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Orlando Set To Dominate Condo Hotel Market
By Bob Ostrander

 
Greater Orlando has approximately 120,000 hotel guest rooms. While that’s far more than most U.S. cities, many hotel and condo hotel developers are confident there’s still room for expansion in this popular tourist and convention destination.


Orlando leading the condo hotel boom'
As one of the world’s top vacation destinations, Orlando offers beautiful weather, unparalleled theme parks, incredible shopping, championship golf and close proximity to top-notch beaches.
In the hospitality field, the city has long been noted for its many hotels and timeshares. But now, it has also taken a leadership position in the condo hotel market with more properties under development than any other city in the country.


Condo hotels offer hassle-free ownership;
Because condo hotels are a new type of vacation home ownership, it’s not surprising that they’re popular in Orlando, the vacation capital of the world.


These fabulously-furnished condominium suites in luxury hotels and resorts offer visitors fantastic amenities like full-service spas, state-of-the-art health clubs, resort-style pools, extravagant clubhouses, upscale restaurants and 24-hour concierge services.
Owners can use their condo hotel vacation homes when they want and place them in the hotel’s rental program the rest of the time. They’ll receive a share of the revenue their unit generates, typically about 50%. Because the onsite hotel management company takes care of finding guests and maintaining and operating the property, condo hotels offer hassle-free ownership.


Expansion of the hospitality sector to include condo hotels'
Greater Orlando has approximately 120,000 hotel guest rooms. While that’s far more than most U.S. cities, many hotel and condo hotel developers are confident there’s still room for expansion in this popular tourist and convention destination. They cite the following facts about the Orlando market as the reasons for their optimism:
• Approximately 50 million visitors come to Orlando each year, and that number is continually growing.


• Orlando is the vacation capital of the world. With new attractions continually being built, it shows no signs of relinquishing that prestigious title.


• In addition to theme parks, Orlando attracts visitors with its 200+ championship golf courses, 800+ tennis courts, numerous world-class shopping venues, and a high concentration of lakes ideal for fishing and water sports.


• Hotel occupancy rates in Orlando are historically 73%, although many properties report occupancy rates of over 83%. These rates are among the highest occupancy rates in the country.
• Orlando’s average daily rate for rooms is 4% above the national average.


• The Orange County Convention Center in Orlando is the third largest in the country, enabling it to attract major trade shows and conventions and keep hotel rooms filled year-round. Over one billion delegates attend conventions at the Orange County Convention Center each year. In 2005 and 2006 Orlando was able to absorb many of the conventions and trade shows planned for the Louisiana Superdome.


• Attendance at Orlando’s theme parks grows annually, and their reach extends far beyond U.S. borders. The theme parks spend millions of dollars each year on worldwide marketing and promotions. Attendance at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, the area’s largest theme park, is estimated at over 15 million annually.


• Orlando is strategically positioned in the center of the state, making it an easy visit from Florida cities north, south, east and west.


• Orlando International Airport is seeing annual increases in traffic of approximately 20%, making it one of the top 20 busiest airports in the U.S. and within the top 30 for the world. It is ranked #1 by JD Powers in passenger satisfaction.


• Florida is the single most preferred state by Americans for a recreational property purchase according to the ARDA (American Resort Development Association).


• Foreign buyers favor Orlando over other Florida and U.S. cities. They account for 23% of Orlando home sales, according to the National Association of Realtors. International buyers are more likely to purchase higher-priced homes, and these purchases are likely to be used as a vacation home (38%) or as investment property.


