Central Florida Roundup
Two big development projects coming to Lake Nona
The USTA opens its tennis academy, and KPMG announces big plans.
It’s already been a big year for Lake Nona, the Tavistock Group’s 14-square-mile community south of Orlando.
On Jan. 5, the United States Tennis Academy opened a $60-million, 100-acre national training campus there. Four days later, accounting giant KPMG announced plans to build a $430-million training and professional-development facility at Lake Nona.
Both projects are within a few miles of the community’s Medical City, a stretch of research and health care facilities, including the University of Central Florida medical school, a Veterans Affairs hospital and the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute.
Like most other big anchors at Lake Nona, both the USTA campus and the KPMG training center are being subsidized by taxpayers. Here are more details on both projects:
» KPMG — KPMG will begin construction this spring on what it says will be a “state-of-the-art learning, development and innovation” facility for employees and partners. Built on 55 acres, the 800,000-sq.-ft. facility will include 800 guest rooms, fitness and outdoor recreation facilities and multiple dining venues. KPMG says it expects to create 80 company positions and 250 thirdparty contractor jobs at the site, which is slated to open in late 2019.
» USTA — Spread across 65 acres, the USTA National Campus is “nirvana with nets,” says Katrina Adams, a former professional tennis player who is now president of the USTA, the governing body for American tennis. It includes 100 courts of varying surfaces — including 32 that use the same hardcourt as the Australian Open, eight that use an identical surface to the U.S. Open, and six that use the same Italian red clay as used at the French Open, plus eight shrunkensized courts designed for children. The campus will serve as the headquarters for USTA’s Player Development and Community Tennis division but will also be open to the public, which can rent courts starting at $12 an hour. Executives say they have already booked more than 100 events this year, from youth tournaments to collegiate matches.
A team at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando led by chief neurologist Dr. Richard Finkel spent four years researching a treatment for a genetic disorder called spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA, which is similar to Lou Gehrig’s disease and is often fatal to infants. In December, following clinical trials at the Orlando hospital, the FDA approved the drug, which is known as Spinraza.
- Richard Finkel
CAPE CANAVERAL — The Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex plans to open an attraction later this year that will simulate training astronauts preparing for a voyage to Mars.
CLERMONT — City leaders voted to stop using redlight cameras.
LAKE BUENA VISTA — A top Disney executive says the company expects the opening of an Avatarthemed land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park later this year will have a similar impact as a Cars-themed land that generated huge growth at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.
LAKE MARY — Duke Energy spent $20 million to buy an office building that it had been leasing.
ORANGE COUNTY — Sea- World will open its first international SeaWorld — without any killer whales — in Abu Dhabi by 2022. Meanwhile, Tilikum, the male killer whale that killed a SeaWorld Orlando trainer in 2010 and was the subject of the 2013 document Blackfish, died in January.
ORLANDO — Universal will open a more than $400-million Nintendothemed land at Universal Studios Japan by 2020. Future Nintendo lands are also planned at Universal theme parks in Orlando and Southern California. » The Champions Cup, an international soccer club tournament, will hold some of its games at Camping World Stadium in 2017 and 2018. » The owner of the Orlando Fashion Square mall, Tennessee-based UP Development, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid a foreclosure battle. » Real estate company Lightstone Group closed the Artegon Marketplace indoor mall along the International Drive tourism corridor, saying it wanted to take the 100-acre property in a “new direction.”
OSCEOLA COUNTY — The International Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research is expected to open by the end of March.
» The Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission hired Tim Giuliani as its new president and CEO. Giuliani had led chambers of commerce in Raleigh, N.C., and Gainesville.