Below is the press release provided by the City of Orlando regarding Mayor Buddy Dyer's State of Downtown address held Monday October 24, 2011 in the Amway Center.
Orlando Mayor Dyer’s 2011 State of Downtown speech is inspired by the book, For the Love of Cities by Peter Kageyama. The philosophy behind For the Love of Cities is that when cities make an effort to engage in a relationship with their citizens they open up new possibilities in economic development, community-building and expanding the social fabric of our cities. For the Love of Cities featured Orlando prominently and included our City on its top 20 list of “most loveable” places in America for its walk-ability, philanthropic activities, public spaces and commitment to sustainability.
“It’s said that when something is loved… it flourishes. That goes for people…pets… plants… anything. It certainly goes for a city… and its downtown. This is the ideology behind the effort we are calling, “Why I Love Orlando.” —Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer
WHY I LOVE ORLANDO
On October 4, more than 150 of Orlando’s residents participated in a community workshop called, “Why I Love Orlando.” The goal of the workshop was to further a simple, organic effort to make everyone in Orlando more cognizant of the reasons they choose to live here and why they love this city; as well as to think of actions that the community can do to make Orlando even more lovable.
A highlight of the workshop was a brainstorming session in which teams of attendees
were tasked with coming up with simple, fun ideas to inspire love for Orlando.
Community sponsors are funding two $500 micro-grants to turn the ideas into reality.
Attendees at the October 4 workshop voted and selected an idea to paint ordinary-
looking trash dumpsters and recycling bins as birthday or holiday presents.
There were several more runners-up. Today, attendees at the State of Downtown
will vote on who will receive the next $500 micro-grant. The three options are:
1. The Red Box Project - Red boxes would be painted throughout downtown
Orlando. Artists from our community would then be able to sign up to use those
boxes at set times during the week to play music or display their art. (note:
the red box would be purely for display or performance purposes only and the
enjoyment of passers-bye. The artists would not be allowed to sell art while using
the Red Box).
2. Orlando “Social Sit Out” - The group behind this idea wants to take pieces of
old furniture and colorfully and creatively repaint them, then place the furniture
at various areas throughout the City. The project would provide City streets with
interesting conversation pieces as well provide pedestrians with more places to sit
down, gather and enjoy Orlando.
3. The Lake Eola Giving Tree - The idea behind the “Giving Tree” project is a take-
off on the classic children’s story. Residents and visitors would pay a dollar to
write their wish down on a decorative piece of paper or chime that would hang
from trees at Lake Eola Park. When writing the wish down, the “wisher” would
designate a charity for those funds to benefit.
*Please note that these project ideas are conceptual in nature and have not been fully vetted. The City
of Orlando and members of our local business community have committed to doing everything possible
to work with residents to help make these simple, creative projects a reality. In some cases, it may be
discovered that the projects are not viable because of local or state laws or ordinances.
Lake Eola Fountain
• Beginning tonight, daily jazz shows will run at 8:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. featuring
a choreographed water, light and sound show for attendees. On November 12,
2011 for Veterans Day and on other holidays there will be a patriotic water, light
and sound show in place of the regular jazz show.
• The City recently unveiled the recently refurbished Lake Eola Fountain on July
4th 2011 at the Fireworks at the Fountain event.
• The show will be 4 minutes and 35 seconds in length.
TRANSIT ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT
• SunRail, Central Florida’s first commuter rail line, will provide a desperately-
needed alternative to congested roadways and rising gas prices while also
creating 250,000 construction and operation jobs and 8.8 billion dollars in
economic impact over the next 30 years.
• Later this year, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will break
ground on the SunRail corridor with operations expected to start in the second
quarter of 2014 for Phase I.
• In December 2011, the FDOT will begin a study to analyze connecting SunRail to
the Orlando International Airport, the Lake Nona Medical City area, International
Drive and Innovation Way.
• LYNX will add 27 new buses to support SunRail.
“When it comes to the future…no single project will transform our City and
our Downtown more than SunRail. The private sector is making important
investments in our Downtown because of the infrastructure that the public sector
is building.” – Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer
Central Station Development
• The construction of the $200 million Central Station development, a transit-
oriented, mixed-use project, is a direct result of SunRail moving forward.
• The mixed-use project includes retail, residential, office, hotel and meeting space
and will also incorporate several public spaces, including green space and a
pedestrian breezeway for easy access for SunRail and LYNX riders to Orange
Avenue and the Orange County Courthouse.
• Construction of Phase I will bring 650 full-time construction jobs online with
the construction of Phase 1 and more than 1,000 full-time construction jobs
for the entire project.
