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WINTER PARK, FL-The prices have risen and the condo homes are only half-finished but that hasn’t stopped local buyers from plunking down non-refundable deposits on 17 of the 23 million-dollar-plus units going up at the Residences, part of a $100-million hotel and condo project surfacing on a four-acre site at 300 E. New England Ave.

Area brokers tell GlobeSt.com Langford Development LLC expects to see the same sort of buyer demand when it breaks ground in spring 2005 on the Regent Hotel & Spa, a planned 140-unit condominium hotel where 57 furnished one-bedroom condo units will start at $300,000. Suites will be $420,000 to $895,000. Twenty-eight of the $300,000 units are already pre-sold.

Prices on the 23 condos at the Residences have gone up from the $1.1-million to $2.8-million range announced in May 2003 to approximately $1.8 million to $3 million today.

“Buyers, sensing an opportunity to own and rent out their own properties within the Regent venture, already are snapping up units, months before the space will be ready for living purposes,” Dean Fritchen, a senior broker at Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT in Winter Park, tells GlobeSt.com. “For this caliber of buyer, there is no recession.”

The Residences and the Regent Hotel & Spa are being constructed on the former site of the Langford Resort Hotel, a 48-year-old, 213-room inn where Presidents and international diplomatic and sports figures stayed during its almost five decades of operation. The Langford closed June 1, 2000 and was demolished in 2003.

Initial plans for the new Langford property called for 2,000 sf of retail; a 200-seat restaurant; a 250-space garage with 52 additional surface spots; a 10,000-sf ballroom and meeting room area; and a 20,000-sf spa and fitness center.

Principals of Langford Development are Mark Ellert, president, Aztec Leisure Corp. and Interlink Hospitality Corp., both of Fort Lauderdale; Ezra Katz, chairman and CEO, Aztec Group Inc., Coral Gables; and James Heistand, president, Capital Partners Inc., Orlando.

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