Universal’s New I-Drive Hotels

Universal Orlando’s plans for 2 new hotel buildings on International Drive seem to be gathering momentum.

The theme park company has filed a permit with the City of Orlando for site work that will begin to build the infrastructure for the new properties. Universal aims to build 4,000 hotel rooms at the former site of the Wet ‘n Wild water park, on the southeast and southwest corners of I-Drive and Universal Boulevard.

The new permit, which was pulled on Oct. 9, covers engineering work at the hotel site including “site development for grading and deep utility installation.” Those passing the construction site can see that all of the former Wet ‘n Wild’s slides have been removed and there are mounds of dirt on the site as crews make way for underground utilities and foundation work to begin.

Universal has yet to share any information on the project, but updated plans filed in May show the hotels will be branded/themed and “will feature resort-style landscaping, resort amenities including retail and food and beverage outlets, resort-style pools and other resort features in keeping with the brands for each respective property.”

The hotels’ split may be 1,200 rooms on the west side of Universal Boulevard with the remaining 2,800 rooms on the east side, according to past plans.

Universal Orlando has been growing its hotel portfolio rapidly during the past decade, and the latest opening coming up is the 600-room Aventura Hotel. It is on site at Universal Orlando and will welcome its first guests in 2018.