UPDATED: JANUARY 22, 2018 3:07 PM — Orlando-basedRipley Entertainment Inc. paid $7.6 million on Friday for more than 17 acres off of Universal Boulevard, along with rights for retail development that would allow a large museum, giving it 40 contiguous acres in the tourism corridor.
The company also updated plans last week for land off S. John Young Parkway, indicating it may be future home to a storage warehouse and corporate headquarters.
It lies adjacent to a 23-acre parcel the company bought in December 2016 for $23 million, which was recorded at the time as 20.4 acres but has since been corrected by the county. Together this gives Ripley a balance of more than 40 acres.
Company president Jake Flournoy confirmed Monday he still has that land under contract, and is proceeding through permit review with Orange County.
Exactly 3.2 miles to the east, a Ripley Entertainment affiliate is also preparing a 21-acre site along S. John Young Parkway for future warehouse and office development.
An affiliate of Jim Pattison Group, owner of Ripley Entertainment Inc., filed a construction permit request on Jan. 17 for mass grading "for a future warehouse location," and filed a notice of commencement on Jan. 12 with Orlando Construction LLC, for "infrastructure for future office buildings" on the site.
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.
Located at 9535 S. John Young Parkway, the vacant, industrial-zoned parcel lies at the southeast corner of the Commerce Park Drive.
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 company filed for water management district permits in April 2017 to mass-grade the site and fill three existing wet ponds.
Ripley 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.
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.