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A sports entertainment district is approved for downtown Orlando


A sports entertainment district is approved for downtown Orlando

This $500 million mixed-use development will take up nearly nine blocks.

By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | April 23, 2024
Rendering of Sports Entertainment District in downtown Orlando
Orlando, Fla.'s recently approved sports entertainment district has been in the works for several years. Images credit: JMA Ventures

Orlando, Fla., will be the next city to ride the wave of sports and entertainment districts rising up in urban centers across the country.

City officials on Monday approved plans for the redevelopment of an 8.5-acre block in downtown Orlando for a 900,000-sf mixed-use community hub named Westcourt.  Adjacent to the Kia Center arena that is home to the Orlando Magic NBA franchise, the new sports entertainment district will include a 260-key hotel with a 16,000-sf meeting area; 270 residential units, a 3,500-person capacity live entertainment venue,  up to 300,000 sf of Class A office space with a 17,000-sf rooftop amenity and a 6,000-sf glass-enclosed event space; and 120,000 sf of retail space, supported by a 1,140-stall parking garage and a 1.5-acre outdoor green space with a 28,000-sf “urban living room.”

Also see: 12 U.S. markets where entertainment districts are under consideration or construction.

The Orlando sports entertainment district is scheduled to begin construction later this year and to be completed by March 2027. It is being developed by a joint venture that includes the DeVos family (which owns the Magic), JMA Ventures LLC, SED Development LLC, and Machete Group, an advisory firm providing venue development, transactional, and organizational strategy services to industry-leading clients in sports, entertainment, and real estate development. Machete’s arena portfolio includes Chase Center in San Francisco and Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

At presstime, the development team had not chosen a general contractor for this project. The developers did not disclose the cost of the new district. But early-stage reports about this project—which dates back at least a decade—pegged the investment at $500 million. WESH 2 News reported that the DeVos family has owned this land for 11 years. Orlando city commissioners recently approved incentives to move this project forward, including up to $40 million in property tax refunds, called a Tax Increment Recapture; and up to $2.5 million toward an event space.

Leveraging the arena’s drawing power


An outdoor “urban living room” will be one of the district's amenities.

San Francisco-based JMA Ventures, whose portfolio leans toward hospitality projects, is the master developer of the Orlando district. It will provide overall asset and construction management, and establish a hotel partnership with a national hotel operator.

JMA states that the district would leverage its adjacency to Kia Center, which hosts more than 200 arena events each year that attract more than 1.7 million visitors. The downtown location already has a weekday office population of 95,000, and the district’s access would benefit from its proximity to Interstate 4 and bus and light rail lines.

“Orlando Sports Entertainment District will be a catalyst for redefining downtown Orlando,” JMA states. “It will transform an empty lot into a fully activated, vibrant urban core that promotes foot traffic and collaboration.”

Editor's note: New information from the developer was added to this article on April 24.

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