Orlando — 10 things to know
Tips on how to maximize your commercial real estate strategy in Orlando
Orlando is embracing the boom times as one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. Nation-leading job growth, transformative developments and record-breaking tourism are charting a new course in commercial real estate. Below you will find 10 things we are tracking to help you take the helm.
1. Beyond the theme parks
True, you can’t talk about Orlando without mentioning tourism. The city saw 126.1 million visitors last year, with Walt Disney World itself having welcomed more than 20 million people. But the entertainment complex isn’t Disney’s only in-market residence. Disney also occupies a swath of office space, accompanied by the significant presence of hospitality related companies such as Marriot, Wyndam and Hilton.
Our record-breaking visitor figures are fueling investment activity in the hotel sector. At 77.5 percent occupancy, compared to the national average of 66.2 percent, the market saw $1.2 billion in hotel capital markets activity last year, or 29.1 percent of all activity in Florida.
2. The force is with you
The federal government recently announced the creation of a space force, and while the endeavor is in its early stages, Orlando may be a big winner.
Given its proximity to Cape Canaveral and that it hosts a sizeable presence of defense contractors, such as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, as well as a flourishing modeling, simulation and training industry, the metro area seems like a natural beneficiary.
3. Hiring is hot
Among metro areas with over 1 million people, Orlando continues to lead the nation in job growth, increasing 4 percent year-over-year.
Growth has been diverse, with construction (15.1 percent), professional, scientific and technical services (12 percent), and goods-producing (11.8 percent) leading the way.
4. Bang for the buck
Last year, Lincoln Property Company broke ground on Church Street Plaza, a 28-story mixed-use building — the first new significant development in nearly a decade. The development will include about 200,000 square feet of office space, 180 hotel rooms and 7,500 square feet of retail.
Having lured SunTrust from its namesake tower into 90,000 square feet, with other preleasing taking place such as Austin Commercial, the project has been met with a strong appetite for new construction.
5. Building community
Creative Village is set to transform downtown. After years of planning, momentum has been brewing at the 68-acre development. University of Central Florida has broken ground on its nearly 15-acre downtown campus to include 600 student-housing beds and a parking a garage with just as many spaces. Also underway is a five-story, 256-unit mixed-income apartment building and a 14-story, 409-unit market-rate apartment complex. This development has also spurred a $40 million update to the existing Marriot hotel that will include 20,000 square feet of meeting space.
6. Lake Nona's a magnet
Lake Nona’s staggering residential development growth has been echoed by an influx of office space and corporate headquarter relocation. KPMG’s new $450 million training facility is a prime example of this, along with ClosetMaid’s 13,000-square-foot headquarter relocation, Signature Flight Support’s 65,000-square-foot relocation and Brazil-based Invel’s headquarter swap into Medical City.
7. Got the Magic and more
Orlando City SC, our MLS team, will kick off a new season this month, the third at its $155 million stadium just west of downtown, near Orlando Magic’s Amway Center. These two venues create an anchor for future development.
And while the NFL season may have ended, the Alliance of American Football's has just begun, with the Orlando Apollos off to a 4-0 start. Coached by Florida Gator legend Steve Spurrier, the Apollos welcomed over 20,000 fans to their home opener.
8. Traffic relief is coming
The major highway through the center of the state, I-4, is under significant reconfiguration as part of the I-4 Ultimate Project. Commuters will ultimately experience more lanes in both directions, more streamlined junctions — namely the 408 interchange — as well as new tolled express lanes.
9. Growing our 'Little Big City'
SoDo District continues to see development, welcoming a 59,800-square-foot Lucky’s Market grocery store, a 300-unit apartment complex, an outparceled 2,500-square foot Starbucks and several other ancillary retail centers.
The Kimco Realty development is also home to the 70,000-square-foot Orlando Orthopedic Center as well as an additional 40,000 square feet of medical office space.
10. Fast-tracked for success
As passenger rail investment encourages real estate development, here’s to the Sun Rail system having extended its run into Osceola County. Ridership has doubled as a result. What’s more, Brightline (now Virgin Trains USA), which connects South Florida’s three downtowns, has plans to connect to Orlando and eventually Tampa, too. All aboard!