By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor
December 6 marked the groundbreaking day of the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World that is soon to become the largest Four Seasons resort in the world. The long-awaited project will rise on the northeast portion of Disney World—land purchased by Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts from Disney in August 2008 for approximately $51 million.
Four Seasons has been working closely with New York-based Silverstein Properties since July 2009. Silverstein advanced the design and master plan for the new resort with input from Four Seasons, including acquiring necessary approvals, assembling and directing architectural and engineering teams, and negotiating the construction contract with Turner Construction. Larry Silverstein, president and CEO of Silverstein Properties, recalled making the decision to back the project. “At the end of the day, it became apparent that the concept was right; that the team is superb; the location first class and the two names—Four Seasons and Disney—as good as you can get,” he said. New York-based Dune Real Estate Partners is the majority investor, while Grupo Financiero Inbursa, a Mexico City-based bank, has agreed to provide the $190 million debt financing. Representatives from both Silverstein Properties and Dune Real Estate Partners were present at the groundbreaking ceremony.
The new development will include a 444-room Four Seasons hotel, but also as many as 40 Four Seasons Residence Club units and up to 90 Four Seasons Private Residences; the dining venues also include a rooftop restaurant with great views of Disney World, while a 14,000-square-foot spa will accommodate 18 treatment rooms. The resort will have sports facilities such as tennis courts, a basketball court and a climbing wall, as well as three pools, a fitness center and a recreational center for children, teens and families. There will also be 37,750 square feet of meeting and event space, along with a business center. The development will encompass the existing Tom Fazio-designed Osprey Ridge 18-hole championship golf course, which will undergo renovation. The completion date for the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World is scheduled for 2014.