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The new Electronic Arts headquarters in Creative Village will open by October 2021.
The new Electronic Arts headquarters in Creative Village will open by October 2021. (Baker Barrios)

A three-story video board showing a stream of Madden, FIFA and other EA Sports mainstays could hover above the pedestrian plaza at the company’s new $62 million Florida headquarters building in downtown Orlando’s Creative Village.

Creative Village master developer Craig Ustler and gaming giant Electronic Arts have scored appearance review and master plan approvals from the Creative Village Design Review Committee for the 176,000-square-foot office building slated for the 1.8-acre parcel just south of Concord Street.

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The giant video and digital media screen would be affixed to the building’s parking garage, visible from Amelia Street and the future Creative Village Central Park.

“I don’t want you to think of this as an office building,” Ustler said at the meeting. “It’s very much a physical manifestation of creativity.”

He told GrowthSpotter the final details of the video screen and the permitted content would be worked out by EA and the city, but for now the plan shows it as a placeholder pending that approval because current city code does not allow for such a video screen on a single-use building.

The roughly 2,000-square-foot sign is also larger than what is currently allowed for a building of its size. The development team is therefore proposing exceptions to the code as part of a Planned Development amendment.

At the meeting, committee members were in favor of the screen and discussed possibly amending the city’s sign ordinance to allow for more video screens in Creative Village, so long as it is architecturally integrated into proposed buildings.

A rendering of the north view of the parking garage at the new Electronic Arts headquarters in Creative Village.
A rendering of the north view of the parking garage at the new Electronic Arts headquarters in Creative Village. (Baker Barrios)

Timothy Baker, a founding principal at architecture firm Baker Barrios, said the sign is designed to look like it’s floating.

Baker Barrios updated the design of the five-story building since the initial release in early October. Some of the tweaks include a slightly modified color palette, addition of an outdoor terrace on the top floor overlooking the quarter-acre urban plaza.

What’s more, the north façade of the parking garage, which has the greatest exposure to the Colonial Drive corridor, is proposed to feature undulate fins. Baker said they’re considering working with an artist to accentuate the facade by helping add depth and texture.

The parking garage can accommodate up to 659 vehicles.

Orlando’s Downtown CRA approved an incentive package valued at up to $9 million to lure the Maitland-based company to Creative Village.

The company says the workforce could potentially grow from its current 600 employees to 1,000 by 2025. In addition to its popular sports-themed video games, EA also owns such iconic brands and The Sims, Battlefield and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

The Ustler-led Creative Village Development will pay approximately $6 million for the city-owned land with closing expected in March or April 2020. The firm has a fully executed long-term lease for the entire building with Electronic Arts.

With the plans approved, Ustler can begin the permitting process. Construction is slated to begin next year in the spring. The building should be completed no later than October 2021.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published on Nov. 8, 2019. It has been updated to include the results and quotes from the discussion that took place at the latest Creative Village Development Review Committee meeting Tuesday, Nov. 12.

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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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