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ORLANDO, FL-A local condo-hotel developer believes the additionof a $3-million pirate-themed pool area differentiates it from allothers within this popular tourist market. Pirate's Plunge at LakeBuena Vista Resort Village echoes the enduring popularity of the"Pirates of the Caribbean" ride at nearby Walt Disney World withoutbeing directly connected.

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The new 25,000-sf aquatic center, which features a 7,500-sf pooland a water slide within a replica pirate ship, was introducedearlier this month. Owners of the 60-acre resort think the appealof pirate-related play area remains strong even though it has beena few years since Disney's last "Pirates" movie has been intheaters.

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"We think it will go forever," Larry Cohen, senior vicepresident of LBV Resort Village, tells GlobeSt.com. "If mygrandkids and several thousand other kids who have been playingthere the last few weeks are any indication, it will be here tostay."

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Besides its proximity to Disney World, the resort is alsoconvenient to a pirate-themed dinner theater within Orlando'stourist circuit that Cohen hopes to be able to connect with forcross-marketing purposes. Pirate mania also comes from aprofessional sports standpoint, with football's Tampa BayBuccaneers having a strong fan base within the market.

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The condo-hotel resort, which has nearly 500 units in fivebuildings, could certainly use a boost. Cohen says sales are off byapproximately 40% from a year ago, though that is more related tothe tightening credit market rather than waning investorinterest.

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"The biggest problem we have is with lenders and the meltdown ofthe second-home investment marketplace," he says. "The good newsfor us is that there is a certain amount of cash buyers outthere."

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LBV Resort Village is also hoping to capitalize on internationalinvestment, having been approved in early October as an EB-5regional center by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service. TheEB-5 program, which Cohen calls a "grand slam," grants residency toforeign investors who put $1 million in a regional centerenterprise and create at least ten jobs in the process.

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"There are literally thousands of people around the world whowould love to have an in to the US," Cohen says. "This separates usfrom every other product in the state, let alone the country, andopens the way for more development."

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