Multiple New Construction Projects Coming to International Drive in 2022 and Beyond

International Drive continues to increase its presence as a major player in Orlando's tourism industry. The past several years have brought several changes to the I-Drive corridor, with many more coming to the area over the next five years.

In 2021 alone, the county improved some of the roads surrounding the area and (despite still feeling the effects of the pandemic) many new attractions, shops, and dining locations opened along International Drive, including the following:
  • Sand Lake Road Improvement Project completed in March of 2021, which included widening to six lanes, bike paths, and new sidewalks from International Drive to Universal Blvd. 
  • ICON Park had a record year and opened 7 new restaurants and attractions:
    • Museum of Illusions Orlando, an interactive attraction, opened on January 9, 2021.
    • In The Game, a restaurant with an arcade and visual experience, opened on March 16, 2021.
    • Build-A-Bear, an experience where guests can create their own stuffed animals from start to finish opened in June of 2021.
    • Gordon Ramsey Fish & Chips, a fast casual eatery serving Fish & Chips, and other dishes like shrimp, chicken and milkshakes opened in August, 2021.
    • Legendary Key West Saloon, Sloppy Joe's restaurant and bar opened in December, 2021.
    • The Orlando Slingshot, a 300' high, 450' catapult ride, opened December 2021.
    • The Orlando Gyro Drop Tower, which features a 400'high, 350' freefall reaching speeds of 75 mph, opened December 2021.
  • Kann Caribbean Rum Bar and Bakery, took over the old Thai Silk location and is a restaurant boasting a Haitian Caribbean Cuisine. It opened in February, 2021.
  • Aloft and Element Orlando - International Drive South began construction in late 2018 on a 7-story dual hotel with 284 rooms. The Aloft side was completed February 2021 and the Element side was completed March 2021.
  • International Drive is now home to Florida's first Original Beer Spa, which opened in 2021. It is a concept where guests can soak and relax in a tub of beer, and sip on beer as well.
  • The Hampton Social became the newest addition to The Pointe Orlando in 2021. It moved into the former Tommy Bahama's eatery. This restaurant specializes in seafood, pizza & brunches. The restaurant opened on February 18, 2021.
  • Additionally, The Pointe Orlando underwent a $32 million redevelopment project that started earlier in 2021. It includes The Link, a new 100' passageway, escalator, gathering space, upgraded valet areas, new landscape & signage, among other things. Phase 1 of the project was completed in 2021.
  • Two new restaurants opened at The Shops at The District on Universal Boulevard this year.
    • Moma's Cafe, a scratch kitchen serving fresh coffee, breakfast and lunch, opened on April 3, 2021.
    • Slidders Pizza, a personalized gourmet pizza restaurant opened in 2021.
  • Jefferson Sand Lake Apartments, a 264-unit luxury apartment community, including two 5-story buildings and a 2-story clubhouse, was constructed surrounding Boo Boo Lake off of Turkey Lake Rd. The property started leasing as of June 2021.
  • A new hotel under the Red Roof Inn flagship, Spot X by Red Collection, opened in November 2021. The building was formerly supposed to be a Best Western Glo Hotel, but the 67,774 SF, 154 room property changed owners.
  • The Kirkman Road Resurfacing project began in August 2019. The 6.6 miles includes Kirkman Rd. from S.R. 408 to Sand Lake Rd. (excluding Conroy Rd. to International Drive). It was completed in Fall 2021.
  • Chick-fil-A started construction in February on a new location off of Universal Boulevard. The location is a 6,406 SF drive through restaurant. Project was completed September 2021
  • Vineland Pointe announced the opening of Aldi in May of 2021 and Chick-fil-A in August 2021. 
  • The former I-Drive NASCAR building announced a new owner, K1 Speed, which became home to 64,000 SF of Go-Kart attractions, a full restaurant, arcade, bowling lanes, retail and meeting room. The new attraction debuted in the summer of 2021.
  • The Kirkman Road Pedestrian Bridge was completed at the intersection of Kirkman Road and Major Blvd. This 186-foot steel-truss bridge will improve pedestrian safety across Kirkman Road. The bridge will be 14-feet wide and the project also includes improved sidewalks.
  • The Grand National 16.5-acre mixed-use project on North International Drive now includes 60,000 -square-feet of retail and restaurant space. A new TownePlace Suites by Marriott opened a 7-story, 148 unit hotel. Projects came online in 2019 and the new hotel opened in May of 2021.
  • Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets is underwent a large redevelopment in 2021. Main areas of focus included lounge areas, the entryway, food hall, enhanced signage, and WiFi.
  • Vineland Pointe welcomed a new tenant, Crumbl Cookies, a bakery selling a wide variety of delicious treats. 

