Universal expands mass grading permit request for anticipated theme park land

UPDATED: April 26, 2018 5:05 PM — Universal Orlando took steps Wednesday to increase its mass grading plans for land owned east of Universal Boulevard, adding part of the property acquired earlier this month and, in the process, providing a more refined outline of a future theme park's development boundary.

Back on March 12, Universal affiliate SLRC Holdings filed mass grading plans with the South Florida Water Management District for roughly 330 contiguous acres it owned east of Universal Boulevard and south of Sand Lake Road, which fell within two established Environmental Resource Permits (ERPs).


On Wednesday, the company filed a modification request to add another 231.7 gross acres to the permit, across portions of five land parcels that it acquired on April 11 from Georgia-based developer Stan Thomas.

It also filed two excavation and mass grading permit requests on Thursday with Orange County for large segments of the property.


Universal's proposed mass grading work is now for approximately 444 acres within that area, and the construction of a supporting stormwater management system. Donald W. McIntosh Associates, Inc. is civil engineer on the project. Breedlove, Dennis & Associates is an environmental consultant.

Maps in that new ERP modification help confirm some the land acquired from Thomas' affiliates. The total acreage and sale price have been obscured in deeds filed with Orange County's comptroller.

They also show the more refined outline of a 578.1-acre mass stretching from Sand Lake Road south to Destination Parkway, which is anticipated to serve as the base for up to two new Universal theme parks.

The mass grading request and changes to the ERPs are for the interim only, until a revised master plan is submitted in the future to SFWMD that shows Universal's entire detailed plan for the property.

The northernmost 101 acres in this mass grading permit along Sand Lake Road have been earmarked by Universal already for non-attraction uses. In early February, it filed a Development Plan with Orange County to build more than 644,000 square feet of office and industrial space on that land, which it bought last October.

Prior to Universal and Thomas reaching a private settlement on April 11 that preceded the land sale, Universal's lead attorney told the judge that "two large theme parks" could be developed on the land Universal owns, based on the entitlements and use conversion table available in the PD zoning's Land Use Plan.

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