Dubbed I-Shops, the development would include a massive renovation of the property's existing Wyndham hotel, as well as the addition of new restaurants and retail businesses along Orlando's main tourist corridor.
Unicorp said it is planning a $50 million renovation on the existing Wyndham Orlando Resort, including revamping more than 600 rooms and adding 55,000 square feet of meeting space. It will demolish some of the hotel, currently spread through 16 buildings, to make room on the 42-acre property for food and shopping outlets catering to tourists and conventioneers.
A site plan released Thursday by Unicorp showed a number of tenants with whom the company said it has signed letters of intent, which mark the first solid step in lease negotiations. They include Chuy's Tex Mex-style restaurant and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, both of which do not currently have locations in Central Florida, as well as BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse.
"These are tenants that we've been in negotiations with for quite some time," said Chuck Whittall, Unicorp president. "We believe these are tenants that will come to fruition."
A spokesman for Red Robin said the chain is looking in the Orlando area but would not confirm if it had signed a letter of intent to locate on I-Drive. Chuy's said it is "actively looking" in the Orlando market and at the I-Shops development, though a spokeswoman said the company doesn't disclose specific locations until a lease is signed.
Unicorp said it also has been in talks with Darden Restaurants to include the Orlando-based company's Longhorn chain and the recently acquired Eddie V's, a high-end seafood chain that doesn't yet have a Florida presence.
Darden spokesman Rich Jeffers confirmed the company had talked with developers about the project but said Darden had not made any commitments.
Unicorp, whose projects include Uptown Altamonte and Baldwin Park Village Center, is also behind a development next door to its planned I-Shops complex. The adjacent project, called I-Drive Live, is slated to include a giant observation wheel, a Madame Tussaud's wax museum and a Sea Life Aquarium. Propective tenants for that development include Stoney's country western bar, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Big Fin.
Both I-Shops and I-Drive Live are scheduled to open during the summer of 2013, with construction on I-Drive Live starting within weeks, Whittall said.
Unicorp is also looking for tenants for the long-neglected Gooding's Plaza, which lies between the two larger developments. It confirmed Thursday that it has a signed lease with Kings Bowling to anchor that complex, with a 28,000-square-foot building for bowling, billiards and a restaurant.
"We have a full plate on International Drive, and we see the Central Florida market recovering well," Whittall said. "We think our timing will be just perfect."