Phase I construction is expected to be complete by second quarter of 2014 in
conjunction with SunRail coming online.
Occupying an entire downtown city block along Orange Avenue, the Central
Station Development will also include the existing LYNX Central Station in the
site design. It will also provide access to other forms of public transportation
including LYNX and LYMMO, with multi-modal connectivity as a central design
Orlando Magic Corporate Relocation and Sports & Entertainment Complex
o The Orlando Magic are proposing a $100 million private investment
to relocate their corporate headquarters and develop a larger sports and
entertainment complex at the 100 block of South Hughey Avenue by the
new Amway Center.
o The project will create jobs, provide dining, hotel and entertainment
options to residents and visitors.
o This investment will continue to revitalize Downtown Orlando and the
o A feasibility study is being conducted by the Orlando Magic to help
create a thorough plan that outlines details, terms and provisions for the
proposed corporate relocation and mixed-use project. After the study, the
Orlando Magic will be required to present the thorough plan to the City
Council for consideration.
Florida Hospital Health Village
• Construction is already underway on the $810 million Florida Hospital Health
Village, a 20-year master plan that will bring more than 15,000 high paying jobs
to the City of Orlando. The Health Village projects includes:
o a 7-floor, 150,000 square foot Medical Office building estimated to create
450 jobs and estimated to employ more than 400 people.
o a 52,000 square foot Translational Research Building that is estimated to
create 250 jobs and estimated to employ 75 people.
o 230 Health Village Apartment units providing workforce housing estimated
to create 400 jobs.
• In December 2009, Orlando Health announced plans to expand and renovate
the Orlando Health campus. Orlando Health is home to 13,000-plus team
members and 2,000 physicians, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, Winnie
Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, Orlando Regional Medical Center and the
MD Anderson Cancer Center-Orlando. The Orlando Health expansion will be
one of the largest expansion efforts in the history of Orlando Health and includes:
o Construction of a Proton Radiation Therapy building attached to ORMC
along Orange Avenue.
o A 90,000 square foot expansion of the Emergency Department at the
northwest corner of Orange Avenue and Sturtevant Street.
o Construction of an 11-story, 245,000 square foot, 192-bed tower at ORMC
northwest of Copeland Street and Kuhl Avenue.
• Parramore Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System
o In connection with the Creative Village, a $10 M United States Department
of Transportation TIGER II Grant has been secured to implement the
Parramore BRT System in Downtown Orlando, a 2.1 mile loop with nine
o Service will be provided every 10 minutes.
o Estimated 4,150 daily riders.
o Will serve Creative Village area and connects to SunRail.
o Construction is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2012 with the
Parramore BRT system operational by fall 2013.
• East/West Expansion
o 3.52 mile expansion from Westmoreland Drive on the west to Eola Drive
on the east side of downtown, with 15 total stations.
o An estimated 4,500 daily riders will use the new LYMMO East/West
o Service will be provided every 10 minutes.
o Connects to SunRail and serves the Amway Center.
o Construction is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2012 on the East/
West expansion with operations expected to start in fall 2013.
Downtown Orlando is home to 17,000 residents, 75,000 workers and more than 620
• In the past year, more than 150 new businesses opened in Downtown Orlando
including The Prickly Pear, The Rusty Spoon, Mike’s Food Store, Urban ReThink
and Salon Elysee. *full list in 2011 State of Downtown media kit.
• The Aspire, Camden Orange Court, City View, Post Parkside, The Paramount,
Uptown Place and 55 West all boast occupancy rates of more than 90%.
• A renovation of the former OUC Building will turn the property into a 119-room
hotel called Aloft Hotel which will also feature a pool and outdoor patio on the
• A seven-story, 155-room hotel called Cambria Suites will be located at the
southwest corner of Washington Street and Rosalind Avenue. Construction is
expected to start in 2012.
• Construction will start in the fourth quarter of 2011 at Colonial Drive and Orange
Avenue on The Steel House Apartments, a four-story, 326 unit apartment
complex wrapped around a five-story parking garage. Completion of the project
is expected in the first quarter of 2013.
• Nearing completion is the renovation of the 3,441 square-foot building at East
Central Boulevard and Court Street into Bank United. A grand opening is
planned for December 2011.
The Amway Center marked its first anniversary since opening in Downtown Orlando on
October 1, 2011. In the span of one year:
• More than 1.4 million people have experienced the Amway Center.
• The Amway Center hosted 200 different events, ranging from the biggest
names in pop music, to sporting events and family shows, free community
events, rented private meeting space and several conferences.
