February 12 2013

The Ups and Downs of Community Venues: The Triple Crown of Downtown Orlando, Florida

In 2006, city officials announced plans for a “triple crown” for downtown Orlando. The idea called for the largest public building project the region had ever seen: three new and updated venues that would liven up Central Florida’s culture and sports epicenter.  Almost seven years later, the vision has almost become reality.
Amway Center Orlando Florida
The Amway Center

As home of the Orlando Magic, the state-of-the-art Amway Center has been called one of the “best buildings in basketball,” while also hosting Orlando’s ice hockey team (yes, we have one!), arena football team, and a variety of concerts. Completed in 2010, it received national attention for its sustainability initiatives and fluid integration into the city’s core. Nonetheless, these days it’s tough to justify a $480 million sports venue – especially when it replaced the only 21-year-old Amway Arena. While the development has spurred new business and livened up downtown, a recovering economy and a questionable Magic season make it hard to measure the true economic effects of the Amway Center.

Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium

Through the years, the Citrus Bowl has morphed from a small 8,900-seat stadium in 1936, to today’s 65,438-seat complex. Desperately due for some TLC, architects are drawing up plans for the stadium’s 2014 renovations. While the Citrus Bowl has a rich and varied history of events – including Olympic and national football, World Cup and local soccer, monster truck shows, and music festivals – many question the stadium’s future without a permanent football team to call it home.

Dr. Phillips Center Performing Arts Center (DPAC)

Dr. Phillips Center Performing Arts CenterOne of the region’s most eagerly awaited and most contested projects is the new performing arts center in the heart of downtown Orlando. After much public discussion about financing, Phase I is funded and underway. However, Phase II includes the critical auditorium that would host most of the region’s ensembles and its delay has caused some tension between local government and arts organizations.

By the end of the decade, Orlando will have three much-needed venues up and running. While the initial costs can be calculated, the local and regional after-effects of these developments will be difficult to measure. Only time will shed light on their true impact.

What do you think are some of the immeasurable effects of these types of public venues?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Alex Lenhoff

Alex Lenhoff is a graduate of the Masters of Planning in Civic Urbanism program at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. His other degrees include anthropology and foreign languages, which provide him with a diverse, human-centered perspective on urban planning. Alex returned to Orlando after spending a few years traveling through Europe, teaching English, and attending universities in Germany and Spain. He hopes to use his experiences abroad to further the built environment in Florida through efficient design, environmentally friendly practices, and authentic communities. During his time at The Grid, Alex wrote about Orlando’s challenges and successes, while profiling a city coming into its own.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 at 9:43 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Government/Politics, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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