What's New on I-Drive!

Orlando's tourism corridor: More than $2 billion of high-profile development planned for 2019 and beyond in the thriving I-Drive Resort Area 

 
ORLANDO, FL (April 2019) - 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: 
 
International Drive Development: A Look Back (2015-2018) 
 
Recent Openings 
KareKare Curl at Aquatica splashed into action on April 12, 2019. This two-person, curve shaped wave slide ride with vertical wave wall will have you 'riding the curl'. aquatica.com
 
Saltgrass Steak House opened their doors this April. The Texas steakhouse chain features a menu of beef steaks, fried seafoods, burgers, ribs and salads. www.saltgrass.com
  
SeaWorld Orlando opened Sesame Street that includes rides, interactive experiences, character meets and a daily parade. Guests are able to explore the iconic neighborhood first hand. Grand opening was March 27, 2019. seaworldorlando.com
 
Home2 Suites by Hilton completed a new 6-story hotel with 122 units. Opened March 2019. home2suites3.com
 
Lotus Asia House at Pointe Orlando celebrated their grand opening on February 21, 2019. They feature Asian-fusion & sushi cuisine. lotusasiahouse.com
 
Pointe Orlando welcomed Hopdoddy Burger Bar, an upscale burger restaurant, this February 2019.  Serving Angus burgers, salads, milkshakes & full bar, Hopdoddy opened in the space formally known as Funky Monkey. hopdoddy.com
   
The Renaissance at SeaWorld expanded their meeting areas by 30,000 SF, a 16% increase. Completed in February 2019. www.marriott.com 
 
Lucky's Market at Vineland Pointe opened this February. www.luckysmarket.com
  
2019: A look at things to come
The Addison at Universal Blvd. apartment complex will feature 344 units on 12.1 acres. Opening April 2019. theaddisonatuniversalboulevard.com
 
The Fountains Resort is constructing Tower 9, a 10-story, 97 unit addition to the property. Completion is estimated for April 2019. www.bluegreenvacations.com 
 
TODAY Cafe will be opening at Universal Studios in the former Beverly Hills Boulangerie this spring. The cafe is being designed to look and feel like Studio 1A in New York City. It will serve a variety of sandwiches, salads, platters and pasteries. blog.universalorlando.com
  
Mia's Italian Kitchen is an 8,000 SF Italian restaurant moving into the former Don Pablo's at 8717 International Drive. Expected opening this spring. www.miasitalian.com
  
WoodSpring Suites Signature Hotel began construction late 2018. This 4-story, 139 room hotel has an anticipated opening for spring 2019. www.woodspring.com
  
Dezerland Action Park plans to open their doors this spring 2019 to a 300,000 SF Orlando Auto Museum with hundreds of cars ranging from the 1930's to modern day. The goal is to be the largest auto museum in Florida. Additional entertainment will span another 250,000 SF of the complex. www.dezerlandactionpark.com
  
Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is opening at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmead at Universal's Islands of Adventure, Universal Orlando Resort on June 13, 2019. blog.universalorlando.com
  
The La Quinta Inn & Suites SeaWorld Orlando is anticipating a June 2019 opening. This four-story, 101 room hotel will feature the new Del Sol prototype. www.rivierapmo.com/en/projects/la-quinta-inns-suites-seaworld-orlando
 
Bigfire restaurant is coming to Universal CityWalk. This 2-story, lakeside lodge-type eatery will feature American cuisine. Opening summer 2019. blog.universalorlando.com
  
A new Element Hotel has broken ground at Vue 360. This 8-story, 165 unit hotel is anticipating a summer 2019 opening. element-hotels.marriott.com 
  
The Endless Summer Resort is 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 open date of June 27, 2019. The Dockside Inn & Suites will be a  2,050-room resort with completion anticipated in May 2020. The resorts combined will include three pools, two food courts, parking garage and poolside bars. blog.universalorlando.com
 
SeaWorld Corporate Headquarters is relocating to a new 40,725 SF, 3-story building being built on Sea Harbor Drive at the previous employee-only parking lot. Expected completion in fall 2019. seaworldorlando.com
  
The Hampton Social will be moving into the former Tommy Bahama's eatery at Pointe Orlando. This restaurant specializes in seafood, pizza & brunches. Expected opening late 2019. www.thehamptonsocial.com
 
A 6-story, 144 room Holiday Inn & Suites at Regency Village is being constructed near Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets. Expected completion is November 2019. www.ihg.com
  