Many condo hotels already under construction;
There are 15 to 20 condo hotels currently selling units or under construction in Orlando. Many more are in the planning stage, including some that will be large-scale, mixed-use projects incorporating spas, golf courses, town centers, stores and restaurants. A few of the biggest projects are over 1,000 units and will include water parks as on-site attractions.
Some of the condo hotels will be new construction while others will be conversions of existing hotels and resorts. Most will be of three- to five-star caliber and in close proximity to Orlando’s theme parks, attractions and golf courses.
Some of the condo hotels will have well-known franchise operators like Sonesta, Starwood and Hilton while others will be run by independent hospitality firms.
Orlando Condo Hotels Offer Value
Orlando condo hotel units tend to be larger than those found in cities like Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Designed to accommodate the many families and extended families that come to the area theme parks, two-, three- and even four-bedroom units in Orlando properties are not uncommon. In South Florida cities, you primarily find studios and one-bedroom units.
Orlando condo hotel units also tend to cost significantly less per square foot than South Florida condo hotels. In Orlando, you can expect to pay $400 - $700 per square foot. You can find a luxury unit with resort amenities starting at $350,000.
In South Florida, most condo hotels start at $500,000 and up, significantly more if they’re oceanfront. Miami condo hotel units range from $1,000 to $2,400 per square foot, and Ft. Lauderdale condo hotels range from $1,000 to $1,300 per square foot.
Although real estate appreciation has been occurring at an astounding rate of 20% to 30% per year throughout Orlando, many buyers still consider Orlando to be a good value when compared to other Florida locales and when all that the city has to offer is taken into consideration.

A Branded Urban Lifestyle For Second-Home Owners
BY DAVID DEVOSS
FOR INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY
Posted 3/23/2006
"Moonlight as a VIP. Guests demanding top-rate business facilities fully wired for maximum productivity share the elevator with travelers on the prowl during a hedonistic holiday of beauty treatments, top restaurants and a lively night life.“
Sound like your cup of tea? Well, for just a bit over $500 a square foot you, too, can buy a piece of the new W Hotel & Residences.
The focal point of Victory Park, a $3 billion minicity sprawling across 75 acres near the heart of downtown Dallas, the 250-room W Hotel will set a new standard of opulence when it opens in June. But the hottest properties in town are atop the hotel: 66 condos priced from $400,000 to $7 million.
"We're selling an urban lifestyle to people in their 20s with trust funds and married professionals in their 40s," explained Clay Likover, a senior associate with developer Hillwood Capital. "We have a psychographic, not a demographic."
The W Hotel & Residences is part of a property development trend that has spread fast over the past two years: the condotel. Throughout the U.S., hotels in prime urban areas are being redeveloped to include homes that can be bought outright like a normal condominium or acquired on a fractional basis.
In White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., the 200-year-old Greenbriar resort is getting into the ownership game by building 500 homes on lots ranging from $400,000 to $2 million. So is the Fontainebleau Hilton Resort in Miami Beach, which manages two condo towers.
Most new condotels are not resorts, however. More often they are redeveloped historic buildings in big cities with strong condo markets, high hotel occupancy rates and shopping and cultural amenities that entice baby boomers interested in a second home.
Because they are selling a lifestyle, most are run by luxury brands like Mandarin Oriental, Starwood's St. Regis, Marriott's Ritz-Carlton and Hilton's Conrad division.
"Eighty percent of hotel condos are bought as second homes and 20% for appreciation and tax benefits," said Robert Falor, CEO of privately held Falor Cos. in Chicago. "This is a way to own a second home without the hassles.“
Falor owns three existing hotel condos in Chicago. It also has seven projects in South Florida. It plans to expand to Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Fractional owners buy access to a specific hotel room for a set number of days. Unlike a time share, a fractionally owned room is real property that can be depreciated, resold or passed on to heirs. Owners not in residence often elect to recoup part of their taxes and mortgage payments by putting their rooms in a rental pool run by the hotel.
Hotel condos often are owned by suburban baby boomers who took some savings out of the stock market after the dotcom collapse and used favorable interest rates to buy a second home in the city. But the amenities and cachet of a luxury hotel do not come cheap.
Besides hefty management fees, owners pay a service charge when they occupy the room. Part of that money is returned when a room in the rental pool is occupied by a paying hotel guest, but not all. Hotels normally take 50% of any rental income a privately owned condo generates plus a 25% booking fee.
For developers, a condotel is all upside. Hotel units sold before construction generate revenue. That can help a developer get construction debt and equity. Lenders usually finance condo hotels with only 20% equity due to pre-construction sales. Otherwise they want 40%.
Also, condos serviced by a four- or five-star hotel sell at a premium above similar luxury condos nearby.
"On average, a hotel condo can be sold for 38% more than a regular condo," said David Parham, a senior analyst with Delta Associates, a real estate research and consulting firm in Alexandria, Va.
The homes and hotel aren't always physically connected.
Late next year, the historic Chronicle Building on San Francisco's Market Street will reopen as The Ritz-Carlton Club & Residences. One of the first homes of the San Francisco Chronicle, the 115-year-old structure will contain 52 privately owned condos and 49 units offered for sale on a fractional basis.
Redeveloped at a cost of $90 million, the building is almost a mile from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Yet the 101 designer-ready homes being developed by Hunter Group of Alameda, Calif., collectively are expected to sell for $250 million.
No one knows for sure how the housing cool-down will affect condotels. Industry officials argue the scarcity of prime urban locations will keep condotels in demand.
The market is luring hotel management firms from Asia and Europe. Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts of Hong Kong is developing condotels in Miami, Chicago and Vancouver, British Columbia.
The Vancouver project includes a 120-room hotel plus homes costing $1.5 million to $2.6 million.
"All but eight of our 288 condo units already are sold, and construction has yet to reach the ground floor," said Stephen Darling, Shangri-La regional vice president.
Buying a five-star condo hotel is not for everyone, Darling cautions. Although separately owned units can be resold as easily as any condo, the market for fractional shares is not as robust. Said Darling: "We're selling a lifestyle to affluent baby boomers, people who want service without the servants.“


