ORLANDO, Fla. — Business owners in downtown are already looking forward to plans to attract foot traffic every day and night when the mixed-use sports and entertainment district being planned on the property across from the Amway Center is completed.
“Hopefully, it brings a lot more traffic outside of just the soccer stadium, Camping World (Stadium) and Amway,” said Casey Preston, the owner of District Gastrobar. “We kind of, our business fluctuates based on what’s going on there. So, I mean, if they get that going, you should see a more consistent flow of traffic.”
Preston bought the bar about six years ago and said sports events like tonight’s Orlando Magic season-opener bring a lot of people downtown.
However, one of the issues the downtown area struggles with is parking, which he said he believes the new sports and entertainment district garage will help with tremendously.
“Street parking is limited, and then when there’s games, a lot of the lots are being used for parking — paid parking — so adding another parking garage would be a huge asset,” he said.
Currently, fewer people are usually downtown on nights when a live event is not being held at Amway or the other two venues.
Until then, fans looking to attend big events will have to park at the Geico Garage near State Road 408 and I-4, or one of the other paid parking locations in the area, such as the HD Supply parking garage on West Pine Street.
The sports and entertainment district project has been 10 years in the making, and the lead designers for the project — JMA Ventures and Machete Group — recently were announced as the groups that will help transform the empty lot into a new parking garage, hotel, restaurants and retail and live-event space. The property currently is used as a VIP parking lot for Amway.
Project organizers have not indicated when construction will begin.