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Council Watch

Orlando City Council finalizes deal with SED Development, approves conference-center funding

Both projects will help city establish its new sports-and-entertainment district

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There is never much room for irony among the power skirts and pop-of-color ties pressing flesh at Orlando’s Monday political hit parade, but it’s worth noting that this week the city is recognizing that the whole month of November is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month (leading up to a similarly titled week just in time for Thanksgiving). The city is doing this as it contemplates further gentrification of downtown’s most impoverished corridor by means of glitz and glamour and sports structures. It makes sense, right?

The city approves the disposition of real property between the city and SED Development LLC.
Translation: After months and months of agonizing extensions – oh, and, poof, a now-happening soccer stadium a few feet over – the city is finalizing its deal with SED Development (which stands for sports and entertainment district, but is actually a bank account of the Orlando Magic’s Rich DeVos) for a $100 million light-up midway basically connecting the Amway Center to the soccer stadium, because sports. The city is pretending it’s getting a deal by charging the Magic $12.7 million for the land, which appraises at $11.1 million, but the city is never really getting a deal. Oh, except now the city definitely has to tear down the old Orlando Police Department headquarters, because it just sold it off to become Magic headquarters. Deal!

The city approves a conference center funding agreement.
Translation: Hilariously, even though the city is selling the police headquarters to the Magic, it will give the Magic $1.7 million in tax dollars to make sure that there is some kind of downtown business conference center built in the sports and entertainment monstrosity. The city is also hoping for a hotel, and retail space, and bars, and restaurants, and wealthy people who aren’t 20-something hooligans. Doesn’t this all sound familiar? Hope you’re hungry.

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