Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What's Going on in Downtown Orlando?

City planning and development in general can be a slow, arduous process. But when a bunch of small pieces finally fall into place, the outcome can completely reinvent a neighborhood. This is about to happen along downtown Orlando's Church Street.

What might Orlando's future Sports & Entertainment district look like?
(Yes, the artist is fully aware that this is not to scale or perspective...)

After the Amway Center's debut in 2010, here are six more projects that are shaping Downtown's burgeoning sports and entertainment district:

1.  Lymmo Expansion and SunRail

If you hate driving and parking downtown, you'll be glad to hear that in addition to the Church Street SunRail station, downtown is getting an East/West expansion of the free Lymmo circulator bus. Soon, riders can get into and around downtown for free from Florida Hospital in the north, Thornton Park in the east, Orlando Health/SoDo in the south, and Parramore in the west.

2.  Church Street Makeover

A long-time vision finally became reality this month as work started on the Church Street streetscape project. Expected to be finished by next summer, the project will renovate this stretch of road from the Amway Center to the Citrus Bowl. Updates include upgraded intersections, improved sidewalks and lighting, grounded utilities, landscaping, and the exclusive bus lanes for the upcoming Lymmo Expansion.

The next three years could transform Orlando's downtown.

3.  Citrus Bowl Renovations

Between 2014 and 2015, renovation plans will give some much-needed TLC to the 74-year-old Citrus Bowl. The makeover includes new restrooms, locker rooms, seating, concessions, fa├žades, and landscaping to tie into the new Church Street streetscape.

4.  Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center (DPAC)

The ongoing construction of the new Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center gives you a sense of how big this project really is -- and that's only phase one! The first part of the Center will open in 2014, with funding and fundraising for phase two still underway, but expected to be allocated before the opening of phase one.

Rendering of the under-construction Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center.

5.  Orlando City Soccer Club's MLS Stadium

If all goes as planned, the Orlando City Lions could be the newest addition to Major League Soccer by late 2013. Then, by mid-2015, they could move into their new home at the corner of Church Street and Terry Avenue. Stay up-to-date with stadium developments at The Scoring Third.

6.  Orlando Magic's New Headquarters and Entertainment Complex

Although the project is still in the research phase, there has been a lot of buzz about the Orlando Magic's potential headquarters and entertainment complex to be located across Church Street from the Amway Center. Replacing the current garage and Orlando Police Headquarters would be a mixed-use project with offices, hotels, restaurants, retail, and maybe even condos. No renderings or timelines exist, but sources say it would be at least three years before construction could even begin.

Which project are you most looking forward to?


  1. I'm really excited about the Lymmo expansion and Sunrail. Parking can often be the reason I don't go downtown on certain nights, so this will make it much easier and more accessible! I also just heard that the city is working on some ordinances to encourage an over 21 crowd in the downtown area. A couple that were on the news were: changing the limit on the sale of alcohol downtown to 3am, and to limit bars to only be able to allow entrance to over-21 year olds after 10pm. Not sure that these will pass, but just something to think about.

  2. Just asking for trouble staying open after 2am. Enough goes on as it is...

  3. The entertainment complex sounds pretty promising, also in part because it will account for more jobs and help out the local economy a bit.