Universal Orlando is refining plans for what is expected to be the back-of-house operations center needed to support a new future theme park.
In the past four years, the entertainment company has amassed more than 575 acres of land south of Sand Lake Road and east of Universal Boulevard. The total investment surpasses $157 million.
Though few details have been revealed for the theme park portion, recently submitted plans for the assemblage offer a better glimpse as to what could become of the land as Universal looks to expand.
For one, the company is looking to develop 576,100 square feet of office and industrial space on a roughly 100-acre parcel located in the 5000 block of W. Sand Lake Road, directly east of Lockheed Martin’s campus. A recently submitted Change Determination Review application shows affiliate Universal City Development Partners LTD wants to develop that parcel in four phases.
The first phase fronts Sand Lake Road and would encompasses two large warehouse buildings that sit parallel from each other on the eastern end of the project. A third 6,200-square-foot warehouse is also part of the first phase. A conceptual site plan shows the larger warehouses span 200,800 square feet and 225,400 square feet.
The second phase consists of a one-story office building totaling 40,500 square feet and a 103,200-square-foot office building with three stories.
The third phase lies west of the two larger warehouses and will be used for parking. The site plan shows the final phase is designated for future development, so it remains unclear what exactly Universal Orlando wants to build.
Adjacent to the four-phase project is another development plan. Universal City Development Partners LTD wants to build out roughly 22 acres of land just south of the northernmost parcel.
Plans call for four small warehouses, a 9,200-square-foot office building and a newly introduced 18,500-square-foot chiller plant, according to a recently filed Change Determination Review application in Orange County. The total amount of commercial space on that tract amounts to 87,300 square feet.
The 22 acres of land Universal Orlando looking to develop is owned by another Universal affiliate called SLRC Holdings. Universal City Development Partners LTD is led by John McReynolds, who heads the external affairs office for Universal Orlando.
The total 575-acre assemblage sits just three miles from the established Universal Orlando parks. That contiguous mass is more than double the 209 acres that Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure occupy (not including back-of-house buildings, related hotels or Universal’s CityWalk). SeaWorld Orlando’s theme park covers about 196 acres.
The company has another 37.1 acres on two isolated parcels fronting Universal Boulevard across from the Icon Orlando, which could be connected to the mass by future water or road transportation.
Universal has declined to comment on its future plans for the property. Executives with parent company Comcast have told investors in recent years they have many ideas, and confirmed in November 2016 that a Nintendo-themed land would be coming to Orlando in the future.