Reunion West developers have dusted off plans for a new hotel adjacent to the Encore Club and the resort’s water park.
NDM Hospitalitywhich operates the Rentyl vacation home club and business in Reunion, Bear’s Den and Margaritaville, filed construction plans this week with Osceola County and the South Florida Water Management District. for the 90-room hotel with a banquet hall and club and water park extension, which was built in 2015 at a cost of $18 million.
The company is run by brothers Daniel, Nick and Matt Falcone, sons of Encore founder Arthur Falcone, who led the development of the Disney area resort. This would be his first hotel development.
Dave Schmitt Engineering filed the plans, which call for the demolition of the existing tennis and basketball courts at the Encore Club on Fairfax Drive just west of Old Lake Wilson Road to accommodate the new building and required parking. The new 6-story building would include the 8,680 square foot reception hall on the ground floor and 90 hotel rooms on floors 2-6. The tennis, volleyball and basketball courts would be relocated west of the clubhouse, and the developer would add 105 new parking spaces to accommodate the hotel and reception.
The map doesn’t show a separate pool for the hotel, so it’s likely guests will have access to the 10-acre water park, which features four waterslides, a “Rain Fortress” kids’ area with looping waterslides, and a pool entrance to the beach, a bar and grill by the pool, cabanas and umbrellas.
This isn’t the first time Falcone and Encore have looked at plans for a hotel to complement the vacation home business. In 2015, the developer filed preliminary plans for the construction of a 300-room convention center hotel on 46 acres adjacent to the community’s first water park that spanned both sides of Tradition Boulevard, just east of east of the Interstate 4 overpass. The plan would have expanded this amenity with a soundstage, larger swimming pool, multiple water slides, a water park, sports fields, and a children’s pool.
At the time, company executives saw the hotel as a necessary component of the resort that could attract business travelers and others for short stays. This project has been abandoned and replaced by Spectrum+, a 296-unit condo/townhouse complex that launched in 2018 and is now in its final stages of development. NDM Hospitality manages Spectrum+ rentals and amenities.
Encore officials and their engineers held a pre-application meeting with SFWMD in 2016 to discuss plans for the hotel at the Fairfax Drive site. Now it looks like they are activating those initial plans.
Various owners have launched plans over the years for a major expansion of the AAA 4-Diamond Reunion Grande at Reunion Resort. In 2017, the former owner and manager was negotiating with Osceola County for a share of the county’s tourism development tax to help fund a 200-room addition and $30 million expansion to the conference center, but the plan never materialized.
Lubert Adler sold the golf resort in 2019 to Atlanta-based Kingwood International Resorts. At the time, the new owner announced plans to make significant investments in Reunion Resort, such as the addition of 1,200 rental units, a new 400-room hotel with substantial convention and meeting facilities to improve resort co-ownership and private house rentals. Kingwood never filed new development plans for facility upgrades.
Meanwhile, Reunion’s vacation home industry has flourished, with sales regularly topping the $5 million mark.