SBD/July 9, 2013/Facilities

Orlando Leaders Push For $60M Venue Package That Includes MLS Stadium

Orlando business leaders and politicians are “quietly working on a deal" worth $60M or more to "build a soccer stadium while boosting money for the Florida Citrus Bowl, arts center and tourism marketing,” according to a front-page piece by Damron & Schlueb of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. Tourism leaders and Orlando and Orange County officials are “discussing a plan to tap into the county's tourist-tax revenues" of about $60M -- and "perhaps joined again as one package.” Details include $20M "in tourist taxes for a soccer stadium" that would cost about $85M "in its first phase." The stadium is “meant to bring” an MLS franchise. The package also entails at least $12M "in additional tourist taxes for the Citrus Bowl renovation that was approved in 2007 but still has not begun.” Stadium boosters “want to include more amenities with the hope of landing more games and other events.” Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said that her plan is to bring the items “to county commissioners in August.” She added there is value in seeing "the big picture." Jacobs: "Discussing that all at one time does make a lot of sense." Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer agreed, saying that the projects “weren't necessarily planned as a package, but should be talked about in concert because each one depends on the same pot of tourist taxes.” Dyer: "A lot of things are coming together and being talked about all at the same time. The growing consensus is that we ought to have a bigger vision right now" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 7/9).
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