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Starflyer developer progresses with permits, construction expected in April

Starflyer developer progresses with permits, construction expected in April
An updated rendering of the planned Starflyer tower attraction, as of March 2017. (Scott + Cormia)

Developers of the Starflyer attraction planned for International Drive said Monday they're roughly a month away from breaking ground, with a December opening targeted for the $9 million project.

Site owner Unicorp National Developments' president and CEO Chuck Whittall said he expects to be granted a building permit by the end of this month from Orange County, and begin construction in April.

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The world's tallest swing ride is planned for the Vue at 360, an 8.9-acre retail plaza formerly known as Kings Plaza that is owned by Unicorp, and lies directly north of I-Drive 360 and The Orlando Eye. Charley's Steak House and Kings Bowling are among the tenants with long-term leases in the plaza.

Part of an updated site plan for the Starflyer attraction, in the southwest corner of what is the Vue at 360, formerly known as Kings Plaza, an 8.9-acre parcel owned by Unicorp National Developments. The attraction would face International Drive, and lie directly north of I-Drive 360.
Part of an updated site plan for the Starflyer attraction, in the southwest corner of what is the Vue at 360, formerly known as Kings Plaza, an 8.9-acre parcel owned by Unicorp National Developments. The attraction would face International Drive, and lie directly north of I-Drive 360. (Kimley Horn)

A Unicorp land owner affiliate filed an environmental resource permit modification request on Friday with the South Florida Water Management District, seeking permission to redevelop a portion of the parking lot and install a new underground water exfiltration system.

Whittall expects construction to run roughly seven months, with a projected opening in November or December for the attraction.

Starflyer developer Ritchie Armstrong's Orlando Starflyer LLC will lease a pad from Unicorp within the Kings Plaza parcel. The attraction height of 417 feet will stand slightly taller than the Orlando Eye wheel, which is about 410 feet off the ground at its peak.

Total investment in the project is approximately $9 million, Whittall estimated on Monday. He and Armstrong previously affirmed that no outside financing will be sought for the project, with Unicorp paying to construct the ticket sales building and Armstrong's company paying for the attraction.

The Starflyer attraction pole is set to stand 417 feet tall up to its spire point, and riders reaching a height of 353 feet. In its operating position, riders will be spun outward at a 125-degree angle.

As depicted on the site plan, the attraction's entry point for customers will be a single-story ticketing building with a footprint of about 3,581 square feet, set on the eastern side of the Starflyer pole.

The attraction's footprint will cover what is currently parking area and a taxi stand in the southwest corner of the retail plaza property.

Australian ride manufacturer The FunTime Group will manufacture the Starflyer, and Maryland-based Ride Entertainment will install it.

Kimley-Horn is civil engineer on the project, and the architect is Scott + Cormia.

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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