The city of Orlando has selected a proposal from a developer who would tear down Amway Arena, seeing its final days as the home of the Orlando Magic (NBA), and use it for fill under the streets of a new creative village in the area.
The proposal, from Creative Village Development LLC, would develop the area with an eye at building spaces for digital production firms, creative companies, and other firms catering to theme parks and game production. The city would basically hand over 68 acres of the Centroplex — encompassing Amway Arena, parking lots, a charter school, a performing-arts center and more — to the developer, who would transform the area over time.
Under the plan, Amway Arena and the performing-arts center would be demolished and used for fill when new roads in the area are built. In their place would come 1,500 housing units (including townhouses, apartments and detached houses), 150,000 square feet of commercial space, a million square feet of office/production space, and 500,000 square feet of educational space. Also in the mix: seven parks and an amphitheater. A new SunRall light-rail-transit station is also in the mix.
Two other development bids were submitted to the city. The proposal from Creative Village Development LLC had one obvious advantage over the competing proposals: there are no requests for city development money. That’s good, as Orlando is basically tapped it, having already borrowed $90 million from the proceeds of this development for the renovation of the Citrus Bowl and other city projects.
Still, it’s an ignoble end to Amway Arena. It was built on the cheap when the NBA moved into town and is a prime example why you don’t build on the cheap: it became impossible for the arena to be renovated to fit the future needs of the Magic and the community.
The Orlando Magic (NBA) and the Orlando Predators (AFL) will be moving into nearby Amway Center for the 2010-2011 seasons.