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Skydiving museum eyes site near Disney for new complex

The International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame is considering a site on Kissimmee's W192 corridor for its new facility.
The International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame is considering a site on Kissimmee's W192 corridor for its new facility. (Handout)

The International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame has zeroed in on a site in Kissimmee’s W192 tourism corridor for a multi-million dollar complex that would include the 2-story museum and two tourist attractions.

Museum officials have already spoken with W192 Development Authority Executive Director Christina Morris and this week requested a pre-application meeting with Osceola County’s Development Review Committee in July. The 4-acre site would span four commercial lots a half-mile west of the S.R. 429 interchange (across from Orange Lake Resort.)

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The nonprofit organization has already named Central Florida as the site for the future museum. The conceptual plan prepared by KPM Franklin for the W192 site shows the 30,000 square foot museum in the center of the complex, flanked by a 3-story wingsuit wind tunnel facility to the left and a 16,875-square-foot indoor skydiving facility to the right.

The museum tour would begin when visitors step out of a custom-designed elevator into a 360-degree theater, where they can experience the sensation of a free-fall.
The museum tour would begin when visitors step out of a custom-designed elevator into a 360-degree theater, where they can experience the sensation of a free-fall. (Handout)

Morris said the director of development reached out to her in May to inquire about potential grant funding. The project could qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in incentive grants under a new program proposed for Fiscal Year 2021.

The museum concept is ambitious. It includes a two-story atrium lobby with a giant LED screen featuring skydiving videos that will be visible through the glass window wall of the atrium at great distance. Once inside, visitors would learn the history of the sport through artifacts and a series of interactive exhibits featuring touch-screen technology and virtual reality goggles.

They would begin the tour on the second floor, accessing it by an elevator designed to replicate a jump plane ascending to jump altitude. Then they would step out into an immersive 360-degree theater that gives them the sense of being part of a free fall.

This is the flight tunnel of the wingsuit facility in Stockholm, Sweden.
This is the flight tunnel of the wingsuit facility in Stockholm, Sweden. (Handout)

An outdoor garden would have a feature wall recognizing members of the Skydiving Hall of Fame. And a special exhibit called “The Military Connection” would present the history of military parachuting and pay tribute to the contributions military jumping has made to civilian skydiving and the same in reverse. Flexible gallery space would welcome rotating and traveling exhibits.

The building concept also includes a dining facility evocative of many private drop zones, and private event space.

The group is scheduled to meet with Osceola County planners on July 1 to discuss the site, which has Commercial Tourist zoning. The location in the Four Corners area could draw tourists from the Disney area and the thousands of vacation homes nearby. The museum board also would offer STEM certification credits to attract school groups, according to the website.

Officials declined to speak with GrowthSpotter about the site, noting that they are still early in the due diligence phase. They also declined to reveal details about the project budget or fundraising status.

Texas-based IFly World currently operates dozens of indoor skydiving attractions in the U.S., including one at 8969 International Dr. Facilities that offer wingsuit flight simulations are more rare. The brochure provided by museum trustees cited only one location in Stockholm, Sweden.

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 FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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