Orlando's tourism corridor: $2 billion in high-profile development planned through 2022 for the thriving I-Drive Resort Area

Orlando
ORLANDO, FL (November 2017) - The I-Drive Resort Area continues to increase its presence as a major player in Orlando's booming hospitality industry. The past 24 months brought changes to the tourism corridor with the opening of highly anticipated 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. 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.
 
Happening now at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC)
The Center-to-Table Gardens at the OCCC have reached completion. Located in the Westwood Lobby, the 2,000-sq. ft. aeroponic structure has the ability to serve edibles grown on property in an all-natural, chemical-free environment. There are 81 towers cultivating 44 planting spots on each tower and 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. Full completion expected in 2018.
 
Recent openings 
Andretti Indoor Karting & Games opened September 28, 2017 with 140,000 square feet including multi-level go-karting, laser tag, rock climbing, zip-line, twelve bowling lanes and more. www.andrettikarting.com/orlando/
 
After over 20 years at their current location, Visit Orlando's Official Visitor Center moved September 2017 to the retail space next to Mango's Tropical Cafe this summer. With 6,000-square-feet and 30-foot ceilings, it is more than double their previous space. www.visitorlando.com
  
Staybridge Suites Orlando at SeaWorld had a September 2017 opening with 95 rooms on six floors. ihg.com
 
Pollo Tropical opened its first I-Drive location in July 2017. This 3,642-square-foot restaurant will be located near the north end of International Drive. pollotropical.com
 
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Orlando at SeaWorld opened a six-story, 181-room hotel, this July. ihg.com
  
Westgate Lakes added 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 includes a steakhouse, Draft’s sports bar, marketplace, arcade and meeting/banquet space. Opened July 2017. westgateresorts.com
 
Uncle Julio's opened July 27, 2017 at I-Drive 360. The new 8,515-square-foot restaurant features "scratch Mexican food," made with fresh Texas-grown ingredients. unclejulios.com
 
Ancora Apartment Homes began leasing this July. The 289-unit property 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
  
Kraken® Unleashed is SeaWorld Orlando's newest addition. A new virtual reality experience aboard SeaWorld’s famous floorless coaster which opened June 16th. seaworldparks.com
 
SeaWorld Orlando opened the new and improved Dolphin Nursery which includes underwater viewing, along with the new Flamecraft Barseaworldparks.com
 
I-Drive's overhead pedestrian bridge opened this June. The 410-foot enclosed bridge connects the plaza outside the Hyatt Regency Orlando to the Orange County Convention Center, just across from the Linda Chapin Theater. The bridge also has an escalator leading from the hotel plaza to bridge, three stairways and two elevators and follows the path of the existing crosswalk but is above International Drive. Check the latest here.
 
TownePlace Suites Orlando at SeaWorld completed a six-story, 181-room hotel in June 2017. marriott.com
 
The Oasis at Grande Pines, a 282-unit luxury apartment community, started pre-leasing in June 2017. theoasisatgrandepines.com
 
Aquatica, SeaWorld's Water Park opened their brand new Pass Member Pavilion in May 2017. seaworldparks.com
 
At Universal Orlando, Cabana Bay Beach Resort expanded by adding a hotel tower with 399 retro designed rooms, which opened May 2017. See details.
 
Lockbusters Escape Game offers five uniquely themed escape adventure rooms. Opened May 26th. www.lockbustersgame.com 
 
Universal's Volcano Bay Water Park, features 18 attractions divided to four unique areas: Krakatau, Wave Village, River Village and Rainforest Village. Opened May 25th. See details.
 
Pio Pio Restaurant, featuring Colombian and Peruvian cuisine, moved to its new, larger location which includes a full bar on May 4th. www.mypiopio.com
 
iFLY Orlando Indoor Skydiving with a one-story, 14,000-square-foot building featuring two wind tunnel tubes. Opened May 3rd. iflyworld.com
 
Westwood Park Apartments plans to open with a three-story, garden-style walkup apartment complex with 178 units. Opened spring 2017. mywestwoodparkapts.com
 
The "world's first-ever flying theater," Universal Orlando's "Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon" opened April 6, 2017. Check here for more details.
 
