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Volume 24 No. 156


The closest neighbor to the Magic's new $200M entertainment complex in downtown Orlando "likely will be a homeless shelter" because the Orlando Union Rescue Mission "never reached a deal to relocate the shelter, which shares the same block," according to a front-page piece by Mark Schlueb of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. But administrators at the shelter "worry that once the new development opens with entertainment venues and a conference hotel, there won't be much tolerance for homeless people congregating nearby." Rescue Mission President & CEO Allen Harden on Thursday said, "Essentially what they're doing is building this humongous project overshadowing us. It's virtually on top of us. I expect the city to make sure it does not detrimentally affect us." Schlueb notes the city is "selling to the Magic's sister company, SED Development LLC, most of the block across the street from the Amway Center." Magic CEO Alex Martins said that SED Development "remains willing to buy the shelter at an 'above market' price." But Schlueb reports the mission "wants the team to also build a new facility" that is 30% bigger. Martins said that the Magic and related charities "contribute millions to homeless agencies ... but they aren't willing to shoulder the cost of building a new, larger shelter." The construction of the Magic's new complex is "split into two phases," and the first phase "includes a 100,000-square-foot office building." The second phase "will be subdivided, with a 250-room hotel and 40,000-square-foot conference center coming first." Then an 18-story residential tower "would go at the northeast corner of the block" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/17).