Driftwood taps Gensler for Westin Cocoa Beach design

The International Palms Resort & Conference Center in Cocoa Beach, Fla., will be demolished to create the Westin Cocoa Beach. Photo credit: Driftwood Hospitality Management (International Palms Resort & Conference Center)

Driftwood Capital (formerly Driftwood Acquisitions & Development)—a privately held firm specializing in the acquisition, development and investment syndication of 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.
The Westin Cocoa Beach will be built on a 17-acre oceanfront site currently occupied by International Palms Resort & Conference Center, which Driftwood Capital owns and operates through Driftwood Hospitality Management and plans to demolish. The new hotel and convention center built in its place will have 502 guestrooms, 40,000 square feet of retail and more than 50,000 square feet of meeting space, making it the largest convention center in the region.

Driftwood is expected to open syndication for this property beginning in fall 2020.  
Miami-based Shamim Ahmadzadegan, principal, design director and leader of Gensler’s mixed-use practice whose projects include the Riverwalk Place in Tampa, Fla., will oversee the design. 
Carlos Rodriguez Sr., chairman/CEO of Driftwood Capital, said the company would use the history of the area as a guide for the design. “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.