Plans approved for I-Drive luxury hotel and mall



ORLANDO, Fla. - Big changes are coming to central Florida's tourist corridor after Orlando city leaders approved plans for a new mall and hotel on International Drive.

Plans to build a mega mall were approved, and it will include a 26-story hotel with 750 rooms, upscale restaurants and stores. City leaders unanimously approved the proposal at a meeting Monday.

The developer, Abdul Mathin, said he has a vision about the new I-Square mall and hotel.

"We were all thrilled and when we walked out we were cheering. It's a great achievement," said Mathin.

Mathin told Channel 9 the plans include a swimming pool, revolving restaurant and luxury hotel rooms, with the hotel's top 10 floors catering to wealthy clients.

"(We're) always concerned about traffic, always concerned about the height. We worked through that and we satisfied everything. There's still few items to satisfy, very minor things," said Mathin.

The project is expected to cost between $300 million and $400 million, and it will replace the International Shoppes on International Drive at Kirkman Road. Shoppers said the area could use a little boost.

"The other side from the convention center down is beautiful to sand lake, and over here, nothing," said one nearby resident.

In May, WFTV reported on the developer's plans to build the I-Square Mall and Hotel in May on I-Drive and Kirman Road. Since then, city planners scaled back the plans from a 31-story building to 26 floors.

"I'm trying to see how I can provide the best service and best accommodation," said Mathin.

According to the project's website, the mall is expected to open in 2017.