Start date cloudy for Orlando Magic Entertainment Complex site work

Initial demolition and site work needed to get the ball rolling on the Orlando Magic Entertainment Complex could be delayed until as late as Summer 2016, due to the upcoming NBA season and a protracted relocation of the Orlando Union Rescue Mission's homeless shelter on W. Central Boulevard. 

Phase I of the club's $200 million entertainment complex involves tearing down the existing brick parking garage on the corner of S. Hughey Avenue and W. Church Street, in order to build a new six-story garage, 165,000-square-foot office tower, retail space and a public plaza. 

The club began seeking bids in June for a construction manager to demolish the existing garage and begin building a new one, with an estimated start date of Sept. 23 for that work. 

But the proposed footprint of that Phase I construction covers not just the existing parking garage, but also the 0.6-acres occupied by the men's homeless shelter on W. Central Boulevard. The shelter site is surrounded by 7.83 acres of police station property the Magic bought in November 2014 for $12.57 million.

The club has an open contract with the mission to buy its property for $3 million, according to past Sentinel reports, but no deadline was given to Orlando Union Rescue Mission to vacate the property this year. 

Magic executives previously projected in August 2014 that ground could be broken on the new $200 million redevelopment project after this past 2014-15 season ended, which would have been April-June.

Orlando city officials say they're now working to sell city-owned land to the mission that lies a half mile away from its current site in Parramore, where a larger homeless shelter would be built from scratch, the Orlando Sentinel reported on Tuesday.

While the city will attempt to streamline that process, sale of the parcel must be advertised over the next 30 days. Any other developer can pursue acquisition as well, but they'll have to meet specific requirements of a "renovated social service" for the site. 

If Orlando Union Rescue Mission is the only offer proposed, its land development process is slated to start in September with the Municipal Planning Board. That could work its way through to City Council approval in October or November. 

Orlando Union Rescue Mission has indicated a nine-month construction process for its new shelter, putting potential opening at 12 to 16 months from now, a city spokeswoman confirmed for GrowthSpotter.

A Magic spokesman declined to comment on whether the club would begin demolition work on the parking garage this season, a move that would cut into ancillary game revenue.

Rescue mission officials did not return calls for comment on whether the Central Boulevard shelter would be vacated before a new shelter is ready in 12 to 16 months.

Orlando Magic officials have emphasized that the club is still developing its plans and construction schedule for the entertainment complex, and have avoided specifying timelines for the work. The Orlando Magic is also still seeking development partners for retail and office lease, and the hotelier that would occupy Phase II of the development. 

bmoser@growthspotter.com or (407) 420-5685

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