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Veteran theme park design consultant sells downtown home for $1.5M

Robert L. Ward, a veteran designer of theme park attractions and resorts and one of the original Imagineers of Walt Disney World, sold his 7,000-square-foot home on Downtown Orlando's Lake Concord for $1.5 million in late September.

The 2.37-acre lot at 514 Lakeview St. had been bought by Bob Ward and wife Sallyin 2002 for $1 million, per county records. The couple considered it a signature downtown property with a great view of the city's skyline, but were ready to down-size, Ward told GrowthSpotter.

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The Wards are now renting a villa at Country Club Villas, a small gated community on the north side of Orlando Country Club.

"I traded the lake view for a view of the fourth hole of a golf course," Ward said.

His career of 40-plus years in theme park and resort design has taken Ward around the world to advise clients. He spent more than 20 years with Universal Studios Parks & Resorts, and led the conceptualization, master planning and "signature placemaking" principals for all aspects of Universal Orlando Resort. He was also one of the early Disney Imagineers, starting with Walt Disney World prior to its 1971 opening of Magic Kingdom.

Ward said his future plans are "unfolding," with continued consulting projects for clients as far as China, but in the near-term he wants to stay local.

"Orlando has grown on me, so this is all part of sorting out how busy I want to be in the future," he said.

He is currently collaborating with Kermit Weeks, founder of Fantasy of Flight, a museum and event space in Polk City, halfway between Orlando and Tampa, with the world's largest private collection of vintage aircraft. The museum closed a year and a half ago, and Weeks is now evaluating how to reinvigorate it as an attraction, Ward said.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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