LA, Orlando Lead Top 10 Markets To Watch
Written by Mark Heschmeyer
Posted May 15, 2006
Los Angeles is the top retail investment market to watch in Sperry Van Ness' 2006 Top 10 Markets To Watch retail report. This is due to expected growth of 100,000 new residents and 80,000 new jobs in 2006.
In addition, Los Angeles is expected to post the strongest retail sales growth of the firm's markets at 7.9%. Furthermore, vacancy rates have improved to a near-index low of 3.6% with many submarkets recording sub-3% vacancy. While some firms place heavy emphasis on cap rates and prices when reviewing market activity, Sperry Van Ness' report for the retail sector focuses on future trends and the markets that show the greatest potential for income growth based on these economic indicators, rather than historic market data as a truer indication of future performance.
"Investors must analyze forward-looking economic factors when deciding where to acquire property because our research tells us that the best indicators for a property's financial performance are factors such as area employment growth, personal income and vacancy," said David Frosh, president of Sperry Van Ness. "This information is more credible than merely the past analysis of cap rates and further proves that we need to be advisors first when directing our clients' investment interests."
Orlando comes in at number two highlighted by the fact that developers are scheduled to complete only 1.4 million square feet of space this year, less than one-half the average of the past six years. The region will have its lowest vacancy in seven years at 5.3%. Orlando will welcome 52,000 new residents and
44,500 new jobs this year.
In the number three spot is the Puget Sound region with 23,000 new households and 48,000 new jobs in 2006. Fundamentals will continue to improve with vacancy dropping to 4.5% and rent growth reaching 3.6% this year.
As the second Florida market in the top 10, West Palm Beach/Fort Lauderdale finished in the number four spot with 30,000 new residents and 54,000 new jobs expected in 2006. Vacancy will continue to improve with inventory increasing only 1.2% in 2006, the lowest level in four years.
Rounding out the top five is San Diego, which continues to record declining unemployment and a 6% increase in visitor spending. Additionally, San Diego boasts the lowest vacancy rate and highest rental increase among markets examined at below 3% and 5%, respectively.
Spots six through 10 are Phoenix, San Francisco/Oakland, Austin, Denver and San Jose. Each of these markets is expected to see strong population and employment growth in 2006, leading to increased retail sales.
In compiling this report, Sperry Van Ness analyzed more than 100 primary, secondary and tertiary markets examining economic factors that impact future retail investment real estate. The market rankings in this report were focused on dynamics including retail sales and inventory, vacancy factors and rental trends. Capitalization rates and price per square foot for property transactions valued at more than $1 million were also factored in, but to a much lesser degree.

