ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County’s Tourism Tax Task Force on Monday revealed its recommended ranking for prospective projects on which to spend billions of tourism tax dollars in Central Florida.
Funding requests for projects at the Orange County Convention Center, Camping World Stadium, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Amway Center and UCF received the most favorable rankings.
What You Need To Know
- The Orange County Tourism Task Force made recommendations to the Orange County Commission on how to spend money collected from the Tourism Development Tax
- The TDT, also called a "bed tax," is a 6% sales tax paid by visitors for hotel rooms and short-term stays
- In 2022, Orange County collected a record-breaking $336 million from the tax
- Final recommendations will be made to the Orange County Commission on July 25
The proposal for a new baseball stadium ranked poorly on the task force survey. The project, which was requested by the Orlando City Baseball Dreamers, is seeking $975 million dollars.
Orange County officials have spent weeks listening to funding requests by dozens of organizations. Tourism tax funds are designated to be used for tourism-related projects.
The task force has three meetings remaining. It will discuss two more project surveys at its July 17 meeting and will present final recommendations on July 18 — then again to the Orange County commissioners on July 25. The Orange County Commission makes the final decision on how the funds are spent.
Here's a look at projects top-ranked by the task force:
Florida Citrus Council for Camping World Stadium
This project request ranked most favorably.
Florida Citrus Council requested up to $800 million to go to remove and rebuild the upper-terrace decks of the stadium and to build a new fieldhouse.
Staff say the upper decks are more than 30 years old. Replacing the upper deck would allow builders to create a canopy over Camping World Stadium, which could allow for more flex space in bad weather.
The fieldhouse would be used to host midsized events.
If funds are approved, construction is projected to wrap up two years after an 18 month planning period.
Orange County Convention Center
According to application documents, the Orange County Convention Center is seeking $586 million for an expansion expected to be complete by 2027 or 2028.
The project includes a new ballroom space, additional meeting space and a 200,000-square-foot hall for large receptions.
In a survey, task force members wrote that the convention center is a major driver of economic growth and also contributes significantly to the money collected for the county's 6% bed tax.
Outdoor expansion at the Dr. Phillips Center
The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts requested $145 million to expand its space outside and create an outdoor-centric venue. The center hopes to build an outdoor auditorium with space for up to 7,000 guests. The project plans also feature a 750-seat theater, exhibit space and a food and beverage “garden.”
If funding is approved, construction is expected to begin within 14 months, with a completion date slated in 2026.
Amway Center renovations
The Amway Center put in a request to keep up with necessary repairs, replacements and enhancements.
In an application sent to Orange County, staff said they seek $256 million for a "routine maintain-and-refresh approach," rather than an overhaul or reconstruction, over the course of 10 years.
UCF Athletics Village enhancements
UCF is requesting $176 million to enhance FBC Mortgage Stadium, renovate the Addition Financial Arena and create dedicated arenas for Olympic sports.
The funds would be dispersed over 10 years.