• The Amway Center has had a record setting year with the highest grossing
arena concert in Orlando History – Lady Gaga – and record overall merchandise
and concession sales in the new building.
• The Amway Center has also received many awards and recognitions including:
o The ESPN Magazine’s Best Stadium Experience in the NBA Standing
o Top Award of Excellence, six golden bricks and three silver brick awards
from the Downtown Orlando Partnership
o The 2011 Design Honor Award and Award of Merit from the American
Institute of Architects
o An Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International
Economic Development Council
o A Merit Award from the International Downtown Association
o Gold LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council
• Compared to the final year at Amway Arena, Amway Center saw an increase of
206,307 people in its first year along with 62 additional events.
JOB CREATION AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Buy Local Orlando
In 2009, the City launched the Buy Local Orlando campaign to connect businesses
with the buying power of the Orlando community.
• In the first week of November 2011, the City will launch a new smart phone
application for the Buy Local Orlando program.
o The application will be FREE for consumers and feature geotagging and
check-in capabilities, social media integration and push notifications to
provide users with immediate alerts for special offers.
o Businesses will be able to update their information, special offers and
discounts to the website and phone app in real time through a back-end
user name and password.
• 540 business members each have a difference special for card holders.
• 120,000 FREE Buy Local Orlando cards have been distributed. Approximately
16,000 people have registered their card.
The Creative Village will build on Orlando’s already successful digital media industry
and serve as a magnet for knowledge and service workers who can live, work, learn
and play in Downtown Orlando. The Creative Village is a redevelopment of the roughly
50-acre site where the Amway Arena currently exists in the heart of Downtown Orlando.
• The first step in the construction of the Creative Village will begin by December
2011 with the commencement of the demolition of the old Amway Arena. The
demolition will be done in two stages.
Stage I demolition consists of demolishing the entire Amway
Arena building and storing crushed concrete onsite for utilization in
constructing future infrastructure improvements at the Creative Village
site. The schedule for completion of Stage I is six months from the start
of the demolition date. Interior work will happen first, with exterior work
starting in February 2012.
o The Stage II infrastructure work includes removal of the remaining
portions of the concrete floor and underground infrastructure. Stage II
is anticipated to be performed at a later time after the completion of the
Stage I demolition based on funding availability and the timing of the road
6,500 construction jobs created over the development timeline with $227
million in payroll.
The Creative Village neighborhood will be home to nearly 5,000 new,
permanent high tech jobs.
Generate more than $10 million in property tax revenues.
The Creative Village will build on the already established Digital Media Industry
• Row Sham Bow, a video game development studio, opened in Downtown
Orlando this past year. The new company is expected to create 60 jobs over the
next three years.
• IDEAS, one of Central Florida’s largest digital media studios, moved to
Downtown Orlando in May 2009.
• 360Ed, Inc. is an interactive education software company that relocated and
expanded in 2009 in downtown Orlando. A dozen of the employees at 360Ed
are graduates of UCF’s FIEA Master’s program.
• The University of Central Florida (UCF) Center for Emerging Media is home
to House of Moves, one of the largest motion-capture studios on the East coast;
Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA), a graduate video-gaming
school; upper-level undergraduate and graduate programs in digital media,
art, film, theatre and music in UCF’s College of Arts & Humanities; “Citi-Lab
Orlando,” a partnership between UCF and the University of Florida’s School
of Architecture and other UCF programs – including the Center for Research
and Education in Arts, Technology and Entertainment (CREATE).
A key commitment of the Community Venues projects was the creation of the
BLUEPRINT, a model for how communities nationwide can leverage public projects to
create local jobs and local business growth. One of the goals of the BLUEPRINT was
to increase job opportunities for a target population of Parramore residents, homeless
and ex-offenders. Through the BLUEPRINT Employment Office:
• More than 1800 Central Floridians have been placed in jobs through the
BLUEPRINT Employment Office.
o Of those, more than 560 are from the target population of Parramore
residents, the homeless and ex-offenders.
o 789 individuals have been placed in jobs related to the Community
1065 individuals placed in jobs unrelated to the Community Venues
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
o Construction of Stage 1 is expected to create approximately 3,000 jobs
and deliver an estimated economic impact of $315 million. To date,
of the 40 people hired, 11 individuals have been placed through the
BLUEPRINT Employment Office on Stage 1 of construction.
o More than 30 percent of all the Amway Center contracts were awarded
to 170 firms owned by women and minorities to perform 94 million dollars
worth of work on the building.
Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium
o More than 350 Central Floridians were placed in jobs in 2010 during the