Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Orlando City Stadium Site Update

UPDATE 02-20-2013: Sometimes you have to just cast a line out into the water just to see if any fish bite, in this case it did. I have updated this article to remove the possibility of the 434 North Orange Avenue site being used for the stadium as multiple sources confirmed yesterday that the parcel is no longer under consideration. However, those same sources have provided more detailed information about the single site that is the focus of the stadium effort at this time. I can say with confidence that the site is downtown and that the City DOES NOT currently own the land or all the land for the proposed site. With this in mind the article below has been changed to reflect the latest information with hopefully more news next week.

After yesterday's press conference about Orlando City's new ownership member, the $105 Million Dollar question is where exactly will the stadium be? This has been something we have been chasing longer than any other news organization in the country, so let's go over the latest facts and see if perhaps we can make an educated guess at the site.

First off we can now say with confidence that we are looking at a downtown, urban core location for the stadium. Previous discussions included a potential site just south of the Orange County Convention Center, but that is no longer the case with the County only being involved with their portion of funding the stadium through the hotel tax now. While the Orange County Mayor Jacobs' office would not confirm this, all other sources have confirmed the site(s) are downtown.

With the stadium site now being on land provided by the City of Orlando the key number from yesterday to focus on is $20M; that's the contribution from the City. Team President Phil Rawlins noted that the "bulk" of the City's contribution would be in the form of land provided for the stadium and infrastructure. We have heard that the number is further broken down into the following:

$10M - Land Cost paid by City
$5M - Roadway/Utility Upgrades paid by City
$5M - Cash paid by City

Furthermore, we have heard that the site may not actually be owned by the City at this point, but that the City may hold a purchase agreement on the land pending MLS granting the team and expansion franchise.

There are only so many parcels of land that are big enough for the stadium and would cost around $10M and in the downtown urban center. Actually, there are only two from what I can tell.

The first site a lot of people have asked about using is the land at the proposed Creative Village on the old Amway Arena site. Team President Phil Rawlins has told us previously in an interview that the group developing that site is too far along in their plans to include a stadium. However, recent opposition from local residents have brought the site back into play with the fact that a new stadium would replace the old stadium and mixed-use educational, residental, and commercial spaces would be built on the rest of the site. Sound familiar? It should, that was one of the areas we highlighted in our article last May.

The second site is a bit of an odd one, because it is currently occupied by several buildings included Orlando Police Department Headquarters. Just two weeks ago Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer made news with a plan to do a land swap with Lynx to build a new Police Station at the current Lynx Bus Depot on the corner of South and Orange Blossom Trail. Most news sources have reported that the land occupied by OPD headquarters and a parking garage may be purchased by Orlando Magic owners to build a $100M entertainment complex (doubtful). Instead we are hearing that this site might end up being the City's contribution to the new stadium plan. The block is made up of 6 lots which total $11.3M in land value (not including buildings which would be torn down). That location would fall more in-line with the City's goal of creating an entertainment corridor from downtown west on Church Street all the way to the Citrus Bowl. The offsetting seasons of the Magic and Orlando City would likely limit the number of conflicts from the two facilities being across from one another. Lastly, the combined proximity of the two facilities could open the potential to using both for a single convention, show, sporting event (such as X Games).

So even though the stadium site still isn't public, the crosshairs are finally tuned on just two or three sites in the heart of downtown. That is a win for supporter groups, for the team, and for Central Florida if this venture is going to be a success.

1 comment :

  1. Really glad to hear this. Face it, if a minor league hockey team (a bad one at that) can draw just under 10,000 on the weekends theres no way we wont beable to sell out a 25,000 person SSS downtown. The tourists will travel downtown to watch the matches, trust me. I talk to plenty of them at every Magic game, they love exploring the downtown core and the "real" city of Orlando. But the best part of it being downtown is the main core of fans are only a 15 minute or less drive away. Plus the Sun Rail will be running downtown by that time. I live out by UCF and getting downtown for a Magic game is not a problem. Try going out towards I drive or Disney in the evening, it can take an hour. Not to mention if it is built across from Amway they could easily share the parking garage, leaving more room for other development. Great thing for the City or Orlando and the people who live here. Hopefully Orlando City can create that sports culture we crave here in Orlando.

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