IAAPA pays $3M for Darden land near tourism corridor for new HQ site

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) paid $3 million on Friday for roughly 7 acres next to Darden Restaurants' corporate headquarters, where it plans to build a new headquarters office east of Orlando's tourism corridor. 

Located in roughly the 4100 block of Taft Vineland Road, southwest of the Beachline Expressway intersection with S. John Young Parkway, the 6.97-acre investment puts the leading theme park trade group in the world's top theme park market. 

"The closing of the land purchase today is an important step forward in the relocation of IAAPA's global headquarters to Orlando," said spokeswoman Colleen Mangone. "We are excited that our focus can now fully shift to the design and development of the new building, which we envision as the industry's home for decades to come."

IAAPA announced plans in September 2016 to move its headquarters from Alexandria, Virginia to Orlando, and confirmed a contract to buy the Darden land in early February to the Orlando Sentinel.

The association filed a request in January in Orange County via Poulos & Bennett to change the property's Land Use Plan, to convert 250 hotel rooms to 150,778 square feet of office for this tract.  

The land was sold by Darden Corp., which also signed over to IAAPA its development rights and entitlements for the property, which include:

-- 63,000 gross square feet of office space approved for "Tract 3A" as set forth in the Planned Development zoning;

-- 932 average daily trips and 174 p.m. peak hour trips; 

-- The right to one additional curb cut and one additional median cut along Taft Vineland Road extension, for access to the property. 

No new Development Plan has been submitted for the project by any of the parties involved since the LUP change request was filed. 

Orange County commissioners approved an incentive package earlier this year of $48,000 over five years for IAAPA to move its headquarters here with 40 high-wage jobs, and a seven-year, 50 percent property tax abatement totaling close to $65,000. 

The association will also receive tax incentives from the state of Florida for the move, and has committed to its annual global conference and trade show at the Orange County Convention Center through 2030.

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