Orlando getting new events center; Magic staying for long time
By a 5-2 vote, the Orange County Commission approved a public building program that includes a new state-of-the-art Events Center, a new Performing Arts Center, and a renovation of the Citrus Bowl Stadium. By a 6-1 vote, the City of Orlando gave its approval July 23.
The new Events Center, which is scheduled to be open in September 2010, will be home to the Orlando Magic and will compete to host major national events, concerts and family shows. The City of Orlando will operate the new Events Center, while the community will own the facility.
A large portion of the funding is derived from Orange County's Tourist Tax which is levied on hotel stays.
"It's a great day for Central Florida. History will look back on this day in the same light as the day that Walt Disney announced he was building his theme park in Orlando," Magic Chief Operating Office Alex Martins said. "I would like to thank Mayor Rich Crotty and Mayor Buddy Dyer, as well as both the County and City Commissions for their vision and leadership. I would also like to to thank the Walt Disney World Company, Universal Studios, Seaworld, and the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association, as well as the entire Orlando business community for their active participation in ensuring this positive outcome for new downtown sports and entertainment facilities for the people who call Central Florida home."
The Magic are major financial participants in the public-private partnership - contributing $50 million toward construction of the Events Center, $10 million toward the arts center, and $12.5 million toward construction of five community recreation centers. Other contributions from the Magic toward operations, fundraising and financing push the team's total participation to $158 million.
In a historic move for Florida, the Magic, who will develop the property, agreed to be certified "green."
"We want this Events Center to not only serve our community but to reflect our community's values," Martins said.
The Events Center will be located just South of Church Street on the West side of I-4 in downtown Orlando.
Statement from Rich DeVos & Bob Vander Weide on behalf of the entire DeVos Family
"When our family came to Orlando 16 years ago we said the real owners of the Magic would always be the people of Central Florida and that we are simply the team's caretakers.
"We are happy that we were able to reach an agreement that is a great step forward for our organization, downtown Orlando, and all of Orange County.
"But more than that we are proud that we were able to reach an agreement that reflects our values - contributing to an historic effort downtown and one which provides new places for Orange County youth to laugh, learn and play.
"This wouldn't have been possible without the leadership and vision of Mayor Rich Crotty and Mayor Buddy Dyer, the County and City Commissions, the tourism and hospitality industry, and the entire business community.
"Our community came together in true team fashion and we are looking forward to an exciting future."