UPDATED: DECEMBER 29, 2016 4:02 PM — New York-based KPMG LLP paid more than $41.84 million on Thursday for 54.5 acres in Lake Nona from Tavistock Development Company, choosing Orlando over two other cities for a planned $430 million investment to build an 800,000-square-foot corporate training and conference center.
GrowthSpotter first reported on Aug. 11 that Tavistock was preparing plans for the site on Lake Nona Boulevard as a corporate training campus with up to 550,000 square feet of conference space, up to 1,200 lodging rooms and recreation area. Tavistock cited a "unique user" at the time, but declined to name the prospective buyer.
That was followed by our report on Dec. 8 that KPMG and the City of Orlando had a tentative agreement in place for more than $3.5 million in tax rebates over seven years, in exchange for the company's plan to invest in Lake Nona.
KPMG confirmed the company's land purchase on Thursday, as did Tavistock for the sale. Both declined further comment on the project until January.
KMPG's purchase deed for the property includes restrictions on how it can be developed, or redeveloped over the next 75 years.
Those include the corporate training facility plans Tavistock applied for in August, or a future conversion of that corporate facility into a resort-style hotel, an office building, or an expansion of the corporate center to up to 1,600 lodging rooms and 1.6 million square feet of total building area (up from 1.3 million square feet in the original plan).
Tavistock also maintains the right to repurchase the property if KPMG doesn't begin building the corporate training facility within 36 months, and holds rights of first offer and refusal for 75 years if KPMG ever wants to lease or sell the property.
Orlando's City Council approved on Dec. 12 an economic development incentive agreement and QTI tax refund resolution which apparently sealed the deal for KPMG to choose Orlando over Dallas and Atlanta, other cities it said were considered for the project.
KPMG is one of the world's leading providers of audit, tax and advisory services and industry insight to companies.
The city would provide KPMG a tax rebate up to 25 percent of the property taxes assessed on the property for seven years, beginning in Fiscal Year 2020-2021 through 2026-2027, with a maximum cumulative rebate not exceeding $3.5 million, and a maximum annual rebate not exceeding $500,412.
In addition, the city will also support the local match for the state of Florida's Qualified Target Industry (QTI) tax refund program, which will total $64,000 from Orlando, paid as $16,000 annually over four years.
If the QTI incentive is made available to the company, KPMG will create 80 jobs new to Florida by Dec. 31, 2019, paying an average annual wage of $66,098, which is at least 150 percent of the state's annual wage.
The average value of benefits made available to employees would be $15,000. The state would provide a total of $320,000 to KPMG under the QTI program, which includes a 20 percent match from the city (up to $64,000 over four years).
The state's Division of Strategic Business Development will still have to approve KPMG as a QTI business.
Orlando would benefit from the development of KPMG's facility through continued job growth and investment, plus an additional economic impact from the 48,000 KPMG employee visits expected to travel to Orlando each year for training and professional development, city staff wrote in a summary to council members.
Behind three gated entry points to the property would lie an expansive 54-acre campus with outdoor recreation and learning spaces, walking paths, a baseball field, and a boardwalk leading northwest to a dock on Red Lake.
A majority of the property would be developed in Phase 1, with a training and lodging facility totaling 780,000 square feet that includes 800 corporate lodging rooms and 350,000 square feet of conference space, along with an outdoor social venue building of 15,000 square feet.
A Phase 2 expansion would include up to 400 more lodging rooms and 200,000 square feet of event space.