Dirt is moving at the site of the former Amway Center, the first step toward building Creative Village, an almost decade-old plan to build a mixed-use, transit-oriented, urban infill development. Creative Village is planned to be an urban collage of college classrooms, mixed-income apartments, shops, offices, hotel rooms, public art, parks, and "creative space" on 68 acres on the western fringe of downtown Orlando.
The project hit a big bump in June when Gov. Rick Scott vetoed funding for a downtown campus for the University of Central Florida/Valencia College that is planned as a 20-acre anchor for the project. The downtown campus would put some 10,000 students in downtown.
That made the timing for the campus uncertain while the developers regroup.
However a $41.3 million, 14-acre K-8 public school in adjacent Parramore is slated to open in 2017.
The initial site work includes creating a new road, utilities, and Lynx Lymmo lanes through the project, expanding downtown's free circulator bus line and creating a new line that will serve FAMU College of Law and cross under Interstate 4. The road construction, funded by a $10 million transportation grant through Lynx, will help break up the parcel created when the old Amway Arena was demolished in 2012 into individual development sites.
Location: Former downtown Orlando Amway Arena site bounded by N. Parramore, N. Colonial, W Amelia, I-4, and W. Livingston
Development Partner: Creative Village Development
Start Date: April 2015
End Date: Uncertain
Funding Partners: Banc of America Community Development Corp. State of Florida, Lynx
Project Manager: Kelly Moody, City of Orlando
College Students Expected: 10,000
Local Benefits: A vital downtown, redevelopment of blighted neighborhoods, new educational opportunities, redevelopment and cash infusion into disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Description: Office/Creative Space: 100,000 to one million square feet; Higher Education: 300,000 to 500,000 square feet; K-12 education space: 25,000 square feet; Residential Units: 1,200 to 1,500 units; Retail/Commercial Space: 150,000 square feet; Hotel Rooms: 150 to 200.