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The slow roll out of Orlando Magic’s entertainment complex explained at CREW event

The slow roll out of Orlando Magic’s entertainment complex explained at CREW event
A color-coded conceptual plan of the Orlando Magic Sports & Entertainment District that features the hotel (blue), office tower (teal), public plaza (purple) and apartment building (green). (HKS)

A necessary component that will allow Orlando Magic’s proposed Sports & Entertainment District to move ahead with its estimated $200 million project is taking shape next week, but according to an official at the firm that may not matter in what is expected to be a "thought-out” deliberation of the project.

At a CREW Orlando event Wednesday, Pat Gallagher, a director of the Sports & Entertainment District, said the Orlando Union Rescue Mission men’s home is finally expecting to relocate out of its current location within Magic’s roughly 8-acre land assemblage across from the Amway Center.

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Fred Clayton, CEO with Orlando Union Rescue Mission confirmed with GrowthSpotter the organization plans to move out next week. A grand opening of its new spot (the former Parkwood Inn at 3300 W. Colonial Dr.) will take place next Thursday, he said.

The organization currently operates out of their building at 410 W. Central Boulevard — a site of which it agreed to sell to the team in 2014.

A rendering of Orlando Magic's Sports & Entertainment District released by architect HKS
A rendering of Orlando Magic's Sports & Entertainment District released by architect HKS (HKS)

Gallagher said the move will allow the company to have full control of the land so it may begin construction, but because the project is expected to take place in just one phase, he added the firm plans to move ahead fastidiously.

"We have one chance to make this right,' Gallagher said. “So we’re taking our time to make sure we’re tackling this at all angles.”

He declined to comment on a timeline for the project. The Magic released new renderings nearly a year ago but have yet to file a revised master plan or seek a courtesy review from the city’s Appearance Review Board.

Plans call for a 250-room luxury hotel, a 300-unit apartment tower, 100,000 square feet of retail space bordering a large, open-air plaza and a seven-story office building that will house the Magic’s new headquarters.

The idea for the project began to take shape about a decade ago, when a group of architects presented the Orlando Magic with the concept to build an all-in-one entertainment complex across the street from the Amway Center.

The team was on board, but directors piecing the project together had to endure a recession and some other downfalls in the world economy, which hindered the project.

Traction picked up in 2013, when the team purchased the longtime headquarters of the Orlando Police Department and the city-owned parking garage at Church Street and Hughey Avenue. In 2017, the parking garage was torn down and OPD moved into its new headquarters on South Street in Parramore.

Pinning down office and retail tenants is another major factor in completing the project.

At the event Gallagher said he’s looking for retailers that will cater to a “lunch and dinner crowd." In addition to the ground-floor retail, there will be opportunities for renting space on rooftops within Sports & Entertainment District, he said.

“We want to make sure the project stays active in the day-time and the night-time,” Gallagher said. “It’s important we keep it a compelling place.”

Nearby, city planners are working on designing an urban park underneath I-4, called Under I. The park sits between South Hughey and South Garland avenues and is expected to feature basketball and tennis courts, a dog walk, soccer fields and a performance venue.

The new soccer stadium and UCF and Valencia’s downtown campus at Creative Village are other major developments that have recently opened in the downtown area.

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Earlier this month GrowthSpotter reported that developer David Hirschfeld held a pre-application meeting with the city to share preliminary plans for a 17-story mixed-use tower across from S&ED.

If approved, the proposed tower would rise at the corner of Central Boulevard and Division Avenue, and feature 171 apartments of 500 square feet or less.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-5427, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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