April 23, 2024
Surf's Up
Development plans for the $45-million Orlando Surf Park include a surf pool, volleyball courts, retail shops and restaurants.

Photo: Ocean Sports Development

Surf's Up
Universal announced the names of the first two hotels that will operate next to the upcoming Epic Universe theme park. Stella Nova Resort and Terra Luna Resort will have 750 rooms each, bringing Universal Orlando's total room count to 10,500.

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Surf's Up
Orlando College of Osteopathic Medicine will be partnering with AdventHealth University to help develop physicians. The medical school, which is being built in Winter Garden, is expected to open in August with 90 students.

Photo: OCOM

Surf's Up
Rita Bornstein, former Rollins College President, died in January at age 88.

Photo: Rollins College

Central Florida Roundup

Surf's Up

Mike Brassfield | 3/25/2024


Surfing in Orlando? That’s the idea behind a surf park that’s being proposed for a landfill site in west Orange County. The $45-million Orlando Surf Park would feature a 15-acre pool with patented wave-making technology.

Coral Springs-based Ocean Sports Development has submitted development plans to Orange County for what it calls a “world-class surfing destination” on 44 acres next to the Orange County National Golf Center just inside Orlando’s western beltway in the growing Horizon West area.

The surf pool would be surrounded by a sand beach and boardwalk along with sand volleyball courts, an event pavilion, athletic training center, retail shops, a restaurant and tiki bar, with spectators able to watch the surfing action on two 700-foot-wide video screens. Although it would be an attraction open to the public, offering rented surfboards, recreational surfing and kids’ surfing lessons, it’s also intended to serve as a venue for surfer training and competitions.

“We’re going to create high school and collegiate surfing competitions there, as well as educational opportunities. That’s what it’s for,” OSD Chairman Anthony Brown says. The company plans to open as many as 30 surf parks over the next two decades around the country, including one in Coral Springs.

“This is just the beginning of what we’re going to roll out,” Brown says.

The site has been a private landfill for construction and demolition debris like concrete, sheetrock and brick, but the landfill is closing. OSD says it’s committed to making the site environmentally safe, so the pool basin would have a geosynthetic liner as well as an underlay of sand and clay.


  • NASA has selected three Brevard County companies for a $100-million contract to fabricate ground support equipment at Kennedy Space Center. They are Engraver Metal Fabricators of Merritt Island, J.P. Donovan Construction of Rockledge and Precision Fabricating and Cleaning Co. of Cocoa. Their work will support Artemis, including missions to land humans on the Moon.


  • The large concrete structure going up along northbound Interstate 95 near International Speedway Boulevard in Daytona Beach will be part of a cold-storage center for the Naples-based company Karis Cold. The three-building center will have more than 800,000 square feet of space. The three buildings are expected to open this year.


  • Pulte Group will soon start construction on the Orlando area’s first “agrihood” community. The first phase of the project called The Grow, located off State Road 50 in east Orange County, will include about 500 lots with a nine-acre working farm, two barns, a farm stand and restaurant. Long-term plans call for nearly 1,800 houses, 300 townhomes and 33 acres of agricultural land. The Urban Land Institute defines agrihoods as communities built with a working farm or community garden as a focus.
  • Hines real estate company will break ground early this year on the Space Coast Innovation Park, a 3-million-sq.-ft. project to be built in three phases on 450 acres at Exploration Spaceport in Titusville. Phase I will include three large industrial buildings, with future phases including more industrial buildings and a mixed-use project.


  • HCA Florida Healthcare is building a $13.5-million freestanding emergency room near State Road 50 in east Orlando. It will have 11 exam rooms along with equipment for CT scans, digital X-rays and ultrasounds. HCA expects to open the ER this spring.
  • AdventHealth is building an 80-bed hospital in Minneola, a rapidly growing town in southern Lake County west of Orlando. The $271-million, 204,000-sq.-ft., four-story building will be the first hospital in Minneola when it opens next year, and it will include an emergency room.


  • University of Central Florida broke ground on its $68-million Dr. Phillips Nursing Pavilion in Lake Nona’s Medical City. It aims to open the facility in time for the 2025-26 academic year. With the expanded space, UCF anticipates boosting the number of nurses it graduates each year from 260 to about 410.


  • SeaWorld Orlando has filed plans to build a 504-room hotel on nearly 30 acres at the corner of International Drive and Central Florida Parkway. Until now, SeaWorld has been the only major theme park in Orlando without its own hotels.


  • Construction started in December on the Pinnacle at the Wesleyan, a 96-unit affordable housing community in Kissimmee. Pinnacle and Birdsong Housing Partners closed on $34 million in financing for the project along Shingle Creek Trail. Apartments will be available to individuals and families earning up to 60% of the area median income (AMI), with 10% of units reserved for extremely low-income residents at 33% AMI.


  • Royal Caribbean International announced that its new ship “Star of the Seas” will homeport at Port Canaveral when it debuts this summer. The ship is currently under construction in Finland. Its sister ship, “Icon of the Seas,” became the world’s biggest cruise ship when it went into service in January. It’s homeported in Miami.


“Recently, I heard a speaker advise graduates to make a 50-year plan for their lives, a written plan. I never made such a plan, not even a five-year plan, but I made education and career choices based on whether they would enable me to have an impact, to make a diff erence in the world.”

— Former Rollins College President Rita Bornstein in a 2004 commencement address for the school’s College of Arts & Sciences. Rollins’ 13th president served from 1990 to 2004 and was known for her fundraising and her work to raise the college’s national standing. She died in January at age 88.

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