Ripley Entertainment pursues grading & pond work on John Young Pkwy site

An affiliate of Jim Pattison Group, owner of Orlando-based Ripley Entertainment Inc., is readying a 21-acre parcel on S. John Young Parkway for future development.

The company paid $3.3 million in November 2015 for the property, an investment considered at the time as the likely site for a future headquarters and archives building for the company.


The vacant, industrial-zoned parcel lies at the southeast corner of the Commerce Park Drive and S. John Young Parkway intersection.

The owner filed a county permit request on Wednesday to mass-grade the site, reroute existing utilities and modify an access roadway. The work is valued at $1.9 million, according to civil engineer B&S Engineering Consultants' application, which is under review by staff.


Pattison also filed a permit request on Tuesday with the South Florida Water Management District to mass-grade the site and fill three existing wet ponds.

Of its 21 gross acres, 4.6 are retention ponds now, and the parcel has served as the base of a master storm water retention system for the Southridge Commerce Park that lies to the parcel's northeast.

The property was given a new address of 9535 S. John Young Parkway on Wednesday by Orange County, prior to approving the site grading. Total project area including a neighboring parcel's pond is 25.6 acres.

A company spokeswoman declined to comment Thursday on what Ripley Entertainment plans to do with the property, after the mass grading.

The company's headquarters and archives currently occupy 41,800 square feet of leased space in the CrownPointe Commerce Park at 7576 Kingspointe Parkway, about three miles northwest of the vacant land. Ripley stores around 10,000 exhibit items in that warehouse at any given time.

On a site plan provided to SFWMD, the engineer notes that plans for development of the Pattison property remain undetermined, but could be any of the allowable uses under the I-4 District, including support retail to the employees of that office park.

In September 2001, a Preliminary Conservation Area Determination (CAD) for this property was filed, which showed approximately 25 percent of it may be considered jurisdictional wetland. This was done by the Orange County Environmental Protection Division for guidance only, and is not binding.

The company also declined on Thursday to comment on its future plans for 20.4 acres it bought in late December along Universal Boulevard, next to the new Topgolf and Andretti Indoor Karting & Games attractions now being built.


Ripley Entertainment operates 95 attractions under a dozen brands around the world, which include Believe It or Not! Odditoriums, aquariums and Guinness World Records museums.

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