Power lines and street lights line the well-paved roads along Flamingo Crossings Boulevard in Orange County, but there are very few cars and no buildings.
The Disney-owned property just outside the western entrance to Disney World, at the intersection of Western Way and State Road 429, has sat empty since 2007, when Disney first announced a major retail, dining and lodging project.
Local 6 has learned exclusively that Disney has restarted plans to develop "Flamingo Crossings," beginning with two well-known hotels.
Documents filed with the South Florida Water Management District show that Springhill Suites by Marriott and Towneplace Suites by Marriott will be located on 10 acres of the property.
According to Marriott's website, Springhill is as an upper-moderate all-suites hotel at a great value. Towneplace “provides simple, quality surroundings” and is described as value-conscious and no-frills for the extended-stay visitor.
Disney originally announced it would develop Flamingo Crossings after the western beltway was completed. At a press conference in 2007, Disney showed off artist renderings of what Flamingo Crossings would eventually look like with lodging, shops and restaurants. But then the economy crashed and the weed-filled lots off the newly-paved roads sat empty for years.
"Flamingo Crossings is a Disney master-planned, value-oriented tourist district that will combine third-party branded lodging, retail and dining,” said Marilyn Waters of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “We are pleased that the project continues to move forward with interest from well-known brands and hotels.”
Jorge Rodriguez, a law student from Naples, said Marriott's Springhill Suites gave his family a great place to stay at a great price.
"This one has a sofa-sleeper, and kitchenette,” said Rodriguez. “You can do Disney on a budget that way. You can bring your own food, can refrigerate it, and don't have to go out to dinner for every single meal."
Rodriguez said he spent around $300 for three nights in Orlando.
Disney told Local 6 its developer so far does not have a construction start date.