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About klstorey

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  • Birthday 08/15/1984

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    Washington, D.C.
  • Interests
    Urban Sociology, Urban Design, Tourism, Economic Growth, Creativity

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  1. To be clear, the 10,000 rooms includes both the hotels and on-site vacation homes. This would put it smaller than Margaritaville, where 3,000 vacation homes are approved, most of which have three or more bedrooms.
  2. I took a tour last week. It's interesting. Great car museum, ok arcade, decent go-kart track. The biggest issue is so much of it is still not finished. I'd give it a good six months before visiting, just to ensure everything is open. I think this will actually work thanks to the location. Pardon the generalization, but this will be where guys go when their wives are shopping at the outlets. Bass Pro, go-karts, pinball, James Bond museum, car museum, and a movie theater. A lot of guys would love to spend a few hours at a place like that. Here are some pics and thoughts of my tour of the place. A lot of cool cars, a must visit if you're a car person. For everyone else, I think this is a one and done type of attraction. The thing is, the owner doesn't need to make a lot of money with this. It's essentially a warehouse to store his collection and if he can charge admission then why not. Most of the cars he owned already. He's redeveloping the rest of the site, that's where the $ is, not in an FEC. I see this sticking around until the rest of the property is developed and then it mostly leaving as he redevelops this pad, though I've been told he envisions this as his lasting legacy and hopes it stays open well after he's gone.
  3. WWE supposedly looked at CityWalk back in the day but according to the going narrative Universal went another way and instead added Toothsome's. They also looked at a site near Sand Lake Road on I-Drive, went so far as doing architectural plans but cancelled the plans. I personally think they'd do better in downtown. The Amway can now claim it has hosted the most WWE events of any public site. The training center is in a warehouse park and isn't really in a spot that's conducive to tourism. I think being slightly away from the tourist area will help legitimize it. I believe Rick Scott had tried to convince them to move their HQ to Florida, to no avail. But a lot has changed since then. I think the ideal spot would be in the Magic's entertainment complex. Good I-4 visibility, close to Amway and Citrus Bowl, easy access for tourists. All that said, this is one of those 'I'll believe it when I see it' type of projects as these rumors have been around for years.
  4. Does north Lake County/Apopka area have a thread on here? Tons of new growth all around Wekiva Parkway. Mount Dora seems to have at least 4 new neighborhoods in development. I believe a new apartment complex is also in the works. There's also a huge new assisted living complex being built across the street from Waterman Village. Meanwhile the Avalon Park town center in Tavares/Eustis (behind the hospital) has its apartment complex vertical and commercial area will likely do so very soon. Land is being cleared for a new neighborhood in Tangerine too. There's also a lot of new growth in Apopka just south of OBT on the 429, near Lake Apopka. It looks to be a pretty nice neighborhood with large landscaped medians that have very nice palm trees in them.
  5. Wasn't this the plan after the I-4 Ultimate is finished. Have the FDOT/vendor offices on that site been moved yet?
  6. Thank you! I actually did a paper for my Urban Planning History class on the original EPCOT plans. It was good to be able to use some of that in this story. Here is a map from the RCID 2020 Conservation Plan. The land purchased fills in that odd jigsaw area in the upper left between the yellow and the Seven Seas Lagoon. Here is a map of all the buildings, as listed on the RCID ARCGIS. You can see there's a few big areas where development has yet to happen. Lots of area to fill in around existing buildable areas. This map doesn't show ESPN WWOS or the All Star Resorts. If interested. Here's a great post on the history of Lake Buena Vista and the shopping district now known as Disney Springs (which I have another story in the pipeline about thanks to M&M World). http://passport2dreams.blogspot.com/2016/06/lake-buena-vista-and-shaping-orlando.html. Some of you might find this 1967 Economic Impact of WDW study interesting. UCF's Buzz Price Archives are an incredible resource, espcially now that most of it is scanned and online. https://stars.library.ucf.edu/buzzprice/21 This similar 1965 report is also very fascinating. https://stars.library.ucf.edu/buzzprice/130
  7. *cough* Skyplex *cough* Also, Epic Universe concept art has three (four?) coasters visible in it.
  8. I just got this press release from C.T. Hsu + Associates regarding the OCCC updates. I've always thought that end of the OCCC looked unfinished, this seems to be help it. The Orange County Board of County Commissioners has selected the joint venture team of POPULOUS + C.T. Hsu & Associates to provide architectural and engineering design services for the Orange County Convention Center’s (OCCC) estimated $605 million North-South Building Expansion. It is an important project for the region that Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said will “sharpen our competitive edge and maintain our position as a dynamic location for conventions, tradeshows and guests from around the globe.” The OCCC is the second-largest convention center in North America, attracting 1.4 million visitors annually and providing an estimated $3 billion in economic impact to Central Florida. The expansion plan includes two projects: Convention Way Grand Concourse – An enclosed connection between the North and South concourses that will add 60,000 SF of meeting space and an 80,000 SF ballroom, along with providing a new grand entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. Multipurpose Venue – A 200,000 SF flexible, column-free space to accommodate up to 20,000 guests that POPULOUS’ Michael Lockwood predicts will make OCCC “the envy of the industry.” “POPULOUS + C.T. Hsu, a Joint Venture has a long-standing partnership with our community that will be advantageous in planning and implementing these projects,” said OCCC Acting Executive Director David Ingram. Locally, the firms’ joint venture projects together also include the Amway Center and Orlando City Soccer’s Exploria Stadium. “What I most admire about C.T. Hsu is his unrelenting commitment to the community,” added GEC founding President and longtime Orlando advocate Joanie Schirm. “I know the new addition at the Orange County Convention Center will showcase his firm’s design thoughtfulness. We are lucky to have C.T. and his joint venture team on the project.” The expected completion date of the expansion is late 2023.
