Hilton’s contemporary luxury Conrad hotel brand is setting up shop next to Disney World as part of Dart Interests’ $1 billion plans to redevelop the former Grand Cypress Resort under an “Evermore” brand.
The current tourism downturn has many in Central Florida pulling back on major expenses, but as the covid-19 virus comes under control in 2021, the outlook seems to be improving. With it, more investments are beginning to emerge across the region, including what is likely the largest investment announcement since the pandemic hit last year.
Redevelopment plans for the Grand Cypress property have been quietly in the works for several years after Dallas, Texas-based Dart Interests acquired a majority interest in 2002. In addition, the 1,100-acre resort community will feature a 20-acre beach complex with tropical landscaping as well as an eight-acre lagoon by Crystal Lagoons called Evermore Bay. Bars will sit near swim areas peppered with cabanas and fire pits.
David Pace, President of Dart Interests Florida, says “the first phase of Evermore will consist of the hotel, a multitude of vacation homes and a robust list of amenities. No matter who you are, a typical theme park vacation can be tiring. It’s hot, it’s relentless, the lines are long, the traffic, when you get out, is tough. We have designed this project above all else to be an oasis from that experience.”
About 1,500 bedrooms will come online as part of Evermore’s first phase slated to be completed in 2023, with that number including guest rooms in the hotel, as well as a mix of vacation single-family homes, villas and flats. A breakdown of plans estimates the developer will deliver 69 houses ranging in size from 5 to 11 bedrooms, 76 four-bedroom flats and 41 two & four bedroom villas. At full buildout, the resort will have about 10,000 rooms and will represent an equity investment in excess of $1 billion.
Players who might want to challenge the Nicklaus New Course at Grand Cypress Resort that opened in 1988, better get to it. The three original nines designed by Nicklaus are long gone, but the developer is allowing play on the eighteen-hole New Course, a links-style layout fashioned after the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland during the construction of the resort’s amenities. Jack will design a totally new Signature Course to be incorporated into the community.