expected completion in August 2018. www.7-eleven.com
Rock Dinner Show at Orlando Forum
will open their doors this summer. This nightly Vegas-style family friendly dinner show will feature tribute concerts of the most iconic rock & pop artists of all time. rockdinnershow.com
is ready to rush the rapids with Infinity Falls
, a family river raft ride with the world's tallest river rapid drop, coming summer 2018. seaworldparks.com
Westgate Resort Condominiums
is planning a second building, also eight-story, 80-unit is scheduled for completion summer 2018. westgateresorts.com
, a two-tenant retail building is being built at the Regency Village Shopping Center. Starbucks
is one confirmed tenant. Expected opening is summer 2018. www.srse.com
Kirkman Point II Office Development
is a 134,000 SF, Class A, four-story office building with an accompanying five-story, 1215 space parking garage. Completion expected summer 2018. www.cbre.com
Home2 Suites by Hilton
began construction on a new 6-story hotel with 122 units in June 2017. Anticipated opening is fall 2018. home2suites3.com
a three-phase retail center along Daryl Carter Parkway, anticipates breaking ground in June 2017. Total of 69.41 acres and 447,500-square-feet of retail space, to include: Burlington Coat Factory, Marshalls, Boot Barn, First Watch, Ulta Beauty, Midici: The Neopolitan Pizza Company, amongst others. Phase 1 opens 2018. oconnorcp.com
Pointe Orlando welcomes Hopdoddy Burger Bar
, an upscale burger restaurant, later this year. Serving Angus burgers, salads, milkshakes & full bar, Hopdoddy will open in 4,471-square-feet in the space formally known as Funky Monkey. hopdoddy.com
expects to open on I-Drive in 2018. The $28 million property plans to have 175 rooms. house.hyatt.com
The Hollywood Plaza Parking Garage to open as a seven-story entertainment and parking complex located directly next to Mango’s Restaurant & Nightclub. To include a rooftop restaurant, 10 level, 880 space parking facility, 9,500 square-feet of ground level retail and office space. Opening 2018.
The Orange County Convention Center (OCCC)
is in full swing with its Capital Improvement Plan
, representing the largest renovation project in the venue’s history. Taking place primarily within the OCCC’s West Building, the plan includes upgrades and enhancements, as well as adding a number of new spaces like the new Tangerine ballroom, upgraded meeting rooms and boardrooms. For completions to date and upcoming projects, visit www.occc.net/cip
. Full completion expected in 2018.
The Grand National
16.5-acre mixed-use project is underway on North International Drive. It will include 60,000 -square-feet of retail and restaurant space. Bahama Breeze, Starbucks, Longhorn Steakhouse and U.S. Gift Factory are already confirmed. A new TownePlace Suites by Marriott has also signed on for a 7-story, 148 unit hotel. Completion 2018 through 2020. www.naproperties.com/projects/grand-national/
2019 and beyond
A six-story, 144 room Holiday Inn & Suites at Regency Village
is being constructed near Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets. Expected completion is March 2019. www.ihg.com
is adding Sesame Street
that will include rides, interactive experiences, character meets and a daily parade. Guests will be able to explore the iconic neighborhood first hand. Opening is scheduled for spring 2019. seaworldparks.com
A new Element Hotel
is breaking ground this year at I-Drive 360. This 8-story, 165 unit hotel is anticipating a summer 2019 opening. www.starwoodhotels.com
Endless Summer Resort: Surfside Inn & Suites
and Dockside Inn & Suites
are the much anticipated development on the former Wet 'n Wild property. The Surfside Inn & Suites will be a 750-room 'surf culture' themed resort and has a summer 2019 anticipated completion date. The Dockside Inn & Suites will be a 2,050-room resort with completion anticipated in 2020. The resorts combined will include three pools, two food courts, parking garage and poolside bars. blog.universalorlando.com
Tru by Hilton
, an 8-story, 259 suite concept hotel has just started their site work. The hotel will be located across from the Orange County Convention Center and has a target opening date of November 2019. tru3.hilton.com
The Hampton Social
will be moving into the former Tommy Bahama's eatery at Pointe Orlando. This restaurant specializes in seafood, pizza & brunches. www.thehamptonsocial.com
Sand Lake Road Improvement Project
expects completion in late 2019 of work that includes widening to six lanes, bike paths and new sidewalks. Extends from I-Drive to Universal Blvd. cflroads.com
SKYPLEX Entertainment Complex
will open with Skyscraper, the world’s tallest roller coaster at more than 500 feet. Also: SkyFall - a 450-foot drop ride, Skyfly - a 600-foot zipline, Skysurf Park, SkyLedge thrill experience, Sky Jump - 500-foot free fall dive attraction, SkyPlaza - retail & dining area, open-air promenade, indoor arcade, 450-room hotel, and go-kart track. Project size: 1.5 million square feet. Projected completion 2020. mangos.com/skyplex
I-Drive dedicated transit lanes
from Sand Lake Road to the Beachline plan with projected completion in 2021. Approximately three miles of dedicated transit bus lanes from Sand Lake Road to the Beachline. New sidewalks, landscaping, and signage. orangecountyfl.net
The iSquare Mall & Hotel