And that is only the beginning! Here's a quick look at what's happening in 2022:
  • I-Drive's (and America's) first 2D Noodle Bar, Twenty Pho Hour opened in January 2022, and features an interior that resembles a coloring book.
  • ICON Park will be introducing Brother Jimmy's, a famous New York restaurant serving classic southern comfort food and North Carolina BBQ in the summer of 2022.
  • KAVAS Tacos + Tequila, a mexican restaurant, is slated to open in early 2022 at The Pointe Orlando.
  • Orchid Bay Shopping Center found new tenants to replace the closed down CiCi's Pizzeria and Golden Corral locations. Parrillada Familiar Da Silva, a Venezuelan Steakhouse, will be taking over the former 6,000 SF CiCi's Pizzeria and is expected to open in 2022.
  • A 345 unit, 4 to 5-story apartment complex is now leasing to the Universal area called Triton Cay Orlando - Universal Apartments. Phase I, completed December 2021. Phase II, includes an additional 165 units over 3.5 acres. Construction began in September 2021. This complex is now leasing as of January 2022.
  • Cambria Suites, formerly known as Vib Hotel Orlando, is under construction on Visitors Circle. The project is a 65,130 SF, 5-story, 120 room property. Completion date is expected February 2022.
  • Currently on the future list of 2022 openings for Vineland Pointe:
    •  Walk-On's, which has started construction in March of 2021, and is expected to be completed in March of 2022.
    • Torchy's Tacos, an Austin, Texas based taco chain is opening one of their first Florida locations in Vineland Pointe in late 2022.
    • Pinstripes Bocce, Bowling and Bistro will also be coming to Vineland Pointe in 2022.
  • Rita's Italian Ice & Frozen Custard is excited to open it's doors to International Drive in March of 2022.
  • King Cajun Crawfish commenced construction in September 2020. It will be a restaurant located in the I-Drive Retail at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, and will be serving family style authentic Cajun Cuisine. Expected Completion is 2022.
  • One of Latin America's biggest soccer teams, Clube de Regatas do Flamengo Store Nação Rubro Negra, is opening a 1,100 SF retail store that will sell merchandise such as hats, jerseys etc. It is expected to open in 2022
  • Estimated to complete construction in April 2022 is Deseo Grande, a $54M, 5-story apartment complex with 365 units. An additional 365 unites were approved to be built in 2021. Completion date of the add-on will be announced at a later date.
  • South I-Drive is getting 329 new upscale garden-style apartments which will be apart of the community Altis at Lake Willis. The building will include fitness center and resort-style pool. Estimated completion is late 2022.

What about 2023 and Beyond? While many more projects may be added, here you are just some of them: 
  • I-Drive dedicated transit lanes from Sand Lake Road to the Beachline are scheduled to be completed in Summer 2023. Approximately three miles of dedicated transit bus lanes from Sand Lake Road to the Beachline will be built, as well as new sidewalks, landscaping, and signage.
  • Bainbridge Apartments are opening Bainbridge Sand Lake, a 100,000 SF multi-family apartment building with 4 stories, 330 units, a clubhouse and resort style pool. The expected completion of the project is 2023.
  • The $250M-$300M Kirkman Road Extension will be a 1.7-mile extension of south Kirkman Road. This is a public-private partnership with FDOT, Orange County, and Universal. The north-south stretch estimated completion is expected 2025.
  • Universal Orlando Resort is building a new, fourth, theme park to be called Universal's Epic Universe. The park will also feature an entertainment center, hotels, shops, restaurants and more. As of March 2021 construction was back underway, and it was announced that the park will be ready to open in 2025.
Other projects for which we are awaiting details include the following:
  • The former Sweet Tomatoes location on I-Drive is getting a new tenant. Volcano Hot Pot & BBQ will be opening a second Central Florida location. It will offer a variety of meats and vegetables are cooked at table frills or boiled in hot pots.
  •  A developer has been chosen for the housing community known as Housing for Tomorrow, which will be built on donated land from Universal Orlando. The project is expected to break ground in 2022, and include 1,000 apartments and 16,000 SF of retail space. 
  • A new project, Camden Market, has been announced that shows future placement for a European style market. The new plan details 390,000 SF of retail, 532 apartments, and 2,120 hotel rooms that will take place in four different towers.
  • Popeyes is opening a 2,503 SF fast-food restaurant on South International Drive. The completion date is TBA.
  • Sand Lake Vista is also expecting to open four restaurant pads totaling 17,500 SF, a 30,000 SF self-storage structure and the future home of Paramount Urgent Care. Additionally, a 4-story, 122-room Woodspring Suites Hotel will be opening at a later date.
  • Taking over the old Marriott Grand Pines Golf Club is the Paradiso Grande Resort Orlando, a 157 vacation home community to include town homes and single-family vacation homes from 3 to 15 bedrooms. This will also feature a community clubhouse, resort-style pool with a lazy river and walking trails. Phase 2 is currently under construction with estimated completion is TBA. 
  • Orchid Bay Shopping Center found new tenants to replace the closed down CiCi's Pizzeria and Golden Corral locations. An Asian Cuisine Marketplace will be occupying the 11,600 SF former Golden Corral location and will have multiple operators and a full bar under one room. Expected completion is TBA.  
  • Vineland Pointe will welcome Shake Shack, a fast-food burger and milkshake restaurant at a later date.   
  • The interchange between Sand Lake Road and I-4 will be reimagined into a diverging diamond configuration to assist in creating better traffic flow.  The construction date details for this Sand Lake Road Interchange are still waiting to be announced at this time.
Of course, we can look forward to even more attractions in the coming years, as the plans for some of them may not have been released to the public yet or may be in the design phase. One thing is certain: the International Drive area has a very bright future, and we can't wait to see what's next!
Looking to plan and book an Orlando-area vacation? Contact Destinations with Character Travel Services, LLC., specialists in all things Orlando, including Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld! Destinations with Characters is a Disney EarMarked agency and the official travel agency of Orlando Theme Park News!

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