Updated:ORLANDO, Fla. —
Some ducks that have become Orlando icons took their last waddle Monday down a red carpet at the Peabody Hotel, which is being gobbled up by international chain Hyatt for $717 million.
The ducks have been the trademark of the Peabody on International Drive since it opened in 1986. But the Hyatt deal closes on Tuesday, and the ducks will be retired to the animal farm they came from, Channel 9 has learned.
Hyatt said it's going after the luxury hotel for its 300,000 square feet of meeting space.
The Hyatt hotel corporation also owns the 45 acres next to the Peabody and across the street from the Orange County Convention Center.
With roughly 900,000 people attending conferences and trade shows in Orlando each year, the lot next door could be a perfect spot to expand, but so far, Hyatt officials have not said what the hotel chain is doing with it.
Brevard County resident Ora Paine calls the Peabody an Orlando institution.
"It gets to be almost part of the family, because they know your name, they remember your name," Paine said.
Paine just hopes when they change the sign from Peabody to Hyatt, the hotel's nearly 1,300 employees stick around.
The ducks in the fountain were a staple of the Peabody.
"You are seeing a lot of the older properties, what I would call the anchor properties, being bought out by newer companies, and somehow they are just never the same," said Paine.
Peabody officials said they anticipate offering employees at the hotel the choice to stay and work for Hyatt.