Driftwood Capital Taps Global Architecture Firm Gensler for $250 Million Westin Cocoa Beach Development
Driftwood Capital (formerly Driftwood Acquisitions & Development), a privately held firm specializing in the acquisition, development and investment syndication of high-quality hotel assets, has selected Gensler as the architect for the Westin Cocoa Beach, a new $250 million oceanfront hotel development on Florida's Space Coast.
Gensler's project team will provide site strategy and planning, as well as core/shell building and interior design, and pull in professionals from its Miami, Tampa and Costa Rica offices. The project is expected to break ground in 2022 and would be Driftwood's largest project to date, creating approximately 2,000 jobs in the region.
"The Westin Cocoa Beach is a transformative hospitality project that we hope will become iconic and emblematic of the Space Coast's revival as an economic hub and lifestyle destination," said Nelson Parker, Managing Director of Driftwood Capital's new GP Development Fund. "We sought out an architectural firm capable of creating something extraordinary, while minimizing the ecological impacts of such a new development. Gensler's exceptional track record in innovative, sustainable design deeply impressed us, as did the vision and commitment of their seasoned team."
The design will benefit from the creative perspective of Miami-based Shamim Ahmadzadegan, Principal and Design Director, who leads Gensler's mixed-use practice. He is known for bringing global design experience to complex, award-winning projects of scale and complexity across a variety of sectors. His projects include the Riverwalk Place in Tampa, Florida.
"Design begins and ends with human experiences, and brands that deliver seamless experiences will capture people's time, attention and spending," said Dawn Gunter, principal and co-managing director for Gensler's Tampa office.
"This exciting collaboration with Driftwood offers a chance to create not just a resort hotel with retail and other programming, but also a new lifestyle destination that embraces the unique characteristics of Cocoa Beach and the culture of space exploration associated with the area."
"We are assembling an award-winning team to make sure this is an iconic project that everyone from Cocoa Beach and Brevard County can be proud to have in their neighborhood," said Carlos Rodriguez Sr., Chairman and CEO of Driftwood Capital. "We will use the history of the area to guide us in the design of the hotel. From the 'I Dream of Jeannie' story, to the surfing culture, to the Space Race and NASA, all of these formative moments in Cocoa Beach will be inspirational concepts used in the design. At the same time, we are truly committed to making this project energy efficient and designing it by incorporating the latest in technology."
The Westin Cocoa Beach is slated for completion by mid-2024.
Gensler is a global architecture, design, and planning firm with 48 locations and more than 6,000 professionals networked across Asia, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and the Americas. Founded in 1965, the firm serves more than 3,500 active clients in virtually every industry. Gensler designers strive to make the places people live, work, and play more inspiring, more resilient, and more impactful.
About Driftwood Capital
Driftwood Capital is a vertically integrated commercial real estate investment, development, and lending platform specializing in hospitality. The principals of Driftwood Capital boast a 30+ year track record transacting on more than $5 billion in hospitality assets through various afﬁliated management and ownership entities. In 2015, the principals of Driftwood Capital launched a unique syndication model for accredited investors to access otherwise exclusive institutional-quality hotels. Through this innovative syndication model, Driftwood Capital successfully turned $50 million of initial investment into more than $1 billion in assets across 18 hotels and 5 development deals with more than 5,100 rooms in 12 states. All Driftwood Capital funds beneﬁt from the principals' afﬁliation with Driftwood Hospitality Management, which currently manages over 70 full and limited service hotels with more than 13,000 rooms across 22 states and is regarded as a long-standing industry leader and best-in-class operator.