  9. Tom is once again taking old stories and trying to claim that they're new... This rumor dates back to at least 2009 when Disneyland got them. It's been long thought that the 'iasw' update will be a part of the 50 updates for the 50th that will be rumored also include updates to Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Jungle Cruise, Tiki Room, etc. I highly recommend WDWThemeParks for a good timeline on projects and a background on them. Here's the history of the 'its a small world' update. http://wdwthemeparks.com/rumors/2017/03/18/mary-blair-versions-of-classic-disney-character-possibly-coming-to-its-a-small-world
  10. Yes! The new park and new hotel are being designed with conventions in mind. That amphitheater will be rented out for conventions and every single land is designed to be accessed via service roads (the single entrance is also in part due to the ability to close them off for special events without a lot of labor costs). Not really seen in the concept art is some convention space within the hotel itself (or the amenities that will be on the other side). The hotel will be on the same level as a Four Seasons/Ritz Carlton. This will be the new flagship hotel for UOR. A big step up from Portofino Bay and Royal Pacific. They seem to really be pulling inspiration from the WDW Four Seasons and the new hotel going into Tokyo DisneySea. Honestly, they seem to be pulling a lot of inspiration from Tokyo DisneySea for many aspects of the park and hotels. Also, don't forget that they acknowledge hotelS would be coming. They only showed the one but expect others. I think they're hesitant due to concerns over labor shortages more than anything. They're outsourcing a ton of the design process, more so than usual, especially for the park. I think this is to allow the internal teams to focus more on upcoming projects and further out blue sky stuff, like the rest of the South Campus.
  11. I'll be sad to see the St Regis apartments demo'd. I think the region could benefit from more, not fewer, smaller apartment complexes that have character. Garden apartments and the like are sorely needed. That missing middle can add a lot of character to a community and provide a better mix of housing costs.
  12. There will be a bridge. Reedy Creek has already updated their address map with both bridges. https://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=d675187179194132a3abb2b9078a4cbd It should be noted that the map isn't perfect, with none of the Star Wars updates added to the map yet. Also, speaking of Reedy Creek on ArcGIS, this swipe of aerial maps showing growth in the 4 Corners area is pretty fun to look at. https://www.arcgis.com/apps/StorytellingSwipe/index.html?appid=33ae3bc929f94047be9b135f66ba11cb&embed The bridge should allow for some much-needed monorail updates. The resort loop is the only one with more than 2 stations but the pathway should help if one or two of those stations go offline for updates. On the latest Disney Dish podcast with Len Testa and Jim Hill (I believe this episode but I'm not 100% sure this is where it was mentioned), they mention the potential for a boutique resort on the backside of Adventureland. Remember, this is the expansion plot that was previously rumored for a Moana coaster, that was canned with the TRON coaster was greenlit. The hotel would be behind Jungle Cruise and not very visible from inside the park but would provide amazing castle/fireworks views and Seven Seas Lagoon views. Len Testa mentioned it as a potential spot for an Electrical Water Pagent viewing dessert party.
  13. I think a stadium at the OCCC would be great. The convention center has previously stated they need a large venue for keynote events. Baseball stadiums that don't draw other events struggle, those that can host multiple events weather better. It amazes me that Tampa let that Ybor City proposal fall through.
  14. Yes (kinda), Universal Way (the new road) and the extension of Kirkman will have bus dedicated lanes with a unique elevated roundabout. Here is some I wrote about the updates in an August 2018 article on Orlando Weekly (sorry for the shameless plug). The plans were revised earlier this year. In a February article this year, I tried to give some more details on the interior road network. For now, it looks like a shuttle bus will connect the three resort sites. I would love to see a gondola system like the one at WDW (I just finished an article on that as well) connecting the three Universal sites along with the OCCC and maybe one or two other stops. Also, don't forget the Lynx has plans for bus dedicated lanes most of the length of Kirkman in the long-range plans (though personally, I think an elevated shuttle system would much better due to the multiple intersections). It's unclear if the ones along the extension will link up to these future ones. Don't expect a lot of details at Thursday's event. It will mostly be an acknowledgment of the new park so that Universal can move forward with permitting.
