A sports-anchored entertainment district in downtown Orlando, whose concept can be traced to 2011, appears finally to be moving toward a possible starting date late this year.
SED Development LLC and the Orlando Magic pro basketball team in Florida yesterday identified two development partners for a sports and entertainment district to be located on 8.43 acres between the city-owned Amway Center (where the Magic plays) and the Federal Building and Courthouse.
The Magic is owned by the DeVos family, which is spearheading this project, whose cost is expected to exceed $500 million. The development team now includes JMA Ventures and Machete Group. JMA’s previous projects include Downtown Commons, a 1-million-sf mixed-use development adjacent to Golden 1 Center, where the Sacramento Kings basketball team plays. Machete, which developed the Amway Center, is most recently known for its development of Chase Center arena and the surrounding Thrive City mixed-use district in San Francisco.
SED and the Magic did not disclose the start date for the entertainment district in Orlando, although officials from SED have stated previously that construction could begin in late 2023, with a mid-2025 completion. The design-build team has not been revealed yet, either, but news reports have cited the firm Baker Barrios as the district’s architect and master planner.
One of several entertainment districts underway Florida
The district, state SED and the Magic, will comprise 260 hotel rooms, 16,000 sf of meeting and conference space, 270 housing units, 200,000 sf of office space within an 18-story tower, 125,000 sf of retail space, a 3,500-seat event space, a town square, and 1,100 parking spaces.
The development of a downtown sports and entertainment district has been under discussion in Orlando since 2011, according to news reports. A January 14, 2014 staff report to the city’s Municipal Planning Board stated a project plan that was similar to what’s being proposed today, with some variations: for example, the project a decade ago would have had 100,000 sf of office space and 64,000 sf of retail. On the other hand, the older plan called for 40,000 sf of meeting/conference space.
Over the past decade, the parking garages and Police Department building on the land to be redeveloped have been demolished.
The Orlando project is one of several entertainment districts that are in various stages of development in Florida. Other districts have been proposed or are underway in Tampa Bay, Pompano Beach, Miami, and Gainesville.