“If you build it, they will come.” Central Florida built it, and became one of the top tourism destinations of the world. The people came. Orlando grew and the housing market boomed, but in 2007, Real Estate and Tourism lost the wind in their sails.
The theme parks, hotels, and other attractions scrambled to keep drawing visitors to the area through discounts and promotions. In a recent article published by the Orlando Sentinel, 6 years have passed, and this past July was the first time the average room rate has surpassed the rates in 2007 before the downturn. Daryl Cronk, the director of research at Visit Orlando, has stated the “area has already reached pre-recession levels in terms of demand for hotel rooms. But prices had not yet recovered, and hoteliers were selling their rooms at a discount, which is difficult for the bottom line.”
With the highest average hotel rates since 2007, record attendance reported by the theme parks this summer, combined with the improving real estate sector, it would appear the heartbeat of Central Florida has returned. That energy has been the driving force to the growth of Downtown Orlando and its surrounding areas. New developments, including NORA on Orange, Mills Park, and the Fashion Square Mall transformation are all creating a desirable live/work/play atmosphere. New trendy hotels like Aloft, by the new Doctor Phillips Performing Arts Center, and the proposed Element hotel for the Fashion Square Mall, will draw visitors to stay and play Downtown. More projects are being discussed, such as a new entertainment complex near the Amway Center that could cost the Orlando Magic around $100 million.
The Field of Dreams concept, “if you build it, they will come” has been Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s mantra, and it appears to be working.
Article by Michael Leanna