Orlando mayor aims for $2.34B in 2015 groundbreakings, highlights Project DTO ideas
It was standing room only at Church Street Exchange in downtown Orlando on Wednesday afternoon, as Orlando MayorBuddy Dyer announced a few new ideas and projects for the year to come and highlighted this year’s successes.
At his State of Downtown address on Dec. 3, Dyer said four projects are set to break ground next year, which will make up a $2.34 billion investment. In addition, five more projects are proposed for downtown, including an Ace Cafe, Cambria Suites, Hyatt Place, the Orlando Sentinel complex and the Orlando Magic’s sports entertainment district.
He also highlighted 14 projects now underway in downtown Orlando that total $372 million investment and add 1,050 residential units, 263 hotel rooms, 40,889 square feet of retail space and 290,038 square feet of office space.
Here are some other highlights from the event:
180 new businesses opened in downtown Orlando, including World of Beer and BookThatDoc.com.
The new headquarters of Red Lobster was the largest lease signed in downtown Orlando in 2014 at 91,000 square feet. The restaurant chain’s headquarters will bring 300 jobs to downtown and will open in first-quarter 2015.
Downtown’s tech industry continued to grow, with one in every seven employees in tech-related positions. Firms like California-based Junyo, which recently bought local tech firm 360Ed, decided to keep the company’s Orlando office after the acquisition. Meanwhile, the Church Street Exchange building has been transformed into a co-working tech hub and currently is 90 percent full.
SunRail, Central Florida’s $1.3 billion commuter rail, now averages 3,000 daily boardings. Meanwhile, the city began the installation of 1,000 smart meters to allow the use of debit and credit cards at on-street parking spaces and the bikeshare program will roll out in early January 2015 with four locations and 16 stations planned for the second phase.
Project DTO, a task force charged with creating a strategic plan for the next 10 years for downtown Orlando, has 10 big ideas to help the area’s momentum and continued growth. Those ideas include:
An awesome outdoor city
A highly connected community
The best education in Florida
A great place to do business
A creator culture
An iconic identity
Stellar music, arts, sports and entertainment
A diverse and open community that takes care of its own
A celebration of history, heritage and culture
A city built for the future
“To build on the momentum we’ve created, it’s going to take even more imagination, even more creativity and even more resolve to fight for the future we want for our downtown,” Dyer said. “The result of this process is a plan created by Orlando residents for Orlando residents.”
For more from the State of Downtown address, click here for the full speech.