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Magic seek to update plans, increase uses for mixed-use district near Amway Center

Magic seek to update plans, increase uses for mixed-use district near Amway Center
An updated conceptual plan for redevelopment of the 8.4-acre block directly north of Amway Center in Downtown Orlando. (City of Orlando)

The Orlando Magic and its land owner affiliate want to boost their mixed-use options for a Sports and Entertainment District north of Amway Center, asking the city to increase their office, retail, multifamily, event space and parking allowances.

Sites of the former Orlando Police Department headquarters, an old parking garage and the Orlando Union Rescue Mission (OURM) men's shelter make up an 8.4-acre city block that were acquired by affiliate SED Development in recent years for at least $2.8 million, bordered by W. Central Boulevard, S. Hughey Avenue and W. Church Street.

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That land owner filed an amendment request in late September with the city for the property's Planned Development zoning, previously adopted in 2014. It asks to include the OURM property that was bought in January, revise the development program and phasing plans, amend the signage program and update the traffic impact analysis.

The revised concept plan still has all the uses originally proposed in 2014: a mixed-use office building, an expo center with retail and hotel tower, a parking garage, multifamily, and a large open-air plaza.

But the proposed changes show more closely than ever how the Magic and its partners want the Sports and Entertainment District to be developed.

Office use would increase to a maximum of 200,000 square feet (+78,000), retail would increase to 166,000 square feet (+89,800), hotel would remain stagnant at 250 rooms and 250,000 square feet, expo/multi-purpose event space would grow to 80,000 square feet (+40,000), multifamily would increase to 450 units (+200), and the parking garage would increase to 2,500 spaces (+1,183).

GAI's Community Solutions Group served as planner on the recent PD amendment filing. Balfour Beatty Construction has provided pre-construction services, and CallisonRTKL made the initial conceptual design, but no architect is signed for the project as of now.

Two shortened driveway access points with turnarounds would lie in the middle of the block, to serve as shared pedestrian through-ways. This replaces what would have been a new portion of Bryan Avenue through the middle of the block.

Because that Bryan Avenue segment is out, the concept plan no longer needs to be divided into two separate development blocks.

And now that the OURM property is formally included in the concept plan, design of the parking garage has been completely changed and extended across the northern half of the block. It now includes ground-floor retail, entertainment retail, multi-purpose event space and apartments. The first floor of the garage will include dedicated areas for rideshare services.

With a much deeper plaza than before, the north boundary needs significant activity to anchor it and attract pedestrians, GAI planners wrote. The new PD amendment shows the entire southern face of the garage would have retail, which could be on the ground floor, upper floors and even on top of the garage.

In the original concept plan, the multifamily component stood alone in the northeast quadrant with a single 18-story tower and its own dedicated parking deck. In this PD amendment it's more integrated into the overall development program, and may sit on top of the garage on the north block and share that parking.

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The office building's floor plates have been refined during the design process, with three additional floors and a rooftop terrace added, resulting in increased square footage. The entire ground floor and part of the second floor of this building would be leased for retail.

The hotel and expo building's design revisions have also been significant, planners wrote. The hotel tower has been flipped to face east-west, rather than north-south, and moved to the east side of the complex.

These changes have allowed much more of the ground floor to be dedicated to retail use, and have opened up more plaza space. Also, the top four floors of this 18-story building would now be residential, though planners offered no further detail on that.

And the "Festival Plaza" concept has been significantly expanded from the original PD, allowing for more outdoor event opportunities. The plaza will still be part of an integrated pedestrian experience spanning from the Amway Center, across Church Street and the retail venues in the parking garage on the north block.

The previously approved phasing plan for the Sports and Entertainment District included two phases, with the second having two sub-phases. What drove this in 2014 was the uncertainty of when the police headquarters would move.

Now that the OPD has been relocated and the building demolition nearly done, two phases may not be necessary, GAI planners wrote. The Magic now want the option to develop in one phase or more. Specific Parcel Master Plans (SPMPs) may still be submitted for subsets of the project.

The project's conceptual timeline now eyes demolition of the OURM men's shelter to be done by the end of Second Quarter 2018, corresponding with the end of the NBA season. The office building is expected to be complete by Fourth Quarter 2020, and full buildout of the project by Fourth Quarter 2021.

An SPMP for the office building should be ready for the city's review in First Quarter 2018, Magic spokesman Joel Glass told GrowthSpotter on Wednesday. Planning for phases beyond that remain in due diligence.

The transportation impact analysis for this project is still being updated to reflect the new proposed program, and will be provided to the city at a later date.

The Magic's land owner affiliate said it would support the city's coordination of Creative Village, Parramore and other stadiums through creation of a new planning area or overlay district, if staff wanted to connect all those separate master plans in some way.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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