Photo: Rendering from U.S. Tennis AssociationRendering: U.S. Tennis Association's $460-million complex at Lake Nona.
Central Florida roundup
Orlando's net gain: A major sports venue
The USTA’s facility will be for training and competitions.
The fast-growing Lake Nona area of east Orlando, which already includes Nemours Children’s Hospital, the UCF Medical School and the Sanford-Burnham Research Institute, will soon add a major sports venue. The U. S. Tennis Association plans to build a $60-million facility at Lake Nona with 106 tennis courts for tournaments and training at all skill levels.
The center could be open by late 2016. Orlando and Orange County agreed to split $430,000 in tax rebates over five years as part of an incentive package to attract the USTA.
“This is a watershed moment for us,” says Patrick McEnroe, USTA general manager of player development. Opening the nation’s largest facility of its kind in Orlando, a top TV market and tourist destination, will help reinvigorate tennis nationwide, says McEnroe, a three-time All American at Stanford who turned pro and was a doubles partner with his older brother, John McEnroe.
The training center, which also would be home for UCF men’s and women’s tennis teams, is expected to employ about 150 at salaries averaging at least $84,000 a year.
Courts will include both hard surface and clay, with “kidzone” areas, training rooms, lighting for televised events, seating for 1,200 spectators, a two-story pavilion with concessions and offices.
A separate three-story building will have more offices, a pro-shop, fitness area, locker rooms, player lounge and cafeteria. Six covered courts, dormitories for up to 32 boys and girls, a conditioning area and space for team events will also be constructed.
As part of the plan, the USTA will move its player development headquarters to the 63-acre site from leased space in Boca Raton.
ALTAMONTE SPRINGS — The city will spend $13 million to redirect rainwater runoff from I-4 to holding areas and a treatment plant for eventual reuse for irrigation and other outdoor needs. Offcials hope the effort will reduce the fow of tainted water into the Wekiva River and prompt other communities to do more to protect the waterway from urban pollution.
APOPKA — Newly elected Mayor Joe Kilsheimer cast the deciding vote in a 3-2 decision to set his pay at $150,000 after unseating longtime Mayor John Land, who had been working without pay for years. Kilsheimer was cleared to vote by the city attorney, and the amount fell within a range set by staff. Critics say the first-time mayor lacks the experience to warrant a sixfgure salary, and the city already has a full-time administrator earning nearly $200,000 a year.
BREVARD COUNTY— Port Canaveral has signed a 35-year agreement with GT USA, a division of international port operator Gulftainer, to operate and develop its container and cargo terminal. Gulftainer will make a $100-million investment in infrastructure, equipment and personnel. > Boeing unveiled a space capsule it hopes will be selected by NASA to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station. The capsule, capable of seating seven, could be built at Kennedy Space Center, but the company is facing competition for the contract from firms such as Space X.
EATONVILLE — The town has a new center for health, wellness and diabetes education. The $1-million facility is a collaborative effort of Healthy Central Florida, Florida Hospital, Sanof and the Winter Park Health Foundation. An estimated 24% of all residents of the historically black community just north of Orlando have a history of diabetes.
ORANGE COUNTY — A grand jury indicted Orlando- Orange County Expressway Authority board member Scott Batterson and lobbyist Chris Dorworth on charges of violating Florida’s open meeting law, and a second member, Marco Pena, pleaded guilty and testifed before the panel called by State Attorney Jeff Ashton. Batterson was indicted earlier on bribery charges related to expressway contracting. Developers are designing a 570-foot vertical roller coaster for a new entertainment and retail shopping area on International Drive. Work on the $200-million Skyplex project by Orlando-based U.S. Thrill Rides and Mango’s Entertainment could begin next year. The 50-story coaster would be the tallest structure in central Florida. Plans call for a restaurant and observation deck at the top.
ORLANDO — Orlandobased Physicians United Plan, an insurance company serving the Medicare market, was declared insolvent and ordered to liquidate. The University of Central Florida will open a digital-media incubator this fall at its downtown Center for Emerging Media.
TITUSVILLE — Lockheed Martin is acquiring Titusville-based Astrotech Space Operations, a longtime satellite payload processing subcontractor, for $61 million. The sale is expected to close in the third quarter. Parrish Medical Group Diagnostic Center and MedFast Urgent Care opened in Titusville, giving north Brevard residents more access to lab, medical imaging and other health care services.
WINTER GARDEN — Joe Ort, principal of the Ort Law Firm, purchased the historic Britt Mansion for $1 million and moved his Ocoee firm to the 5,292-sq.-ft. building on Plant Street. The brick home with antebellum style columns and two cottages was built in 1929 by wealthy farmer Morgan C. Britt and converted to commercial use in recent years.
Craig McAllaster, retired dean of the business school at Rollins College, was named acting president following the resignation of Lewis Duncan, who headed the Winter Park school for a decade but had clashed with College of Arts and Sciences faculty in recent years over his leadership style. McAllaster serves while a national search is conducted.
Lesli J. Cearley was named director of fund development in central Florida for the Nemours Fund for Children’s Health.
A. Dale Whittaker, a Purdue University vice provost, was named the University of Central Florida’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.
Susan Black, an attorney and Sanford native, is now general manager of the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority.
Terry’s Electric, started as a mom-and-pop operation by husband and wife B. Terence “Terry” and Jeanne Quigley 35 years ago, has grown to become one of Florida’s largest electrical contractors, with revenue of $23 million last year. This year, the Quigleys forecast revenue will top $35 million. The Kissimmee firm recently completed $15 million of work at Universal Orlando’s new Cabana Bay Beach Resort, and 17-year company veteran Pat Murphy was promoted to COO to oversee day-to-day operations. Terry continues as chairman and CEO and Jeanne as vice president.
Universal Orlando’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Rendering: U.S. Tennis Association’s $60-million complex at Lake Nona