Around the State- Central- Jan. 2000
Celebration -- The 115-room Celebration Hotel has opened in downtown Celebration, the first hotel to open in the Walt Disney Co. planned community. The $15-million hotel was developed by Richard Kessler, whose other projects include the Grand Bohemian in downtown Orlando.
Daytona Beach -- Daytona International Speedway wants to build three pedestrian bridges over busy International Speedway Boulevard, and the company wants taxpayers to pick up at least part of the $9-million tab. Although International Speedway Corp. (Nasdaq-ISCA) posted a net profit of $42 million during the nine that months ended Aug. 31, the company says it can't afford to do the improvements on its own because of the debt that it took on to buy Penske Motorsports last summer.
Lake/Volusia counties -- Time Warner Communications and Comcast Corp. have signed a deal transferring 57,000 customers in Lake and Volusia counties to Time Warner. In exchange, Comcast will receive Time Warner's cable system in Indianapolis if federal regulators approve the swap.
Orlando -- Passenger counts at Orlando International Airport topped 28.8 million during fiscal year 1999, making it almost certain that the airport authority will convince bond underwriters to fund the planned $250-million south terminal. Site work for the expansion is already under way.
Orlando World Center Marriott says it will pump $88 million into an expansion and renovation of the resort. The plan includes redesigning the golf course, building a new 500-room tower, adding more than 14,000 square feet of meeting space and upgrading other public areas.
Hotelier Harris Rosen pitched a plan to build a 1,500-room resort, golf course and UCF hospitality school on 330 acres on south International Boulevard. Rosen and Orange County officials have been at odds over a purchase price for the county-owned land, with estimates of the tract's value stretching from $35 million to more than $80 million.
Osceola County -- Walt Disney World says it may build a new resort with up to 6,000 rooms near Disney-MGM Studios. The proposed resort, which would be one of the largest hotel developments in central Florida, would consist of three themed hotels. Room rates would likely be at the low end of the Disney scale -- $100 to $150 per night.
Sanford -- Pan Am Airlines continues to boost passenger flights into Orlando Sanford International Airport, adding flights between Sanford and Gary, Ind. The upstart airline is also looking at establishing service to Canada and a small airport near St. Louis.
Winter Park -- LaserSight (Nasdaq-LASE) earned permission from the Food and Drug Administration to sell its cutting-edge laser vision-correction system in the U.S., but the euphoria was short-lived when Visx Inc., the industry's largest player, filed a patent infringement suit the next day. Visx then withdrew the suit, saying it wanted to negotiate a settlement with LaserSight.