Orlando Amazon bid pitched Creative Village, Orlando Sentinel, Lake Nona, Tupperware, NeoCity sites

Amazon Twitter Trump (Large)

Illustrating a notion that you can never offer too many options, much of the proposal that Orlando economic officials had put together for the failed bid to win the second headquarters for Amazon pitched numerous properties downtown including near the soccer stadium and the Orlando Sentinel property, along with other prospects in Lake Nona, Sunbridge, NeoCity, and Tupperware.

Amazon last week said no thanks to any of them, dropping Orlando along with more than 200 other cities that had bid for the company’s proposed new $5 billion “second” headquarters and a projected workforce of 50,000 high-paid employees. The company last week announced 20 finalist cities.

The Orlando Economic Partnership, which put together and shepherded Central Florida’s bid, has released much of the proposal and some general assessments of perhaps why Orlando lost, and what it might do next, concluding, “it’s clear the top priority was a large existing pool of tech talent.”

The key word there might be “existing,” as Casey Barnes, vice president for business development for the partnership, noted the proposal spoke highly of the high-tech job pool in Central Florida given the University of Central Florida and other universities and colleges, but that pool might not be big enough now, for what Amazon was seeking.

“The region will have to double down on efforts to boost STEM and workforce education as well as the available talent pool in the region’s emerging tech community,”

The Orlando Economic Partnership, a result of the merger of the Central Florida Partnership and the Orlando Economic Development Commission, declined to release any money numbers relating to incentives offered Amazon as part of the proposal. noting that Miami made the final 20 list and so the numbers were being redacted to protect “the on-going competitive nature of the project.” Information also was redacted about Duke Energy’s portion of the proposal, since Duke remains an active player elsewhere.

Among the proposed Central Florida locations in Orlando’s offer:

– Seven different sites, totaling about 17 acres, in the Creative Village live-work-learn-play community being developed in the northwest corner of downtown Orlando. That area is being anchored by the new downtown campus of the University of Central Florida, but most of the area is still in to-be-determined mode.

– Two sites, totaling about 18 acres, that together are currently occupied by the Orlando Sentinel, its former printing plant, and numerous parking lots and outbuildings the Sentinel has in north central downtown.

– Three sites, totaling about six acres, just to the east of Orlando City Stadium in the Parramore district of downtown.

– A couple of smaller, vacant sites downtown.

– A site within either the Lake Nona or Sunbridge communities being developed by the Tavistock Development Co. in southeast Orlando, near the Osceola County line.

– A site at the NeoCity high-tech development under development in Kissimmee.

– A site at the Tupperware property, a 1,300-acre development around that kitchenware company’s headquarters in north-central Osceola County.

Barnes said the downtown Orlando options, the Lake Nona and Sunbridge prospect, the NeoCity community and the Tupperware development were offered as four distinct options, and a fifth also was proposed: a combination of any of those, in case Amazon wanted both an urban setting and a suburban or rural setting.

The Amazon proposal also puts front-and-center an effort to deal with what is a growing discomfort about the image of Orlando: the image that it’s an airport, a theme park, and a few hotels and restaurants.

The partnership’s new theme, “Orlando, you don’t know the half of it,” plays out boldly in the written prospectus and videos that make up the city’s proposal.

“OK, time for a reality check,” the first promotional video, “Orlando: Amplified” begins. “Time to toss aside what most people think Orlando has to offer. This is a great place to vacation. It’s also an amazing place to live, and a smart place to do business.”

Next up is Apple, which announced last week it will be looking for a location for a new facility for up to 20,000 high-tech workers.

“No question that we feel we would be a great fit for Apple, just as we thought we would be a great fit for Amazon,” Barnes said.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].

One comment

  • Paula

    January 26, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    A quote from this article about how Orlando is viewed: “…the image that it’s an airport, a theme park, and a few hotels and restaurants.”

    And, from Travel & Leisure.com: “Florida-bound travelers will soon have another contender to add to their lists: the first official Airbnb-branded apartment complex is opening in Kissimmee, just south of Orlando. The 324-unit building was announced last Thursday as part of Airbnb’s new partnership with Miami’s Newgard Development Group and will be known as “Niido Powered by Airbnb.” Upon signing an annual lease, all residents will be able to rent out their apartments through Airbnb for up to 180 nights per year.”

    And you wonder why Amazon isn’t interested? They want a community with workers; not a transient area filled with short-term renters. Hope our legislators Steube and La Rosa realize this – and stop trying to promote short-term rentals in communities everywhere in Florida!

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn


This is default text for notification bar