During their June 6 meeting, the Kissimmee City Commission voted unanimously to explore the possibility of partnering with a development firm to construct a hotel in downtown Kissimmee. The commission is considering two options along with that move, either demolish the existing Kissimmee Civic Center or refurbish it as part of a larger convention center complex.

In July, the city will issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to firms interested in submitting concepts for the estimated 3.15 acre site across from the Downtown Kissimmee SunRail station.

“We’re looking at targeting this potential, and I stress potential, hotel development where the existing civic center is and the parking lot there,” Kissimmee Economic Development Director Tom Tomerlin explained during the commission meeting,

Kissimmee Civic

City officials have been trying to attract hotels to downtown Kissimmee for a number of  years. The original plan was for the Mosaic redevelopment project to include a boutique hotel, but that was removed. Another attempt was to include a hotel in the Toho Parking Garage plan, but that also failed to come to fruition due to financing challenges.

Tomerlin, believes that downtown Kissimmee has the necessary elements for a successful hotel, especially if the city can arrange a shared parking agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation for the nearby SunRail parking garage. He cited the improved hotel market conditions following the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason to consider the action as well as the downtown location offering convenient access to the SunRail station, Lakefront Park, over 30 downtown shops and eateries, Amtrak, NeoCity, and the theme parks that are within a 20-minute drive.


“We think we have a great downtown experience that could be expanded,” Tomerlin shared with the city commission. 

The RFQ will include the civic center building so that respondents can determine whether it should be demolished or repurposed. The 42,000-square-foot building, which includes a gymnasium with an indoor basketball court, has been underutilized. Consultants previously recommended repurposing it into a performing arts center, but the city is open to other proposals. The building is not ADA compliant, lacks an elevator, and has insufficient facilities for hosting large events.

“This is all dependent again on what type of proposal we get, does that proposal suggest, and does the commission agree to tearing down the facility, or renovating the facility,” Kissimmee City Manager Mike Steigerwald explained during the commission meeting. “We went through a similar exercise a few years ago, about looking at making the facility an arts event center, and at the time there was concern about displacing recreational use of the gymnasium. To be honest, we don’t use that facility very often for recreation.”

Steigerwald summed up the potential change to the civic center as a way to convert the facility into one that is more conducive to conferences and conventions as opposed to a multi-purpose facility. He also referenced possibly creating a situation similar to what Osceola County has with their use and management of Osceola Heritage Park.

The city plans to publish the RFQ in early July with a 30 or 40-day deadline, but the entire process could still take several years. Osceola County hasn’t had an easy time attracting quality hotels away from the main tourism corridor, and a hotel developer withdrew from a project at Osceola Heritage Park in 2022.