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City outlines Camping World Stadium improvement plans in bid document

City outlines Camping World Stadium improvement plans in bid document
The proposed $46.7 million expansion to Camping World Stadium would add a new deck of Plaza and Club level seating to the north endzone. (Paige Wilson, Orlando Sentinel / OSMG)

The City of Orlando is moving forward with plans for a potential $46.7 million expansion and renovation at Camping World Stadium and is looking for a lead architecture firm for the project.

The city posted a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) this week for design services detailing the expansion plans for the stadium. The document spells out a scope of services and construction schedule for the stadium improvements as well as a potential new concert venue.

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Allen Johnson, chief venues officer for the City of Orlando, told GrowthSpotter that most of the improvements were envisioned when the city embarked on its $207 million renovation and expansion in 2014.

"As we moved through the project and the process, there were items we value-engineered out of the project due to expense and limited budget," he said Tuesday. "It was a hard budget we had, and a hard timeline. So most of the items we're looking at were items that were originally in that scope."

This photo from the 2014 grand opening of Camping World Stadium shows the open plaza at the north end zone. Plans call for the addition of 5,000 permanent seats in this section of the stadium.
This photo from the 2014 grand opening of Camping World Stadium shows the open plaza at the north end zone. Plans call for the addition of 5,000 permanent seats in this section of the stadium. (Handout)

The first phase of the project would add approximately 5,000 permanent seats in the north endzone on the Plaza level, as well as seating above on the club level that would be a mixed variety of options.

"It could be club seating, it could be flex space, it could be suites - but our emphasis is not on suites in this case," Allen said.

New restrooms and concessions would also be added, as well as parking improvements. The three existing video boards may also be upgraded as a part of the contract, Allen said.

In addition to stadium expansion, the facility could be in line for a new 5,000-seat amphitheater for pre-game festivities and concerts. Allen said roughly 90 percent of touring acts are looking for venues with fewer than 7,000 seats.

"With us operating Amway Center and Camping World, we deal with LiveNation and AEG on a regular basis," Allen said. "Both have expressed a need for a boutique amphitheater. Orlando doesn't really have a boutique amphitheater like the ones in St. Augustine or Jacksonville or Miami."

The RFQ states that the amphitheater would not be a part of the original contract but could be added as a later phase if additional funding becomes available. The selected firm would be expected to recommend a location within the Camping World grounds where the two venues could operate concurrently or independently.

"We need something bigger than Hard Rock Live, House of Blues or Plaza Live, but it's smaller than the Amway Center," he said. "It's a niche in the market we don't have the capacity. And what's unique about these boutique amphitheaters is they do try to make these have character to them, so it's not a flat field."

The solicitation follows the presentation last September to the county's Tourist Development Council by leaders from the Central Florida Sports Commission and Florida Citrus Sports. In April the TDC allocated $1 million to the Sports Commission to submit a bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

If Orlando is selected as one of the host cities, additional funds would be spent on soccer-specific improvements to the stadium property, as reported by The Orlando Sentinel. Unspecified "future soccer-related improvements" are also listed on the RFQ as a potential add on to the initial scope.

The city's purchasing agent will hold a mandatory pre-proposal conference on May 15, and proposals are due June 12. The schedule calls for awarding the contract in September. It allows for nearly a year of design and pre-construction work, with actual construction tentatively slated to start in July 2020. The RFQ is available on the city's VendorLink page.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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