Universal Orlando has filed updated development plans with Orange County for the 541 acres along Universal Boulevard likely to be used for a new theme park and hotels.
The update filed by revises some aspects of the plans originally submitted to the county in October 2018. New proposed access roads are now visible in the western portion of the Universal land, where the new park is likely to be constructed. Some of the new roadways would connect to the extension of Kirkman Road which will separate the Universal land from a facility owned by Lockheed Martin.
Another new detail is the property’s parking lot. Located along the parcel’s eastern edge, the choice of a parking lot harkens back to the original layout of Universal Studios Florida when it opened in 1990. The park was first serviced by surface parking until it was replaced by its current large parking structure ahead of the 1999 openings of Islands of Adventure and Universal CityWalk.
You can look at the full 32-page site plan here.
The new filings also includes responses to Orange County’s concerns with the original plans from Kimley-Horn, the Orlando-based company serving as the engineer of record on the project. One notable disagreement is the need for an environmental site assessment.
The county said such an assessment “must be submitted” for review, but Kimley-Horn replied that “the applicant” — meaning Universal — wants that requirement removed because the site has been “extensively evaluated” over the past 20 years. The land was once used by Lockheed Martin for missile testing and needed more than $40 million in environmental cleanup work after Universal originally bought the land in 1998 (it later sold the property, then reacquired it in 2016).
Current records from the Environmental Protection Agency show a corrective action permit is in place for a portion of the Universal property, but the last inspection in April 2017 found no violations.
For Universal theme park fans, the plans don’t spell out what will go into the new park or when it will open. Publicly, Universal has only said it’s “looking at” building another Central Florida park.
“We love the theme park business,” NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said in July 2018. “It’s one of our best, most consistent businesses. And we think we have a lot of — a very long runway and that another gate in Florida would have the advantage of turning Florida from a two or three-day destination to potentially a weeklong destination. We think that would be attractive.”