Friday, March 29, 2013

New World Largest McDonald's Coming to Orlando?



By Ken Storey
Twitter | Blog

Sitting just west of the corner of I-Drive and Sand Lake Road sits one of Central Florida’s most recognizable landmarks.  Known as the ‘World’s Most Unique McDonald’s’ the almost 12,000sq ft McDonald’s hosts the world’s largest Playplace along with a massive arcade, salt water fish tanks, two lane bowling alley, the area’s last remaining Bistro Gourmet, and even an audio animatronic Mac Tonight.  Originally built in 1976 the McDonald’s has slowly grown and been remodeled since the mid 1990s.  In 1996 the outside playplace was enclosed and the large French Fries that now make the building some recognizable were added.  In 2010 a 650sq ft jungle themed Birthday room was added to the second floor.  The new addition hangs out over the drive thru.  The room is now just a part of the arcade with birthdays taking place in the larger birthday room found on the first floor.

The staircase paint is a left over from when the pizza parlor was featured in this area.
An Astronaut, a shark, and a racecar driver all used as decorations in one corner alone.
There’s no doubt that the McDonald’s is showing its age and while the current owner, Oerther Foods, is known for their highly themed McDonald’s this one has seemingly lost its way.  Now you can find references to older themes mixed in with newer murals and props that don’t go with either. 

The McDonald’s has its own entrance off of I-Drive but has sat just west of a Mobil station making it technically on Sand Lake Road and not I-Drive.  That Mobil station that was owned by 7-Eleven Inc was sold in December, 2012 for $3,750,000 according to Orange County Property Appraiser records and was promptly torn down. The property had been bought just over a year earlier by 7-Eleven for $1,746,000 meaning that they flipped the property in just over one year with a profit of over $2million.

I now have gotten multiple unofficial confirmations that this will be home to a brand new McDonald's replacing the aging one next door.  This new McDonald’s will keep the large arcade, will feature an even larger Playplace, and will be highly themed.  I’m told that the Bistro Gourmet menu will also stay but will be updated greatly.  The new McDonald's will be built then the current one will be closed and turned into a large parking lot for the new McDonald's.  The parking lot will be surface with the intention to possibly build a parking structure in the future if needed.  The interesting thing to note here is that the new property is not owned by Oerther but instead was purchased directly by McDonald's USA LLC.  The new McDonald’s seems to be owned by McDonald’s directly and not by a franchisee.  I’m told the new McDonald's should fill most, if not all, of the new .72acre or 31,396sq ft piece of property. I’ve heard that the new McDonald's will be multiple stories like the current one.  Now if both of these things are true that means that this will easily become the World’s Largest McDonald's. 
The newly purchased property is currently being used as unofficial parking for the current McDonald's

McDonald’s Corporation opened the World’s Largest McDonald's during the 2012 London Olympics.  That McDonald’s clocked in at 32,292sq ft, almost three times the size of the one here on Sand Lake Road.  Oklahoma features a 29,135sq ft McDonald's that stretches over the Will Rogers Turnpike.  While a 60,000sq ft McDonald's  as would be the case if the new property was used completely for a two story McDonald’s, does seem a bit out far fetch realize that this is easily one of the most photographed McDonald's in the world so McDonald’s would seemingly want this location to properly represent the brand.  The Chicago flagship is 24,000sq ft, two-story restaurant that features 60ft tall arches and seating for 300.  
  
 Could something along these lines but with the addition of a massive Playplace be in the works for Orlando?



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