ORLANDO INFORMATION
History
When the second Seminole war ended in 1842, American settlers began following soldiers into Central Florida. Originally named Jernigan after Aaron Jernigan who came from Georgia and settled here in 1843, the town grew slowly around an old Army post -- Fort Gatlin -- that had been abandoned in 1849. The town's name was permanently changed to Orlando in 1857. While different versions of the origin of the name are told, the official account is credited to Orlando Reeves, a U.S. soldier who was killed in 1835 by an Indian's arrow while on sentinel duty at what is now Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando. By a vote of 22 men from the 85 residents, the two-square-mile (5.18-square-kilometer) city was officially incorporated on July 21, 1875. According to the book Flashback - The Story of Central Florida's Past, the undeveloped expanse of land east of the Orlando International Airport still resembles what the first Orlando settlers saw 150 years ago.
Accommodations
More Than 114,000 Rooms
Accommodations range from luxury resorts and themed hotels to economy hotels/motels and campsites. Vacation ownership units, condominiums and houses are also available.
Attractions
Breathtaking & Memory Making
Orlando is home to more than 95 attractions that keep visitors coming back for more. With the excitement of the theme parks, unbelievable museums, sensational shows and thrilling rides and attractions, it would take approximately 62.5 eight-hour days to visit all of the entertaining offerings in Orlando.
Shopping
With nearly 52 million square feet (4.6 million square meters) of retail space, Orlando is one of the fastest growing retail markets in the United States. The destination offers an astonishing array of shopping options that include everything from the latest in electronics and fashion to fine jewelry and antiques. Outlet centers, flea markets and wholesalers offer great bargains, while themed shopping villages mix retail shops with dining and entertainment for a unique experience. Nine regional malls offer the convenience of having brand name department and specialty stores under one roof.
Rejuvenate
Relax with a wide range of treatments in the area’s diverse spa collection including Wyndham Palace Resort & Spa in the Walt Disney World Resort, Euro Day Spa & Salon, Grand Floridian Spa & Health Club, The Papillon Spa at Westgate Lakes, Forte Salon and Spa at the RDV Sportsplex, The Mandara Spa at Portofino Bay Hotel, The Spa at the Orlando World Center Marriott, Canyon Ranch SpaClub at Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center and The Ritz-Carlton Spa.
Dining
More than 4,500 restaurants serve up continental and ethnic cuisine in unique settings. There are more than 52 upscale restaurants within a 10-mile (16-kilometer) radius or Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center.
Arts & Entertainment
Beethoven to Shakespeare.
The Orlando Opera, Orlando Ballet, Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival, Bach Festival Society, The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, SunTrust Broadway in Orlando series and several professional and community theatre companies provide entertainment for visitors of all ages.
Arts & Culture
Orlando's numerous year-round art exhibits and cultural diversity add an extra dimension to make Orlando the perfect vacation or meeting destination. From the world's most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany at The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art and 19th- and 20th-century American art at the Orlando Museum of Art to Eatonville, the nation's oldest incorporated African-American municipality, insightful excursions await Orlando's visitors. Children of all ages can also embark on an
exciting expedition at the Orlando Science Center or relive the early days of Orlando’s citrus farming at the Orange County Regional History Center.
Special Events
More Than 180 Special Events Annually
From rodeo performances and celebrity concerts to ethnic festivals and art shows, Orlando has year-round events to please everyone and add more vacation variety. Visit Orlando’s official Web site, orlandoinfo.com, for a comprehensive calendar of events.
Recreation
Water, Greens, Courts and Teams
Lakes - More than 300 lakes, springs and rivers provide swimming, boating, water skiing
and fishing in the Florida sun.
Golf - Tee off on one of more than 150 golf courses in the Greater Orlando area.
Tennis - Orlando serves up more than 800 tennis courts.
Professional Sports - In addition to the National Basketball Association’s world-renowned team, the Orlando Magic, Orlando offers professional baseball spring training (Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros); Orlando Predators arena football; and the Orlando Seals Hockey Club.
Climate
Warm, Sunny Days & Mild Nights
October - May Average Daily Temperatures
Days - Low 70s F (22 C) to mid 80s F (27 C)
Nights - Low 60s F (16 C) to high 60s F (20 C)
June - September Average Daily Temperatures
Days - Upper 80s F (27 C) to mid 90s F (32 C)
Nights - Upper 60s F (20 C) to mid 70s F (25 C)
Visitation