  15. I know I’ve been a bit MIA on here lately, don’t worry, I still read nearly every single post thanks to the email feature. I just wrapped up my first semester in my Urban and Regional Planning master's program at Georgetown in DC. I’ve been trying to relate everything I’ve learned and all the fantastic people I’ve met back to Orlando. Here a few thoughts from the semester that some of you hopefully find interesting. It seems like everyone on these boards is in a perpetual love-hate relationship with Orlando’s growth, but at least we’re growing! In my classes and in the 4 symposiums I attended this semester, the only times Central Florida was mentioned was in discussions on Lake None and Celebration. I would argue that Lake Nona is far more car-centric than many of us on here would prefer, but the gated cul-de-sacs don’t exist in most urban planners minds when they think of Lake Nona, all they’re aware of is the bold vision for the new downtown, Boxi Park, Laurent Park, and the Medical Village. I think this shows how powerful a good PR firm is at making a place the ‘it’ community. No one I spoke with knew of the Creative Village, despite it being far more impressive IMO in its revitalization. The same is true with Celebration and Baldwin Park. Everyone knows of Celebration, no one knows about Baldwin Park. This awareness of Orlando beyond the theme parks seems to be from a mix of things, including Lake Nona and, unfortunately, Pulse. I think the whole “You don’t know the half of it,” campaign seems dated these days. Everyone I spoke to DC, from my professors to students from places like Sri Lanka and Singapore to the elderly visiting professor from Cambridge, knows Orlando is more than theme parks and hotels. It’s time for Orlando to grow up and stop trying to convince others that it is a ‘real city.’ Most people seem to have been to a conference there, seen UCF or OCSC on TV, or know someone that lives there. This idea that people still only associate Orlando with Disney World is flawed and ignores the progress the region has made in the past three decades. One thing that Orlando could do a better job in embracing is its connection to pop music and 90s culture, both of which are in the midst of a renaissance. I think a lot of the “If only Orlando did ___, then it would be viewed as a big city” arguments point to physical additions when it seems like the best thing the city could do would be to hire a PR firm like Lake Nona or Celebration did. The City appears to be doing just as many bold projects as most other cities, people just don’t know about them in Orlando. Celebration is mentioned regularly as a planned community, no one seems to have heard of Winter Park, despite it being the state’s first planned community. As far as an arts culture is concerned, Orlando seems in the same league, if not ahead, of cities like Denver, Boulder, and Baltimore. Again, the difference is how little Orlando’s art scene is discussed outside of Orlando. I had lunch with a community manager from one of DC’s hippest neighborhood districts. He was talking about programs in his neighborhood that are viewed as the cutting edge of DC’s art scene, yet to me, it seemed like things Orlando was already ahead on. Pop-up art exhibits, art walks, joint events with bars and museums, etc. Transit Oriented Developments were continuously discussed, again with Orlando not once being mentioned in lectures or readings, despite nearly every single SunRail station either having them already or projects proposed nearby. Awareness seems to be the main issue here. But all-in-all Orlando seems to be doing about as well as any other city when it comes to these types of projects. Lowering parking minimums in downtown might help Orlando get more notice here but Longwood, SODO, and downtown all have great TODs that no one outside of the area seems to be aware of. The most obvious place Orlando lacks when compared to the cities I’ve studied this semester is in mass transit infrastructure. Again, the city is missing the opportunity to market itself in this field. Orlando has the nation’s first bus rapid transit system, yet it wasn’t mentioned in a single lecture or reading all semester. Orlando needs to embrace the BRT system and focus on using it as a way to differentiate itself from other Southern cities infamous for poor mass transit. The Kirkman BRT should be a priority, as should systems on 50 and University Blvd (though I’m not sure those are even being proposed any longer). This semester has given me a new appreciation for Orlando. The area seems to be right there with the best of them when it comes to the critical conversations regarding bike transit, gender/sexuality equity, arts, and new construction techniques. Many of the issues Orlando is facing, like ugly bland apartment buildings, insane rent prices, and gentrification, seem to be far more universal than we in Orlando like to acknowledge. One of the big differences, though, is the void of activist journalism in Central Florida. Orlando Weekly (who I still contribute to) and Bungalower both do a fantastic job of bringing awareness to the issues but we have nothing on the scale of something like DC’s Greater Greater Washington which focuses on specific issues, takes on the role of activist, and is relentless in its coverage until real actions are taken. In Orlando, the role of the news sites seems to stop at the awareness step. By far the biggest difference between the cities I’ve studied, and DC where I’ve been living, and Orlando is the lack of outrage in Orlando surrounding non-safe streets for pedestrians and bicyclists. A bike activist was recently hit and killed in DC. It led to massive protests, continuous coverage on local news, highly publicized meetings with elected officials, die-ins’ in the streets, and more. The outrage was shocking coming from Orlando where, unfortunately, vehicle fatalities have become such a common occurrence that the discussion around them is almost completely absent. I can’t imagine that same level of outrage and protest ever occurring in Orlando over a bicyclist’s death. I think it was able to occur in DC in part because of the activist journalism and because of the expectation that the city is under the microscope by others. Orlando seems to be missing both of those factors. FWIW, DC is now discussing protecting all bike lanes with concrete or other barriers. Let me know what you all think about my thoughts here!
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