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CELEBRATION, FL-This Walt Disney World-founded city in Osceola County, 20 miles south of Downtown Orlando, will carry a definite French air in the near future after Mona Lisa Hotels & Residences of Aix en Provence, France, closes a contract this month for 10 prime acres, people in a position to know tell GlobeSt.com. An estimated $53-million, 240-unit condominium-hotel venture is planned to open on the site in 2007.

The Guillem family and several partners who own Mona Lisa Hotels & Residences couldn’t be reached by GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline to learn the contract price or the planned ground-breaking date for the project. Sources tell GlobeSt.com construction is expected to start in first quarter 2006.

However, area hospitality industry and construction sources familiar with comparable projects tell GlobeSt.com the land will probably come in at $500,000 per acre ($11.48 per sf) or a total $5 million. Sources estimate the hard construction cost of the condos and the hotel component will be in the $200,000-per-unit range or a total $48 million.

The development site is near the seven-year-old, mixed-use Celebration Place community off US 192. Marketing sources familiar with comparable condo-hotel projects tell GlobeSt.com the hotel units will probably be priced in the $300,000 to $500,000-per-unit range. Century Marketing International Inc. of Orlando is handling sales.

The undertaking is called the Mona Lisa at Celebration and will complement the 115-room Celebration Hotel that opened near Downtown Celebration in 1999. But one hotel project that won’t complement either Celebration Hotel or the Mona Lisa at Celebration for a long while is a long-planned 450-room, $1-billion Four Seasons resort, area hotel brokers tell GlobeSt.com.

Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotels Inc. bought 450 acres in southwest Celebration in 2002 from the Celebration Co. but hasn’t turned a spade on the dirt to date. The Canadian developer and the Celebration Co. have never disclosed the land price but industrial real estate brokers and developers privy to the deal tell GlobeSt.com the estimated price was in the $500,000-per-acre range or a total $200 million, as GlobeSt.com reported at the time. At that price, the dirt would be most expensive ever traded in Central Florida, sources tell GlobeSt.com.

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