From Near and Far
Approximately 48 million visitors come to Orlando each year. Of those visitors, approximately 45.2 million are domestic visitors. In 2004 more than half of Orlando’s international visitors were from Western Europe (51.6%) followed by Canada (23%), South America (12.8%) and Asia (4.1%).
Meeting Space
Board Meetings to Citywide Conventions
Orlando is a world-class meeting destination with a variety of facilities that accommodate small meetings as well as large citywide conventions and trade shows.
Orlando's Orange County Convention Center is ranked second in the United States in terms of exhibition space with more than 2.1 million square feet (189,000 square meters). The Center also offers 479,190 square feet (43,127 square meters) of meeting rooms.
Orlando Expo Centre features 74,691 square feet (6,722 square meters) of exhibit space and 150,222 square feet (13,520 square meters) of meeting rooms in downtown Orlando.
Also, more than 2.9 million square feet (261,000 square meters) of space is available in the area's hotels and cultural venues.
Transportation
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
Orlando International Airport - The airport is the 16th busiest in the United States and 28th busiest in the world with approximately 700 commercial operations per day. More than 32 scheduled airlines, 11 charters and nine cargos provide nonstop service to 72 U.S. destinations and 13 international cities as well as direct
service to more than 100 cities worldwide. It is easily accessible and located within 15 miles (24 kilometers) of major attractions, meeting facilities and downtown Orlando. Shuttle vans, buses, taxis, limousines and rental cars are readily available. The airport has won numerous awards for its architectural design and aesthetics. For two consecutive years, Orlando International Airport was named by the International Air Transport Association survey as the number one airport in North America and number one in the world for overall passenger satisfaction for airports serving more than 30 million passengers annually. For the second time, the facility finished highest in overall passenger satisfaction in the large-airport category in J.D. Power and Associates’ 2001 Report. More information can be found at www.orlandoairports.net.
Roadways - Major highway networks provide easy access for visitors to reach their destinations and for traveling in and around the Greater Orlando area. Major highways include Interstate 4, the Florida Turnpike, Highway 528 (Bee Line Expressway), Highway 408 (East-West Expressway) and Highway 417 (Central Florida Greeneway).
Train Service - Amtrak serves Orlando with two daily trains originating from New York and Miami or Tampa with stops in downtown Orlando, Winter Park, Sanford and Kissimmee, as well as with a triweekly train originating from Los Angeles. Amtrak also offers the Auto Train, which transports passengers and their vehicles and features the comfort of bi-level Superliner sleepers, a diner and a lounge. The Auto Train runs daily between Lorton, Va., and Sanford, leaving each town at 4 p.m. and arriving at the destination at 8:30 a.m. the next day.
About town – In addition to taxi and limousine service to anywhere in the Greater Orlando area, the city's Lynx bus system provides economical public transportation around Orlando. Bus stops are marked with a "paw" print of a Lynx cat. The downtown Orlando Lymmo bus system provides free transit reaching from the T.D. Waterhouse Centre to City Hall. The I-Ride Trolleys serve the popular International Drive Resort Area year-round, seven days a week, from 8 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. with scheduled stops every 20 minutes. The 78 route stops are designated with numbered “I-Ride” location markers. Returning to the horse-and-buggy days, carriage rides are also available through local vendors in downtown Orlando.
Regional Offerings
Best known for its world-famous theme parks, Central Florida offers a wealth of vacation options all within an hour’s drive from Orlando. Sun-drenched beaches with refreshing water; scenic nature preserves filled with rare species of wildlife; high-energy spectator and participatory sports; unique cultural, educational and historic attractions; out-of-this-world technology; retail, antique and boutique shopping; nightly entertainment options; and a wide range of dining selections create the world’s most diverse vacation destination.
Time Zone
Orlando is in the Eastern time zone.
Population
More than 1.8 million people reside in Greater Orlando, which consists of Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Lake counties.
Visitor Information
Official Visitor Center
8723 International Drive, Suite 101
Orlando, FL 32819
Operating Hours: 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. daily (closed Dec. 25)
On the southeast corner of International Drive and Austrian Row. Free Orlando Magicard® discount card available.
United States & Canada: Call toll-free at 800-551-0181
Other areas: 407-363-5872
Web site: www.orlandoinfo.com

 
 

 

 

 

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