Universal Orlando has filed documents with the city showing that its former Wet ‘n Wild property will be developed for new hotel use, with 4,000 rooms.
Universal filed a master-plan framework with few details. A sketch with the filing also shows three parking structures on the property, and indicates that Universal wants a portion of a street, Precision Drive, vacated.
Tom Schroder, vice president for public relations at Universal Orlando, declined to provide more details Tuesday.
Demolition work was to be done at the former water park, about 13 acres, through February.
Many in the industry and the surrounding area expected development plans for Wet ‘n Wild to include hotels. Executives with corporate owner Comcast Corp. have made no secret of their desire to build much more Universal lodging. Work is underway on a sixth hotel, called Aventura, at Universal’s main resort. Two new towers are set to open this year at Cabana Bay Beach Resort as well.
Last year, 2,243 rooms were added to Central Florida’s inventory according to STR, which tracks the hotel industry. This year an estimated 1,298 rooms are expected, including expansions such as Cabana Bay’s. And in 2018, about 4,200 rooms are expected to be added.
Plans along I-Drive include multi-use projects with large lodging facilities, such as Skyplex and iSquare, as well as smaller hotels touted as boutique or midsize aimed at niche clienteles.
Wet ‘n Wild, at the corner of International Drive and Universal Boulevard, closed in December. Universal Orlando’s new Volcano Bay water park, on its main resort property, is set for a grand opening May 25.
About 250 permanent Wet ‘n Wild employees were given the option of transferring to other parts of Universal Orlando.
Wet ‘n Wild, which opened in 1977, is considered the first major standalone water park.
Winter Park firm Donald W. McIntosh Assocites Inc. performed survey work, according to documents filed.
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