Growth Continues for Balmoral Resorts
Feltrim Developments sets their sights on expansion within Northeast Polk County.
Resiliency is the name of the game for real-estate development company Feltrim Developments. As the business continues to recover from the impacts of COVID, CEO Garrett Kenny still believes Polk County is the place to do business.
In addition to adding events and a food court at his showcase resort Balmoral – a $110 million, 115-acre vacation home resort – Kenny said he is moving his football-sized sports field to a nearby location and building townhomes in Lake Hamilton.
“I want to expand in Polk County,” he said. “I believe in Polk County; there is a lot happening here, a lot of expansion and a lot of people moving here. COVID delayed us, but we’re kick-starting our business again.”
COVID had a devasting impact on his business, he said. In 2020, Balmoral had $9 million in reservations booked. Three months later, it closed for four months. “All our business was gone. Our company went from 70 to seven employees. No one knew what to expect, what to do. We certainly did not anticipate it would continue into 2021.”
But things are starting to improve again, he said. Many of the owners at Balmoral are foreign investors, and the international travel markets didn’t open fully until 2022.
Kenny, a native of Ireland who still has an office there, started doing business in Polk County in 1996 and moved here full time in 2000. Since then, he’s attracted buyers from Ireland, England, Brazil, Dubai, Vietnam and China to invest in his properties.
Relocating the Sports Field
Balmoral Resort is home to the R9 Ronaldo Soccer Academy, which was developed by the Brazilian soccer star and opened in 2019. Like everything else, COVID closed the field – an American-sized football field that can be converted into seven soccer fields. The location has seating for 2,000 people. “It works very well,” Kenny said.
Now, “we’re looking to move the fields to a new location in Polk County,” he said. “We originally designed the fields for international visitors who would stay in the Balmoral homes and play on the fields. It was perfect when there was no COVID.”
When that business dried up, he tried attracting domestic sporting events. But there’s not enough parking. So he’s negotiating now for a location “within 20 minutes of Balmoral so visitors can come and stay there and drive to the fields.”
The Events Center
In December 2020, amid COVID, Balmoral opened its banquet and event center, where it now hosts birthdays, weddings, family get-togethers and more.
“We even introduced our own line of dinner shows,” Kenny said. “Two to three times a month from August till now, we’ve had shows featuring the likes of Elvis, Frankie Valle, Kenny Rogers, Rod Stewart and Pink Floyd. The dinner shows feature a three-course meal for $49, so we are attracting locals and visitors.”
Future shows will include a murder mystery dinner and a Christmas event complete with Santa, cookie decorating, music and dancing, he said.
With an increasing Hispanic population in Haines City, Balmoral now holds Hispanic Night on Fridays. It also recently held a Latin Rock Fest that included bands playing all day and a bike show.
Future Opportunities – The Food Court
The company is in the process of designing a 16,000-square-foot food court.
“There’s nothing like it in Haines City,” he said. “The food court will have multiple tenants in one place,” much like The Joinery in Lakeland and the soon-to-open Depot 305 in Mulberry – although much bigger.
The plan is to break ground in the middle of 2024 and open by the end of 2025, he said.
He also plans an outdoor stage for entertainment and an area where kids can play.
“I visited Armature Works in Tampa and knew we needed a place for the kids, so we are adopting that concept,” he said.
Expanding into Lake Hamilton
A year ago he read about building taking place in other locations, so he bought land in Lake Hamilton to continue to expand his business.
He’s now building 170 townhomes, adding much needed residential space in the city. In addition, “the city asked me to build retail space there.”
Don’t Miss Your Night of Entertainment
Be sure to check out upcoming events at The Balmoral Event Center and catch their next dinner theater, comedy show or musical performance.