Orlando’s 1st Artificial Lagoon
Orlando’s 1st artificial lagoon debuts with a splash
Dressed in pants and a button-down shirt, Al Penny waded out into the clear blue water and dipped his head beneath the surface.
No one could blame Penny for taking a plunge on a scorching hot summer afternoon. But there was more behind the swim than an effort to cool down. It was a celebratory swim.
For nearly five years, Penny and his team have been working on developing the 1,100-acre Evermore Orlando Resort.
Located near Disney theme parks, it will be anchored by Central Florida’s first Conrad Hotel. The body of water that Penny, director of site development with Dart Interests, descended into was the newly finished artificial lagoon that serves as the project’s centerpiece.
Spanning 8 acres and filled with 17 million gallons of water, it’s the first Orlando project to feature such an amenity.
The process of filling the lagoon started nine weeks ago and lasted 38 days. The lagoon is 12 feet at its deepest point and 8 feet deep at the center.
On Wednesday, employees with Dart Interests, D.L. Meacham Construction, Kimley-Horn, and Evermore Resorts gathered at the edge of the lagoon and ceremoniously topped it off with the final drops of water.
Some dove in afterward.
The milestone marks the first completed aspect of the resort project ahead of its grand opening in December. The 433-room hotel, luxury vacation homes, villas, and flats are under construction but nearing completion.
“This is absolutely a celebration,” a soaking-wet Penny said. “I’ve got nearly five years of my life wrapped up in this thing. We certainly had some challenges with construction costs, COVID, and a big storm.”
Hurricane Ian caused a brief delay in September after it blew construction materials and debris into the large hole dug out for the lagoon. A crew had to spend nearly a week cleaning up the mess before work could resume.
Then, the opening date was pushed back a few months due to supply chain issues stemming from the pandemic.
In addition to the hotel, Evermore Resorts will include 69 vacation houses ranging in size from five to eleven bedrooms, 206 four-bedroom flats, and 41 two and four-bedroom villas ranging from 2 to 4 bedrooms.
The vacation homes will be available as short-term rentals owned and maintained by the resort.
To the west side of the Evermore property, developers have plans for an 18-hole golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus. A food hall, gourmet market and casual restaurant will overlook the golf course and bay. There will also be space for food trucks.
Located along Winter Garden Vineland Road in Orlando’s tourism district, the site sits directly north of Disney Springs, east of Walt Disney World Resort, and west of SeaWorld Orlando.
Crystal Lagoons has offices in five continents with a portfolio of over 2,000 patents in 190 countries, its website says. Currently, there are 222 projects in stages of development and negotiations.
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