Orlando's tourism corridor: More than $1 billion in high-profile development planned through 2019 for the thriving I-Drive Resort Area

ORLANDO, FL (January 2017) - The I-Drive Resort Area continues to change, revitalize and increase its presence as a major player in Orlando's booming hospitality industry. The past 18 months brought changes to the tourism corridor with the opening of highly anticipated new projects including:
 
I-Drive 360, $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. 
 
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
  
As I-Drive evolves into a place where residents live, work and play, Courtney Apartments at Universal Boulevard have opened with 355 residential units.
 
Also, the $500 million SKYPLEX entertainment complex was approved and iSquare Hotel and Mall Complex continued to refine its plans.
 
In addition to these exciting, new attractions, visitors continue to find endless fun in the I-Drive Resort Area including five of the world's most famous theme parks (SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, Aquatica - SeaWorld's Waterpark, Universal Studios, and Islands of Adventure), restaurants, dinner shows, shopping experiences, mega entertainment complexes, smaller family style attractions and spas.
 
Happening now at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC)
For the first time in its history, the OCCC will have the ability to serve edibles grown on property in an all-natural, chemical-free environment. In a few months, an aeroponic structure consisting of 2,000 square feet, will be installed in the Westwood Lobby ready to foster herbs, edible flowers, vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, and squash). Eighty-one towers will cultivate 44 planting spots in each tower and the process will produce herbs and vegetables for meals prepared at the OCCC.
 
And the 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
 
Recent 2016 openings
At Pointe Orlando, Main Event Entertainment, a state-of-the-art bowling experience, opened at Pointe Orlando with 48,000-square-feet of space. It features bowling, multi-level laser tag, high ropes adventure courses, billiards and interactive and virtual video games, with dining experiences ranging from fast-casual to chef-inspired casual.  mainevent.com 
 
SeaWorld Orlando opened its Mako Coaster. Orlando's tallest, longest and fastest roller coaster the 200-foot-tall hyper coaster reaches 73 mph along 4,760 feet of steel track and leaves riders feeling both breathless and weightless. seaworldparks.com
 
Now open at Universal Studio 
Lowes Sapphire Resort has opened with 1,000 rooms and will is the fifth hotel at Universal Orlando. The resort has a Caribbean theme and includes 83 suites. Visit universalorlando.com
  
Skull Island Reign of Kong, at Universal's Islands of Adventure, provides a journey deep into a mysterious island, swarmed by enormous prehistoric predators. Check it out here. And The Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster. Check details.
 
The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen has opened at CityWalk. Read all of the yummy details here
  
The World's Largest Entertainment McDonald's at the corner of I-Drive and Sand Lake Road re-opened and is the first in the country to have a newly-designed 22-foot-tall kids' jungle gym with slides and tunnels.  The new two-story restaurant is 48 feet tall and includes 19,000-square-feet of space. With 348 seats on the first and second floors, there is a 2,000-square-foot arcade center with 50 games including an arcade version of Angry Birds. Eight kitchens prepare more than 200 menu items. mcfun.com
   
Seabra Foods Market at Orlando Crossings Mall opened with 17,000 square feet of shopping space that includes a variety of ethnic products from Portugal, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Spain, and more. seabrafoods.com
 
Tony Romas completed an interior renovation, added a 1,000 square-foot patio, new bar area and two new private rooms. tonyromas.com 
 
Home2 Suites by Hilton Orlando, International Drive South opened its four-story, 146-room hotel next to Orlando Premium Outlets. home2suites3.hilton.com
 
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Orlando at SeaWorld opened a six-story, 181-room hotel. ihg.com
 
Coming in 2017 and beyond... 
Homewood Suites plans to open with 134-rooms on 3.5 acres. homewoodsuites3.hilton.com
  
Oasis at Grande Pines, a 282-unit luxury apartment community, expects completion. theoasisatgrandepines.com
  
Axis West, a 268-unit luxury apartment complex will include four buildings of four stories each with elevators and secure-entry, interior corridors. They will surround a central pond and resort-style pool with grilling stations, playgrounds. The ground floor units would have attached garages, and all units would have gourmet kitchens with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. flournoypartners.com/axis-west
  
Westgate Lakes will add 25,000 square feet of meeting space and 25,000 square feet of restaurant/retail space within the existing parking garage. The two projects are part of “The Village Shops at Westgate Lakes,” which will include a steakhouse, Draft’s sports bar, marketplace, arcade and meeting/banquet space. Expected completion 2016. westgateresorts.com
 
TownePlace Suites Orlando at SeaWorld, to complete a six-story, 181-room hotel in June 2017. marriott.com
 
Air Force Fun Orlando Helicopter Tours to open at Orlando Crossings Mall. airforcefun.com
 
SeaWorld Orlando plans to open Aquatica Pass Member Pavilion in the spring. And Kraken® Virtual Reality Roller Coaster, Dolphin Nursery and Flamecraft Bar in the summer. seaworldparks.com
 
The Hollywood Plaza Parking Garage to open as a seven-story parking facility located directly next to Mango’s Restaurant & Nightclub. To include Circo Orlando, high-end Italian rooftop restaurant, 2,000 parking spaces, 9,500 square-feet of ground level retail and office space.
 
iFLY Orlando Indoor Skydiving with a one-story, 14,000-square-foot building featuring two wind tunnel tubes. Opening first quarter 2017. iflyworld.com
  
Westgate Resort Condominiums anticipates June 2017 opening date for a new eight-story, 80 unit condominium building. westgateresorts.com 
 
Topgolf Orlando expects a Fall 2017 opening for a three-level, 65,000-square-foot entertainment center. Also: private event space and 102 climate-controlled hitting bays. topgolf.com/us/orlando
 
Staybridge Suites Orlando at SeaWorld plans to open in March 2017 with 95 rooms on six floors. www.ihg.com
 
Andretti Indoor Kart Racing & Games plans a 2017 opening with 95,200 square feet including multi-level go-karting, laser tag, rock climbing, bowling and more. andrettikarting.com
 
At Universal Orlando, Cabana Bay Beach Resort expands by adding a hotel tower with 399 retro designed rooms to open Spring 2017. See details.
  