anticipates an early 2019 ground breaking. Including the flags Capella Suites and Solis Orlando Hotel, which will total two 23-story towers and 539 rooms, the project will also include a multi-level upscale mall, seven-story parking garage, luxury spa, rooftop infinity pool, heliport and ice rink. Estimated completion is 2022. www.isquareusa.com
The Hilton Orlando
is renovating their pool-area amenities. In addition to aesthetic updates, they are adding a children's splash pad, expanding the adult-only "quiet" pool and adding a new walk-in cooler to the pool bar area. Plans to expand the Marketplace area in the lobby are also underway. The pool-area was completed this spring 2018. The Marketplace completion is unknown at this time. www.thehiltonorlando.com
WoodSpring Suites Signature Hotel
will begin construction late 2018. Completion is unknown for this 4-story, 139 room hotel. www.woodspring.com
Super Nintendo World
is coming to Universal Orlando Resort
. This themed area will be expansive, immersive and interactive, filled with multiple attractions, shops and restaurants based on Nintendo's iconic games, heroes and villains. blog.universalorlando.com
The Reserve at Shingle Creek Resort
has a multi-phase expansion currently in progress. Phase one, completed early 2018, was golf course improvements. Phase two will include a 133,000 SF operations building with parking and a 36,000 SF laundry facility. Phase three will be a multi-level parking garage and phase four will include a 640 room, 16-story condo tower, walk-in pool & lazy river and 150,000 SF of additional convention space. rosenshinglecreek.com
I-Drive 2040 Vision Plan
Recognizing the importance of creating a shared vision for the International Drive Area, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs appointed a Steering Review Group (SRG) composed of I-Drive-area stakeholders and landowners who are committed to maintaining I-Drive as the world’s premier global destination for tourism and family entertainment. She envisioned a vibrant International Drive corridor that would be a dynamic gathering place for visitors and residents alike. See the plan here
Quotes from I-Drive stakeholders and partners:
"I have had the opportunity to call the Rosen Inn International (formerly the Quality Inn International) located at 7600 International Drive, my home, from 1974 to 1990. Now spanning some 42 plus years as an owner-operator of multiple hotels in the district, one can only imagine the tremendous growth and development we have had the distinct privilege of being intimately involved with.
The International Drive district features our World Class Orange County Convention Center, dozens of spectacular hotels, fine dining, and numerous exciting entertainment venues. In addition, specialty retailers and an assortment of merchants can be found on virtually every street corner. We currently enjoy a robust marketplace thanks to our diverse base of visitors; tourists, conventioneers and locals.
I remain confident that we will continue to adapt to our ever changing environment and provide the finest service and hospitality anywhere in the world. I am extremely optimistic regarding future development in the district and remain poised to do my part to ensure that I-Drive remains a legendary destination."
Harris Rosen, President, Rosen Hotels & Resorts
"Unicorp National Developments sees a very big future with International Drive. And as we are currently the largest property owner on I-Drive with 77 acres, our plan is to redevelop much of this property to take advantage of the exciting, new, urbanism vision that has been approved for the I-Drive District. This will include hotels, restaurants and even more entertainment. Thousands of Orlando Eye riders experience the landscape of Central Florida from 400 feet each day and we are excited to be part of I-Drive and the growth and future of Orange County. This is where it all happens and we are thrilled to be part of it."
Chuck Whittall, President Unicorp Companies
“International Drive is the most burgeoning entertainment district in the world, and Orange County is in the process of implementing the ground-breaking I-Drive 2040 Vision that sets the tone for the District to continue to be the most visited leisure and convention market in the world. We look forward to the future as we work toward the opening this year of our 800-space parking garage complex with a rooftop restaurant and to the future opening of Skyplex."
Joshua Wallack of Wallack Holdings, COO Mango’s Tropical Café Orlando /Managing Principal, Skyplex
“AMP Group / Perfumeland was born and raised on International Drive starting with just a 1,200-square- foot perfume shop in the mid 90’s. As Perfumeland grew, so did our company with a number of new investments into the International Drive area culminating with the addition of the Orlando Crossings Mall and I-Drive NASCAR Indoor Kart Racing facility. Our company’s expansion is a direct result of the wonderful growth we have seen to Orlando and its tourism industry in the last few years. I-Drive has been a catalyst for the growth of our region. We are truly excited over the I-Drive 2040 Vision and what the future holds.”
Alejandro Pezzini, Chief Operating Officer, AMP Group
Contact: Luann Brooks, Executive Director
I-Drive Business Improvement District
Orlando's Most Dynamic Destination!
Updated: July 17, 2018
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