E-ZONE: IF IT'S ENTERTAINMENT IN ORLANDO, SHAQ'S INVOLVED
Universal Studios unveiled plans yesterday for its "E-Zone,"
a 12-acre complex of themed restaurants, nightclubs, movie houses
and shops as part of its Universal City Florida resort in
Orlando. But "center stage" at the announcement, according to
this morning's ORLANDO SENTINEL, was Shaquille O'Neal, whose
"Shaq's Place" -- a "giant nightclub for a giant" -- will be one
of nearly a dozen restaurants and entertainment outlets anchoring
the $2.6B project. O'Neal's club will be a 31,000-square-foot,
multi-level facility designed to cater to all ages, featuring
plans for a "half court" basketball/dance floor, live
performances by recording artists, including, "from time-to-
time," O'Neal himself. Shaq's Place will have games, Shaq
memorabilia for kids and a billiard lounge. Christine Shenot
writes, "Shaq's Place has the potential to be a big draw,
especially with Orlando residents" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 11/16).
SHAQ'S WORLD? Plans for Shaq's Place come after a developer
said this summer that they were "in final negotiations" with
O'Neal to build a retail, restaurant and office complex in
downtown Orlando to be dubbed "Shaq's World." The SENTINEL's
Shenot notes the developer, Church Street West, Inc., had similar
features planned for Shaq's World as Universal has for Shaq's
Place. O'Neal's agent, Leonard Armato, would not comment on the
downtown project, but he did say if Shaq's place "proves to be a
hit" in Orlando, nationwide expansion is a possibility, with L.A.
mentioned in particular (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 11/16).