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Four Seasons Resort Orlando sets 2014 Opening Date for Walt Disney World

The newly released concept art for the Four Seasons Resort Orlando.

The Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort has declared a target open date of 2014 based on a final financing deal. Although this luxury resort development was originally announced back in May of 2008, the 360 million dollar deal was just completed. Chalk that up to the slow economy.

Concept art from the May 2008 announcement. To be honest, I like this version better, the new version looks more sterile and less detailed.

The original idea for a Four Seasons Resort right on Walt Disney World property was controversial as Disney’s previous effort to allow third party resorts resulted in ruined sight-lines for EPCOT and, some claim, a less than Disney standard of care (pay to park being one of the chief complaints). Even worse, Disney appears to be deeding this property to Four Seasons resulting in another slice of the resort being cut off.

Location of the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World.

A few have wondered if Disney really needs a high end resort competing with its own properties. But the general consensus is these are luxury guests that Disney wasn’t serving anyway. The sort of pampering Four Seasons resorts expect is just not part of Disney’s DNA, and they were likely staying off-property at Ritz Carlton or JW Marriott. So the net result should be an increase in guests with big spending budgets now even closer to the magic. That has to be good for Disney’s bottom line.

The full press release is below the jump:

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has entered into a joint venture with Silverstein Properties and Dune Real Estate Partners to develop a 444-room luxury resort at the Walt Disney World Resort. Construction is set to begin on what will be the largest Four Seasons resort in the world this December, with a target opening date in 2014.

“Four Seasons had the unique opportunity to purchase a fantastic site at the Walt Disney World Resort,” says Kathleen Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “Then, we partnered with Silverstein and Dune, some of the world’s most astute players in real estate to develop the project, which enabled financial commitments to be secured and the project to move forward. We are also delighted to work with The Walt Disney Company, which shares our vision for a family vacation experience unlike any other.”

Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the world’s leading luxury hotel brand, acquired the land from Disney in August 2008, and will retain a 30 percent ownership interest in the project in addition to operating the resort.

Four Seasons has been working closely with New York-based Silverstein Properties, one of the nation’s most respected real estate development, ownership and management organisations, since July 2009. Silverstein advanced the design and master plan for the new resort in consultation with Four Seasons, including acquiring necessary approvals, assembling and directing architectural and engineering teams, and negotiating the construction contract with Turner Construction. This effort enabled financing to be secured.

“We are very pleased to be working with Four Seasons on this exciting project,” says Larry Silverstein, president and CEO, Silverstein Properties, which will continue to oversee resort development and construction. “It’s a great design in a great location, and we’ve assembled a great team who are going to make this resort a reality in a few short years.”

New York-based Dune Real Estate Partners, a highly regarded real estate private equity fund led by Daniel Neidich, is the majority investor.

“The opportunity to partner with Silverstein and Four Seasons, both distinguished leaders in their respective fields, has given us the confidence to make a significant investment in a new development,” says Neidich. “This is an irreplaceable asset – a rare opportunity in a remarkable location, with a prestigious brand that we believe will provide attractive returns to our investors for many years to come.”

Mexico City-based Grupo Financiero Inbursa has agreed to provide USD 190 million in construction financing for the project. Grupo Financiero Inbursa is one of the largest banks in Mexico, and this is their second large construction loan in the US.

“Four Seasons continues to seek out innovative partnerships with like-minded individuals and organisations who share our vision,” says Scott Woroch, executive vice president, worldwide development, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “Despite the difficult financing environment brought on by the global economic downturn in the last few years, the development concept we created with our partners for this unique site attracted debt and equity sponsorship, and is now moving forward.”

About Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort

The development will include a 444-room Four Seasons resort plus up to 40 Four Seasons Residence Club units and up to 90 Four Seasons Private Residences. Within the resort will be several dining venues including a rooftop restaurant with Magic Kingdom views; a 14,000 square foot (1,300 square metre) spa with 18 treatment rooms; a fitness centre; three pools and a “lazy river”; sports facilities including tennis courts, basketball court and climbing wall; two recreational centres for children, teens and families; and approximately 37,750 square feet (3,500 square metres) of meeting and event space plus a business centre. The development will encompass the existing Tom Fazio-designed Osprey Ridge 18-hole championship golf course, which will be renovated and subsequently managed by Four Seasons. Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort is an enclave located within the Golden Oak residential community, created and master-planned by Disney.

About Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Four Seasons is dedicated to perfecting the travel experience through continual innovation and the highest standards of hospitality. From elegant surroundings of the finest quality, to caring, highly personalized 24-hour service, Four Seasons embodies a true home away from home for those who know and appreciate the best. The deeply instilled Four Seasons culture is personified in its employees – people who share a single focus and are inspired to offer great service. Founded in 1960 by its Chairman Isadore Sharp, Four Seasons has followed a targeted course of expansion, opening hotels and residences in major city centres and desirable resort destinations around the world. Currently with 85 properties in 35 countries, and more than 50 projects under development, Four Seasons continues to lead the hospitality industry with innovative enhancements, making business travel easier and leisure travel more rewarding.

12 thoughts on “Four Seasons Resort Orlando sets 2014 Opening Date for Walt Disney World”

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  2. I’m glad to see this project move forward. Disney’s version of “deluxe” hotels is far from what most define as such, and theres no better name to bring it than Four Seasons. That said, I’ve been bummed since announced that this couldn’t be done by Disney themselves, and that it came at the expense of two golf courses. The partnership with Silverstein is also interesting….they were the owners of the World Trade Center and are the ones running the redevelopment…

  3. Walt must be rolling in his grave!! He bought the florida property to keep out the outside!! Selling land!?? thats is disgusting and appalling!! Pretty soon it will be just like disneyland, everything will be moving in around them, they did this for a quick buck and it is sick!! Just wait cause it is going to come back and bite them!! What happens when people in golden oaks default on there homes?? it will be a weedy dirty infested community in the heart of WDW! Lets say four seasons busts for some reason, it’s their land now and they could sell it to who ever!! Sick!!

    1. I’m sure Disney has a contingency plan should the Four Seasons fail (which won’t happen).
      This sounds like a solid plan for bringing a true high end luxury resort into Walt Disney World, which Disney (rightfully so) isn’t interested in operating.

      Ease up Kris, I’m sure Walt would be just fine with this.
      Although your overwhelming negativity wouldn’t impress him much.

  4. I agree…Walt mus be rolling…I cannot believe this is being built so close to the Magic Kingdom! Appauling is a little understated in my book. Sickening!

  5. I think this is a very good investment. It seems like it won’t be obstructing any park sight-lines, since it’s being plopped in the middle of nowhere on the property. WDW has a lot of land on its property, and the possibility of a new park is very far-fetched until Disney can get its business back up. These vast patches of land have just been sitting there for years, so it’s nice to see them using it for something. Granted, it is nice to see hotels mainly around Lake Buena Vista, but this might not be that bad since it looks like they’re adding a lot of Disney touches to the resort (most notably, the lazy river and the large amount of restaurants).

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