Phases 2 & 3 of Vineland Pointe will be constructed concurrently and include a Target, Cheesecake Factory, and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Total project includes 69.41 acres and 447,500-square-feet of retail space. MOD Pizza, Duck Donuts, Rita's Italian Ice & Chipotle opening this year. Completion expected by Christmas 2019. oconnorcp.com
  
The Kirkman Road Pedestrian Bridge is well underway at the intersection of Kirkman Road and Major Blvd. This 186-foot steel-truss bridge will improve pedestrian safety across Kirkman Road. The bridge will be 14-feet wide and the project also includes improved sidewalks. Completion in 2019. www.i4ultimate.com
 
Hyatt House expects to open on I-Drive in 2019. The $28 million property plans to have 175 rooms. house.hyatt.com
 
Mooyah Burgers & an arcade will be 'mooving' in to the Hollywood Plaza Entertainment Complex in 2019. www.mooyah.com
 
Azul Sand Lake Vista, a 262-unit multifamily project including two 5-story buildings and a 2-story clubhouse, is under construction surrounding Boo Boo Lake off of Turkey Lake Rd. Expected completion is 2019. jeffersonapartmentgroup.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. A new TownePlace Suites by Marriott has also signed on for a 7-story, 148 unit hotel. Projects began coming online in 2018 and will continue through 2020. www.naproperties.com/projects/grand-national/
  
2020 and beyond
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 February 2020. tru3.hilton.com
  
ICON Park has several new restaurants coming online. Blake Shelton's Ole Red Orlando will begin construction in early 2019 on their 15,000 SF, 2-level restaurant. A welcome addition to ICON Park, offering Southern food & hospitality and live Country music. Expected Opening is planned for spring 2020. olered.com/orlando Also coming in 2020 are the Ox Grill - contemporary cuisine and Mikado, a Japanese restaurant. iconorlando.com
 
GLo Hotel, a new boutique hotel brand from Best Western is under construction on Vineland Ave. This 4-story, 154 unit property is said to break the "cookie-cutter hotel mold." Expected completion is April 2020.  www.bestwesterndevelopers.com/portfolio/glo.php
 
Essex at Universal began construction in October 2018 on their apartment complex with 330-units in five buildings. Amenities to include 10,000 SF clubhouse, saltwater swimming pool, dog park and two courtyards with fire-pits & water features. Completion is anticipated to be July 2020. flournoypartners.com 
  
Aloft and Element Hotel began construction in late 2018 on a 7-story dual hotel with 284 rooms. Estimated completion is November 2020. www.ad1global.com
 
Sand Lake Road Improvement Project expects completion in late 2020 of work that includes widening to six lanes, bike paths and new sidewalks. Extends from I-Drive to Universal Blvd. cflroads.com
 
Unicorp is planning $300M+ worth of additions and expansions to both ICON Park and Wyndham Orlando Resort. Plans for two new hotel towers, totaling up to 800 rooms and additional meeting space are in the works for the Wyndham. ICON Park will be adding several features including a double slingshot ride, a drop tower and a zipline ride. Openings are expected in 2020 and 2021. www.iconorlando.com
 
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 retail complex, seven-story parking garage, rooftop infinity pool, heliport and ice rink. Estimated completion is 2022. www.isquareusa.com
  
The Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) continues work on the planned North-South Building Improvements. The two main projects include the Convention Way Grand Concourse and a Multipurpose Venue. Expected completion in 2023. www.occc.net
 
The $250M-$300M Kirkman Road Expansion from Carrier Drive to Universal Blvd. will be a 1.7-mile extension of south Kirkman Road.  The north-south stretch is estimated to be completed in 2024. www.cflroads.com
  
Awaiting details
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 unknown. facebook.com/skyplex
 
Walk-On's I-Drive Bistreaux & Bar is coming to I-Shops. This 2-story, 8,500 SF sports bar restaurant will feature Louisiana-inspired cuisine. walkons.com 
 
Construction of a new seven-story, 137 room hotel Wyndham Garden is underway on American Way. www.wyndhamhotels.com/wyndham-garden
 
The Comfort Suites Orlando SeaWorld has begun construction in January 2019 on a 6-story hotel, including 104 rooms. www.peakcm.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
 
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
 
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For additional information on the I-Drive area, visit www.InternationalDriveOrlando.com
 
Contact: Luann Brooks, Executive Director
International Drive Business Improvement District
www.IDriveDistrict.com
P: 407-248-9590
lbrooks@idrivedistrict.com
Orlando's Most Dynamic Destination!
 
Updated: March 1, 2019