And south of Cabana Bay, Universal's Volcano Bay Water Park, will feature 18 attractions divided to four unique areas: Krakatau, Wave Village, River Village and Rainforest Village. Expected opening in 2017.  See details.
 
The "world's first-ever flying theater," Universal Orlando's "Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon" is set to open in the spring of 2017. Check here for more details. 
 
Residence Inn Universal Studios, plans a five-story, 145,000-square-foot, extended-stay hotel with 196 rooms. Expected opening is late 2017. marriott.com
 
Starflyer-Vue at 360 will open the world's tallest spinning swing ride at 425 feet. See details.
 
Grand National Drive Overpass/Kirkman Road Interchange projects completion in 2017. See details at i4ultimate.com
 
Ancora Apartment Homes estimates a 2017 opening of its 289 units. Features include large floor plans, luxury finishes, four story, elevator-serviced buildings. Unit interiors will feature imported Italian cabinetry with granite countertops, wood plank-style flooring, oversized garden tubs in the master bathroom, walk-in closets, energy efficient appliances and additional premium upgrades. Featuring 1, 2 and 3 bedroom layouts, ranging in size from 645 square feet to 1554 square feet, with optional garage parking and storage space. ancoraapartments.com
  
Sheraton Vistana Villages plans a multiphase expansion to feature a 63-unit timeshare building (first of 11). Estimate completion June 2017. Property details
  
Sand Lake Road Improvement Project expects completion of work that includes widening to six lanes, bike paths and new sidewalks. Extends from I-Drive to Universal Blvd. cflroads.com
 
I-Drive's overhead pedestrian bridge is scheduled for completion in 2017. The 410-foot enclosed bridge will connect the plaza outside the Hyatt Regency Orlando to the Orange County Convention Center, just across from the Linda Chapin Theater. The bridge also will have an escalator leading from the hotel plaza to bridge, three stairways and two elevators and will follow the path of the existing crosswalk but will be above International Drive. Check the latest here.
 
The International Drive widening project plans to complete its expansion from four to six lanes from South Westwood Blvd. to North Westwood Blvd. For more details, check here.
 
Kirkman Point II expects to open in 2017 with 134,000 square-feet of space in its Class "A" and LEED Certified office building. Located at the intersection of South Kirkman Road and International Drive. Expected opening 2017. cbre.com
 
Cambria Hotel & Suites plans a seven-story, 140-room hotel.  Expected opening in 2017. choicehotels.com 
  
Hyatt House expects to open on I-Drive in June 2017. The $28 million property plans to have 175 rooms. house.hyatt.com  
 
Coming attractions and improvements in 2018 and beyond... 
Fast and Furious: Supercharged is coming to Universal Orlando. Buckle your seat belts and read about it here.  
 
Universal Orlando Resort has confirmed their sixth hotel, the Aventura Hotel. The hotel will be 16 stories with an all-glass design, including a rooftop bar.The 600-room hotel is scheduled to open in the Summer 2018. 
 
iSquare Hotel and Mall Complex plans to include Capella Suites and Solis Orlando Hotel: two 23-story, 539 hotel rooms combined. As well as a 434,800 square-foot multi-level upscale mall, restaurants, meeting room and office space, 25,000 square-foot luxury spa, ice rink, rooftop infinity pool, heliport and seven-story parking garage. Expected opening: 2019. isquareusa.com
 
Uniq Hotel expects to open in early 2018 with 21 floors, 357 rooms, a top-floor adult pool, nightclub and restaurant. www.paramounthospitality.com
 
Bainbridge Grand Pines Apartments to include eight four-story buildings with elevators, 322 units, 8,500-square-foot clubhouse. Estimated completion January 2018 www.bainbridgecompanies.com
 
Aventura Hotel plans a 16-story, 600-room property with a summer 2018 opening.
 
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, open-air promenade, indoor arcade, 450 room hotel, restaurants, retail and go-kart track. Project size: 1.5 million square feet. Expected opening: 2019. mangos.com/skyplex
 
I-Drive dedicated transit lanes from Sand Lake Road to the Beachline plan to be completed late in 2021. Approximately three miles of dedicated transit bus lanes from Sand Lake Road to the BeachLine. New sidewalks, landscaping, signage. orangecountyfl.net
  
Awaiting details...
The Reserve at Shingle Creek Resort to add a 325-room, 16-story condo tower, walk-in pool and lazy river, additional golf holes, 133,000-square-foot operations building with parking, 36,000-square-foot laundry facility, 250,000-square-feet additional convention space and a multi-level parking garage. rosenshinglecreek.com
 
Fun Spot America is planning an expansion to include new themes, incorporate new food & beverage partners, add coasters, water rides and much more. Visit fun-spot.com
 
CVS to open 14,000-square-feet of space on I-Drive in location of the former Ming Court.
 
Lexus of Orlando to build a 175,000-square-foot showroom and maintenance facility. www.lexusoforlando.com 
 
Westwood Park Apartments plans to open with a three-story, garden-style walkup apartment complex with 178 units.
  
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
  
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For additional information on the I-Drive area, visit www.InternationalDriveOrlando.com
 
Media contact: Wrenda Goodwyn, Communications Director
I-Drive Business Improvement District
www.IDriveDistrict.com
P: 239-949-1808
wrenda@internationaldriveorlando.com
Orlando's Most Dynamic Destination!