Axis West began leasing in April. The 268-unit luxury apartment complex includes four buildings of four stories each with elevators and secure-entry, interior corridors. They surround a central pond and resort-style pool with grilling stations and playgrounds. The ground floor units have attached garages, and all units have gourmet kitchens with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. axiswestapartments.com
 
Hulk Hogan's Beach Shop opened March 30th. Shop for shorts and sunglasses amidst Hogan's memorabilia and Hulkamania inspired keepsakes for purchase. Don't forget to get a selfie with the Hulkster life-sized statues. shophulkhogan.com
 
Homewood Suites Orlando Theme Park opened February 2017 with 134-rooms on 3.5 acres. homewoodsuites3.hilton.com
 
Caribe Royale All-Suite Hotel & Convention Center opened its brand-new Calypso's Pool Bar & Grille this January.  The dining oasis features a Floribbean style menu, specialty craft cocktails, a recreation patio and entertainment.  Guests can enjoy poolside al fresco dining, with a spectacular view of tropical waterfalls. www.cariberoyale.com 
 
Breakout Escape Rooms Orlando opened December 2016 and is located in the Regency Village Shopping Center on Vineland Ave. Race against the clock with only your logic and wit to save you in one of their three rooms: "The Ringmaster's Den," "Game of Espionage," or the "Zombie Roadhouse." roombreakout.com/orlando
 
Lake Vue Apartments began leasing their luxury lakefront apartments. The property boasts 196-units on 16 acres. lakevueorlando.com
 
CVS Pharmacy, a 14,000-square-feet of space on I-Drive in location of the former Ming Court just opened. cvs.com
  
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
 
Coming in 2017
Westgate Resort Condominiums anticipates a late fall 2017 opening date for a new eight-story, 80-unit condominium building. A second building, also eight-story, 80-unit is scheduled for completion summer 2018. westgateresorts.com
 
The Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Orlando is undergoing renovations on its 176-unit property, including new stainless steel appliances, granite in all kitchens, crown molding, fresh paint, new furniture and TVs. Estimated completion is September 2017.  www.wyndhamhotels.com
  
Grand National Drive Overpass/Kirkman Road Interchange projects completion November 2017. See details at i4ultimate.com
 
Lexus of Orlando to build a 175,000-square-foot showroom and maintenance facility. Expected completion this fall. www.lexusoforlando.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 Circo Orlando, high-end Italian rooftop restaurant, 10 level, 880 space parking facility, 9,500 square-feet of ground level retail and office space. Opening fall 2017.
 
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
 
Air Force Fun Orlando Helicopter Tours at Orlando Crossings Mall is scheduled to 'take off' at Orlando Crossings Mall this November 2017. The 2,400-square-foot facility will include a two-story building with two helicopter pads. airforcefun.com
  
Starflyer-Vue at 360 will open the world's tallest spinning swing ride at 440 feet. The tower ride will reach speeds of 40 mph as riders reach the top and begin spinning. The ride will seat 24 passengers. Expected opening November 2017.
  
Residence Inn Marriott Universal Studios, plans a five-story, 145,000-square-foot, extended-stay hotel with 196 rooms. Expected opening is late 2017. marriott.com
 
I-Drive NASCAR will be doubling it's 5,000-square-foot meeting accommodations, adding more space and attractions to its gaming area and redesigning its bar and restaurant. Expected completion late 2017. idrivenascar.com
 
Kirkman Point II expects to open in Q4 2017 with 134,000 square-feet of space in its Class "A" and LEED Certified, four story office building. Located at the intersection of South Kirkman Road and International Drive. cbre.com
 
Cambria Hotel & Suites plans a seven-story, 140-room hotel. Expected opening in 2017. choicehotels.com
 
DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld has begun an expansion to include up to 40,000-square-feet of new indoor / outdoor space, which will bring their total meeting space to 100,000-square-feet. Completion in 2017.  doubletree3.hilton.com
 
Las Palmeras by Hilton Grand Vacations has started their amenities expansion which includes plans for a new activity center, splash pad, two-story pool waterslide, expanded lounge seating and grass-covered event space. Anticipated completion in the second half of 2017. www3.hilton .com
 
Coming attractions and improvements in 2018 and beyond...
Bainbridge Grande Pines Apartments to include eight four-story buildings with elevators, 322 units, 8,500-square-foot clubhouse. Estimated completion January 2018. www.bainbridgecompanies.com
 
The International Drive widening project plans to complete its expansion from four to six lanes from South Westwood Blvd. to North Westwood Blvd. in January 2018. For more details, check here.
 
Under new management, the International Palms Resort & Conference Center, a 652-room property has shut down for a 10-month renovation. It will be rebranded as Avanti Palms Resort & Conference Center. Renovations include lobby, guest rooms, dining areas, pools & 20,000 SF of meeting space. Completion expected first quarter 2018. avantiresort.com
  
Vineland Pointe, 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 spring 2018. oconnorcp.com
 
Solstice Apartments 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. Completion expected spring 2018. www.nwrliving.com
 
Hyatt House expects to open on I-Drive in June 2018. The $28 million property plans to have 175 rooms. house.hyatt.com
 
Universal Orlando Resort has confirmed their sixth hotel, the Aventura Hotel. The hotel will be 17 stories with an all-glass design, including a rooftop bar.The 600-room hotel is scheduled to open August 2018.
 
SeaWorld Orlando is ready to rush the rapids with Infinity Falls, the world's tallest river rapid drop coming summer 2018. seaworldparks.com
 
Fast and Furious: Supercharged is coming in 2018 to Universal Orlando. Buckle your seat belts and read about it here.
 
The Addison at Universal Blvd. apartment complex will feature 344 units on 12.1 acres. Expected completion in 2018. contravest.com/development/addison-universal-boulevard-orlando-fl/
 
Uniq Hotel expects to open in 2018 with 21 floors, 354 rooms, a top-floor adult pool, nightclub and restaurant. www.paramounthospitality.com
 
Hyatt House Hotel started construction on their second Orlando location on Caravan Ct. It will be a 9-story hotel with 168 units.  Expected opening in 2018. house.hyatt.com
 
iSquare Hotel and Mall Complex plans to include Capella Suites and Solis Orlando Hotel: two 23-story towers, 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
 
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
 
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, along with a hotel. Bahama Breeze, Starbucks, Longhorn Steakhouse and U.S. Gift Factory are already confirmed. Expected completion early 2020. www.naproperties.com/projects/grand-national/
  
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, Sky Plaza - retail & dining area, open-air promenade, indoor arcade, 450 room hotel, and go-kart track. Project size: 1.5 million square feet. Expected opening: 2020. 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, and signage. orangecountyfl.net
 
Awaiting details...
Universal's "Project 566" is the much anticipated development on the former Wet 'n Wild property.  It will include two hotels, with a total of 4,000 rooms, pools, pool decks and pool bars, as well as three parking garages. blog.universalorlando.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
  
SeaWorld Orlando announced a new Sesame Street land will replace Shamu's Happy Harbor play area by fall 2022. seaworldparks.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
 
Renaissance at SeaWorld is planning to add an additional 41,731-square-feet of new meeting space that would include a 16,503-square-foot ballroom. www.marriott.com 
 
The Reserve at Shingle Creek Resort to add a 640-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, 150,000-square-feet additional convention space and a multi-level parking garage. 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
 
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For additional information on the I-Drive area, visit www.InternationalDriveOrlando.com
 
Contact: Luann Brooks, Executive Director
I-Drive Business Improvement District
www.IDriveDistrict.com
P: 407-248-9590
lbrooks@idrivedistrict.com
Orlando's Most Dynamic Destination!
 
Updated: September 29, 2017