June 1, 2023

Community Portrait

Orlando & Orange County

More than just gathering data, we're trying to capture elements that make each community distinctive.

 Terence Delahunty Jr.
» Why I Live Here

I moved to Orlando when I graduated from UF law school in 1983. Prior to that, I, like many others, had only experienced Orlando through its theme parks. The area has spent enormous efforts overcoming misunderstanding/bias associated with that perception. These efforts have succeeded with the increasing influence of UCF, the Medical City complex at Lake Nona and other high-tech industries now located in Orlando.

I was born in Manhattan and spent my early years in White Plains, a suburb of N.Y.C. My family moved to south Florida in the late ’60s, and we watched in amazement how Broward County exploded in growth.

After finishing law school, I was not interested in dealing with the overpopulation and lifestyle of south Florida, so I limited my choices to Orlando and Jacksonville. I am very happy I did, as the quality of life my family has is very high.

I work in downtown Orlando and live less than a mile away in a 70-year-old, wood-frame, two-story house on a quiet brick street in a traditional neighborhood known as Thornton Park. My children all went through St. James elementary school, which is just across Lake Eola from my office.

A benefit of Orlando is that it is not tradition-bound and is very welcoming to new residents. I have been heavily involved in community matters since I arrived.

Terence J. Delahunty Jr.
Shareholder / GrayRobinson

Barb Scherer

» Why I Live Here

After living in Tampa and New York, I believe the thing that makes Orlando so special is the spirit of the community. There is a passion and commitment to make Orlando even better and more competitive on both the national and international levels. I’ve always told people I love it here because Orlando is such a “livable” city — it has beautiful historic neighborhoods with lots of lakes, open spaces and cobblestone streets all within minutes to the downtown core, plus a pristine, clean appearance compared to most other big cities. Combine that with an easy driving distance to the beaches, a warmer climate, lots of outdoor activities, sports, affordable housing and overall lower cost of living, and it’s the perfect recipe for an energetic, happy life.

Barb Scherer
President / Engauge

» View from a Competitor

Florida Trend asked an economic development professional in a market that competes with Orlando to assess anonymously the city’s strengths and weaknesses.

“Orlando is a city that retains its very positive image of a city on the go. It has made some particularly strong collaborative efforts in the area of life sciences, which has become well known around the state and the nation. Orlando still suffers from its image as a tourist community with lower-than-average wages and substantial traffic congestion. Only part of the negative is true, as the progress on high-wage, high-technology job development efforts has been excellent.”

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