Couples looking to tie the knot in a setting straight out of a Jimmy Buffett song will be able to do so at the proposed MargaritaVillage, the project’s developers said Thursday.
MargaritaVillage, a lifestyle resort based on the tropical vibes crooned about in Buffett’s hit songs, is shaping up to be much more than a hotel and a place to shop, including a planned wedding pavilion.
“There’s just so many opportunities to have this tailgate atmosphere,” said Jim Bagley, of Encore Capital Management, the project’s developers.
The development, first announced in August, will include a 60-acre manmade lake, a water taxi system and a 3- to 4-acre swimmable lagoon with a swim-up bar and water activities, developers told the Orlando Sentinel in an exclusive interview.
Other features include a lazy river, outdoor stages for concerts and a wellness center.
The wedding pavilion, which would be built near the 175-room Margaritaville themed hotel, was not originally planned for the resort, a 300-acre site on U.S. Highway 192 in western Osceola County near Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
The site was previously the location of the Splendid China attraction, which closed in 2003.
The pavilion was added after fans of the project asked for it.
“We’re already getting tremendous demand for destination weddings,” Bagley said. “This is a destination for a fairy tale wedding over the water.”
Instead of building a tall, vertical hotel, Bagley said Encore plans to do a low and long structure.
Guests staying on the first floor will be able to walk out of their rooms and straight into the lagoon, which will include snorkeling, paddle-boarding and children’s play areas, said Bagley.
“We think it’s going to draw massive amounts of people,” he said of the lagoon, the central activity center of the resort.
Encore is no stranger to Central Florida, with roots in the growing construcion of large vacation-rental homes in Osceola County, and, specifically, Kissimmee. A bulk of the company’s products are at Encore Resort Homes in Reunion, which typically run at 85 percent occupancy rate.
In addition to the hotel, about 500 vacation-rental homes are planned to be built on-site. The homes start in the mid-$300,000 range and reach up to $2 million.
The construction of more vacation-rental homes fits Osceola County’s growing stronghold on that market. Experience Kissimmee, the county’s destination marketing organization, is in the process of trademarking the “Vacation Home Capital of the World” moniker.
MargaritaVillage plans also call for the construction of about 300 timeshare units and condominiums, 170,0000 square feet of retail space and a 12-acre water park that’s open to the public.
Vertical construction of the hotel, water park and retail outlets should begin by the middle of 2016, said Bagley. The resort will open in phases beginning in 2017. It should be fully built in 2021.
The whole project would add $750 million in taxable value to the county, Bagley said.
Like other resorts in Central Florida, the hotel space, including surrounding amenities, are considered private for vacationers and their guests.
“This is a lifestyle place,” said Bagley. “It fits very well with the Margaritaville aura and theme.”