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When you think of cities positioned best to weather the economic storm, which ones come to mind? Austin, perhaps? Minneapolis? How about Orlando? You may think of this city only as home to tourist attractions, but Orlando is quickly building a reputation as an economic and political trailblazer. Most U.S. cities are struggling to dig out of the recession, facing budget shortfalls, tabled growth plans and political infighting, but the City of Orlando is in the midst of an economic renaissance marked by thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in new projects opening or under way.
These major developments are aimed squarely at diversifying and bolstering the commercial, residential and cultural landscape of Downtown Orlando and the city overall. And they are being fueled by an unprecedented collaboration between government and private industry. The common objective: position Orlando as a leader in the nations recovery and create the next generation of careers. Here are the hard facts:
On Oct. 1, 2010, a $480 million, multiuse sports and events facility made its debut. The 875,000-square-foot Amway Center is not only the NBAs greenest and most technologically advanced arena as home to the Orlando Magic, but it put thousands of people to work and continues to be a critical source of jobs and revenue for a multitude of businesses that otherwise might have closed during the ongoing economic slump.
Just a few blocks away, plans are moving forward on a distinctive, nine-acre complex that could eventually include up to three unique theaters and accommodate Broadway productions, concerts, the symphony, opera and ballet as well as educational facilities. Through the first year of operation, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is expected to generate 4,000 jobs and have an economic impact reaching $240 million.
Orlando already is home to one of the nations largest digital-media and simulation clusters, so its only natural that city leaders are steaming ahead with plans to redevelop a large swath of Downtown for a visionary project called Creative Village. This is a place where creative and educational businesses and organizations will converge, spawning the next generation of careers and becoming home literally to thousands more residents and workers accounting for $300 million-plus in wages.
The fourth component of Downtown Orlandos revival is a multimillion-dollar commuter rail line, SunRail, that will provide a crucial transportation alternative along a 61-mile stretch of existing tracks, from Volusia County to the north, through a hub located in the heart of Downtown Orlando, and south to Osceola County.
Learn more about how these projects are bolstering the citys resurgence by clicking here or contacting Christina Morton at (407) 834-7777 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
From 11 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. daily, while much of Orlando sleeps, a team of city workers known as The Downtown Clean Team scours 119 city blocks of Downtown Orlando, picking up trash, pressure cleaning sidewalks and bus stops, pulling weeds and hand-watering and fertilizing 525 planters, maintaining 1,500 trees and palms and otherwise keeping the streets spiffy for workers and residents.
Catherine and Wil Reeves moved from Winter Park to Downtown Orlando, settling into a 1920s home (with basement) within walking distance of the heart of the Central Business District. Catherine, a Syracuse, N.Y., native who once hustled manuscripts for a busy Madison Avenue publishing house, says she is “absolutely in love” with the Downtown Orlando lifestyle. “We know everyone. It’s just a very close kind of community.” And with more than 340 retailers, restaurants, pubs and nightclubs, a multiplex movie theater, an array of cultural and sports venues and even Florida’s largest public library all within the Downtown district, Catherine Reeves says “this is a live-work-and-play environment.” Everything is nearby: “You can easily walk to 20 or 30 restaurants.”
For media inquiries or to request press materials, photos or video, please contact:
City of Orlando, Office of the Mayor
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