Central Florida Roundup
Succession: The search is on for UCF's next president
$2-Million Roller Coaster
Skyline Attractions, an Orlando-based manufacturer of amusement park rides, recently sold its first Skywarp — a new ride concept that offers the speed and loops of a big roller coaster at a fraction of the price and in a much smaller footprint. The ride vehicle, which carries 32 passengers, begins by rocking back and forth to build up speed before moving through a series of forward and reverse rotation loops. With a footprint of 120 feet by 30 feet and a height of 62 feet, Skyline says its ride, which costs slightly more than $2 million, can be placed in nearly any location — including in many indoor parks. The first buyer is Six Flags, which will add the ride to its Discovery Kingdom park in California this year.
CAPE CANAVERAL — Space Florida approved a $750,000 loan to Denver-based York Systems, a startup satellite manufacturer.
CENTRAL FLORIDA — The Orange-Osceola county court system closed its business-court division in order to assign judges to the busier family court division.
LAKE BUENA VISTA — Walt Disney Co. Says Hurricane Irma, which forced it to close Walt Disney World for two days, cancel three cruise voyages and shorten two others, cost it $100 million in revenue. Disney World began allowing dogs at four of its hotels.
LAKE COUNTY — County leaders endorsed a plan to add a fourth interchange to the underconstruction, $1.6-billion Wekiva Parkway toll road, despite opposition from environmentalists.
The county became the latest local jurisdiction to ban medical marijuana dispensaries.
MELBOURNE — Enhanced Resource Centers plans to open a contact center in Melbourne, with plans to hire 400.
ORANGE COUNTY — County leaders agreed to spend another $1 million — on top of $1 million already pledged — to subsidize the 2018 NFL Pro Bowl. They also committed $5 million to try to lure more sports-tourism events.
Valencia College settled a lawsuit over controversial in-class vaginal-probe ultrasound training programs.
ORLANDO — Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, who once considered pursuing the presidency of UCF, announced that he will run for a fifth mayoral term in 2019.
Universal Orlando announced plans for two new hotels on the site of the former Wet ‘n Wild water park.
Fattmerchant, a fast-growing payment technology provider, received $5.5 million in venture capital from Fulcrum Equity Partners of Atlanta. Attendance continued to slide at SeaWorld Entertainment parks, dropping 8. 8% in the third quarter.
Developer Lincoln Property broke ground on a 28-story, downtown retail and office tower dubbed Church Street Plaza. The state of Florida closed on the purchase of an office building to provide rentfree space for the U.S. military’s simulation and training cluster near the University of Central Florida. The Florida Department of Transportation, the University of Central Florida and MetroPlan Orlando won a nearly $12-million federal grant to test smart transportation systems designed to ease congestion and improve pedestrian safety.
Construction began on a new headquarters for BBA Aviation/Signature Flight Support in Tavistock Group’s Lake Nona development.
OSCEOLA COUNTY — The Mormon Church’s Farmland Reserve paid Harmony Florida Land $9.9 million for 4,200 acres in Osceola adjacent to the church’s Deseret Ranch property.
Del Webb will develop a 700-acre, gated neighborhood as part of Tavistock Group’s Sunbridge Project, a 24,000-acre community being built on some of the Mormon Church’s land in east-central Florida. The Del Webb Sunbridge community could have more than 1,350 homes. Mattamy Homes will build 329 homes between Florida’s Turnpike and Lake Tohopekaliga as the first phase of a 730-acre development dubbed Tohoqua.
PORT CANAVERAL — Royal Caribbean International will move its Harmony of the Seas, one of the largest cruise ships in the world, from Port Everglades to Port Canaveral in May 2019.