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Time-share units snapped up at The Gardens

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Pre-selling for units in The Gardens, Orlando's first time-share resort targeting gays, has been so strong that prices are going up faster than the buildings.

One- and two-bedroom units are now selling for $10,400 to $18,400, said project director Charles Schmidt, during the project's groundbreaking last week. That's up from $8,500 to $14,400 when the project was first unveiled last fall.

The Gardens is being built on Rock Lake near the Parliament House, a longtime gay-oriented motel and nightclub on the Orange Blossom Trail.

The 10-acre lakefront project will feature 162 South Beach-style one- and two-bedroom villas, ranging from 909 square feet to 1,405 square feet. The first units are expected to be completed by October, Schmidt said.

Parliament House owners Don Granatstein and Susan Unger are the developers. The resort will feature amenities ranging from a state-of-the-art health club and lagoon-style swimming pool to multi-themed bars and a private owner's lounge.

While the property by law cannot discriminate and sell exclusively to homosexuals, marketers said they will make it clear to prospective buyers that the clientele is expected to be predominantly -- if not exclusively -- gays and lesbians.

Orlando City Commissioner Daisy Lynum, who attended the groundbreaking, said she thinks the resort will upgrade the community. The former trailer park site was "an eyesore," Lynum said.

"I plan on coming over myself" to enjoy the nightclubs, said Lynum, who lives across Rock Lake near the project. She said she expects the entertainment will be enjoyed by both "gays and straights."

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