The Orlando Magic filed plans with the city last week seeking approvals for the team’s $70 million practice facility with the hope of starting construction in June.
The Magic won approval from the Orlando City Council in February to buy a 2.58-acre city-owned lot across from the Amway Center and next to the future Sports+Entertainment District. The team had quietly purchased an adjacent 1.2 acre vacant lot a year earlier for $2.24 million.
Now the Magic is seeking a courtesy and final review from the city’s Appearance Review Board and Master Plan approval from the Municipal Planning Board in May to meet the expedited timeline set forth in the city agreement. The anticipated completion date for the project is September 2021.
“This is the next step in the process as we provide a privately-funded facility which will serve our basketball operations, while providing health and wellness services in our community," team spokesman Joel Glass said. "We look forward to working with local sub-contractors on the project. “
The team hosted a Virtual Pre-Bid webinar Tuesday afternoon for around 100 interested subcontractors. The hard construction costs are estimated to be $45 million.
The plans call for a 100,000-square-foot facility plus a 30,000-square-foot orthopedic and sports medicine clinic operated by AdventHealth, the team’s longtime medical partner.
James Braam, director of HOK’s Sports+Recreation+Entertainment practice, is the lead architect. He said the building is designed to “thoughtfully weave itself into the urban fabric and instill a sense of civic pride." Braam described the two practice courts as the heart of the building, while the rest will function as inviting “living rooms.”
“Intentional and strong inside (and) outside connections further the concept of community and will blend with a strategic use of gardens, terraces, and roof decks. This activation of exterior space along with lush greenery will provide the city a visual relief in an urban setting while still maintaining security for the business,” Braam wrote in the project narrative.
In addition to the new practice courts, the building will include expanded strength and conditioning, training and recovery facilities; an aquatic area; physical therapy areas and hydrotherapy pools; sports science and nutrition facilities; cutting edge audio-video and imaging technology; flexible hospitality areas; and work space for the team’s coaching and basketball front office staffs.
The healthcare component of the facility will include a comprehensive list of services in preventative and rehabilitative treatment and sports performance training for the Magic players and the public.
Braam located the team offices and training spaces north along West Central Blvd. to strategically capture the natural light. He described the building design and choice of materials as “a contemporary take to a traditional approach.”
Whether the team can meet its deadline to have the facility ready in time for the 2021 season remains a question, since city advisory board meetings have been canceled since mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. City Spokeswoman Karyn Barber told GrowthSpotter the city is working to move those meetings to virtual platforms, so it’s possible the MPB and ARB could offer the review by videoconferencing in May.