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ORLANDO-A 50-acre prime parcel zoned for hotel and timeshare development, across from the Downtown Disney venture in suburban Lake Buena Vista, FL, goes on the market for the first time this week without an asking price.

Only a select community of land brokers are even aware the parcel is for sale, brokers tell GlobeSt.com.

The property owner is New York-based UBS Warburg, the global financial services arm of UBS AG of Zurich, one of the world’s largest commercial lenders.

The dirt is back on the market after-long negotiations between Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide of White Plains, NY and UBS apparently broke down, brokers intimate with the transaction tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity. Starwood officials couldn’t be reached at GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline.

The property is just south of the 1,900-room Marriott World Center Resort and is bordered on the north by Walt Disney World’s 21-hotel empire. Starwood’s flagship timeshare resort in Florida, Vistana Resorts Inc., is adjacent to the 50 acres.

Holding back on an asking price is a strategy few owners of trophy dirt attempt outside of auction sales and bankruptcy assets divestments. But Christian Charre, head of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels’ Miami office, tells GlobeSt.com he is confident the ploy will work to his client’s advantage.

UBS feels the time is right to sell, Charre says.

“The final price, of course, will depend on what the buyer wants to use the land for,” Charre tells GlobeSt.com in a telephone interview. ” Although the dirt is zoned for hotel and timeshare development, Charre’s team will review offers from retail, residential and recreation developers as well.

“We are not in a hurry,” Charre says. He and Dirk Riekse, JLL’s vice president, land division, expect offers from national and international developers’ representatives.

“It’s not every day that you find 50 acres for sale literally across the street from Disney World,” Riekse says in a short prepared statement. The land is at 8800 Meadow Creek Drive, between Interstate 4 and State Road 535, a hotbed of retail, hotel and recreation development activity for the past five years.

The tract has 1,653 lineal feet of frontage along Interstate 4, directly across from Downtown Disney.

But how much the 50 acres will fetch could depend on a bidding war among buyers, an element that won’t surprise Charre. “I know that nearby International Drive parcels have gone for a million an acre but if we even get close to that, say $900,000 (per acre), that wouldn’t displease me,” he tells GlobeSt.com. Or his client.

At $900,000 per acre, the 50-acre tract would bring $45 million or $20.66 per sf, not a record price but a number that has been reached in Disney area sales over the past few years, land brokers tell GlobeSt.com.

For hotel and timeshare development, the estimated price could fall between $20 per sf ($871,200 per acre) to $25 per sf ($1.08 million per acre), land brokers intimate with recent sales in the Lake Buena Vista submarket tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity.

For retail development, the estimated price is likely to be between $15 per sf ($653,400 per acre) to $20 per sf ($871,200).

Robin Webb, a hotel development consultant for 30 years and vice president/managing broker, Arvida Realty Services Commercial Division, Winter Park, FL, thinks the estimated prices could be in the ballpark, but he has some reservations.

“There are a number of sales in the (International Drive) tourist corridor which meet or exceed the price-per-acre per developable acre, although none quite this large,” Webb tells GlobeSt.com.

“However, a more critical question is usability,” the consultant says. “There is a substantial amount of wetlands and underground aquifier throughout south Orange County in proximity to the Disney complex and any undevelopable land will affect the reasonability of pricing.

If most of the 50 acres are developable, only a hotel company with “an upscale lodging brand” will be able to afford building on the dirt, Webb says.

He thinks the estimated $15 per sf to $20 per sf for retail use could be attainable, “but again, the product will need to be on the higher end of the retail spectrum. ”

Charre of Jones Lang LaSalle tells GlobeSt.com most if not all of the 50 acres will be developable. “All of the ground studies have been done,” he says.

“Of the four primary hotel submarkets in Orlando, Lake Buena Vista is leading in occupancy and achieving the highest Revpar (revenue per available room) premium overall in Orlando,” the Jones Lang LaSalle executive says.

UBS acquired the 50-acre parcel when it purchased New York-based PaineWebber in November 2000 for $10.8 billion in cash and stock.

At that time, PaineWebber had owned the 688-room, 17-year-old Residence Inn by Marriott at Lake Buena Vista since 1998. Marriott had managed the property but could not convince PaineWebber to totally retrofit and renovate the premises, hotel consultants intimate with the hotel’s management, tell GlobeSt.com. Instead, PaineWebb decided to demolish the structure and sell the 50 acres.

PaineWebber is now part of the UBS Warburg securities division and continues to operate in the United States under the PaineWebber name.

UBS AG was formed from the 1998 merger of Union Bank of Switzerland and Swiss Bank Corp. UBS AG manages $1 trillion in client assets and has an international staff of 50,000.

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