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About jliv

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  1. jliv

    Downtown Orlando Project Discussion

    The architecture is not daring because the clients are not daring. There are some "starchitect" buildings in the greater Orlando area, but mostly on Disney property. The buildings downtown were built for local banks, law firms, and government agencies; the architecture is a reflection of the amount of ambition of the Orlando business community. But aren't we talking about a Hampton Inn here? I don't think mid-price Hilton brands scream for edgy designs, anywhere...
  2. jliv

    The Brightline

    I cringe whenever I see a Wendell Cox "assessment", as he runs a right-wing think tank, and always has a strong bias against the public benefits of public transportation and urban planning. Those are two things that are hard to quantify in spreadsheet analyses, as many of the benefits are intangible. However, that's why we have public policy. No one ran this kind of analysis when we invaded Iraq: there was no quantifiable financial benefit to taxpayers to spend the trillions that we did, but it was supposed to provide intangible benefits such as "national security". Politicians should be considering these intangibles in their own analyses of the benefits for the "public good", much like they should with sports stadiums. One could easily argue that the public good of a $2 billion HSR train system benefits a lot more people economically than two $1 billion football stadiums, frankly. It's funny how Florida politicians, up until the Marlins Stadium fiasco, gave less resistance to specious arguments for sports investment than public mobility over the years. It comes down to values, and some people have very different values than others.
  3. jliv

    The Brightline

    And its awful. A friend of mine from the UK took the train to Washington Union Station after flying into BWI once and commented on how "third-world" American transit infrastructure is. And he's right.
  4. jliv

    Comparing Orlando...

    Completely different experience for me. Then again, I have to tell them about Winter Park as a pleasant respite from conventional tourist Orlando. Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  5. jliv

    Comparing Orlando...

    Instead of moaning about the lack of leadership in Orlando, why not be a leader? The members of this forum seem to engage in a lot of “train spotting” of development projects, but I never see anyone pushing to organise to pressure developers and government agencies to build the kind of city that makes people want to stick around. I don’t live in Orlando (but I care because I grew up there and my extended family is mostly there) and the cities that you cite as great places enjoy a level of civic involvement I don’t often see in transient Orlando. Orlando could use more shared public spaces that don’t cost $100 to enter, more choices for transportation, etc. but often community pressure is needed to push government in the right direction. I will tell you this: most people I know who come to Orlando for business travel hate going there. The Orlando tourism industry has created a substandard product for business travellers, and that creates a deeper impression for business decision makers than any of those Buddy Dyer voice announcements on the airport people movers. It’s the hard truth: very few people over the age of 10 are thrilled at the prospect of visiting Orlando. These people who attend conventions in Orlando are the same people who make the decisions to invest their capital and talents in local businesses. If the brand is poor, they aren’t going to jump at new opportunities. In the age of Trump, the escalating level of civic participation throughout the country gives me hope, but as they say: all politics is local. Potholes do matter. Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  6. jliv

    Downtown Orlando Project Discussion

    Interesting that Property Markets Group is expanding from its core Tier 1 markets of NYC, Chicago, and Miami straight into Orlando. They are certainly bold. That’s a good thing.
  7. jliv

    Downtown Orlando Project Discussion

    Ummm, Property Markets Group built this infamous pox on the NYC skyline. They are certainly bold. Interesting they are jumping from their core Tier 1 markets of NYC, Miami, and Chicago straight to Orlando. EDIT: wrong building. I’m easily confused. The rendering looks a lot like this: Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  8. jliv

    Downtown Orlando Project Discussion

    Basically an unnamed party is negotiating with the broker to buy a 1.7 acre parcel, and that party has outbid Unicorp. (If you turn off Javascript in your browser, you can load this paywall-blocked content in the web page to read)...
  9. jliv

    Amazon HQ #2 To Orlando?

    If I was a betting man, I'm place my bets on DC/Northern Virgina. Austin also seems like an obvious choice, given the recent purchase of Whole Foods and Austin's place in the tech circuit. However, I think Orlando has a fair shot, but here are the factors to consider: 1. Amazon, as an international company with large sites all over the globe, will need to be in a US location with the most convenient timezone to align business hours with these sites. That includes China, India, and the EU, while still being in a convenient timezone for Seattle. Amazon has already invested billions of dollars in its India operations, so this an important factor. Being someone who has spent a career coordinating workers spread across these locations, working with both West Coast and India locations, I can tell you the Central and Mountain time zones are a serious pain in the ass. If Amazon is smart, they will base these new headquarters on the East Coast. 2. Which business divisions would Amazon manage from their new location, and which would be managed in Seattle? Amazon's major business units consist of: The legacy Amazon retail operation - a typically low margin business that the Amazon of today grew out of. Really competes with Wal-Mart, who seems to function fine in Bentonville, through their "tech" operation is located in the Bay Area. This would likely stay in Seattle, though some of the child sites could be moved to be closer to clusters of suppliers. Amazon Web Services - the real "tech" operation for Amazon and their cash cow, which needs highly-skilled computer scientists who are experienced in "cloud" technologies. Boston, Raleigh-Durham, Northern Virgina, and Atlanta (somewhat) have lots of those people. AWS has large data centers in Northern Virginia already (https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/01/amazon-web-services-data-center/423147/), which boosts Northern Virginia as a candidate location. Amazon Prime Video - a media company competing with Netflix and Hulu. This operation needs access to the creative talent who cluster in places like NYC, LA, London, and increasingly Atlanta. Makes more sense on the East Coast. Their product division - competes with Apple with the some of most popular products launched in recent years (i.e. Echo/Alexa, Kindle, etc). This would likely stay in the West Coast for convenience to Chinese suppliers. If sites are limited to the East Coast, Boston, DC/Baltimore, Charlotte, Raleigh/Durham, Atlanta, Nashville, and Tampa are Orlando's competition. I'm leaving out Miami, as it has a serious land problem that will make it difficult for Amazon to pull together a site for a large campus. Could Orlando provide the infrastructure for the media executives and cloud engineers that would work out of the second HQ? Another very big question: would these people want to live in Orlando? One of the problems with "Hollywood East" in the 1990's was the challenge of attracting media talent to locate to Orlando. I still know a lot of people who worked for Nickelodeon and Disney who moved on very quickly to LA and NYC for the sake of their careers. Orlando needs to address that, and learn from its lessons from the "Hollywood East" failure if Amazon Prime Video could operated effectively from Orlando. I do have to say, watching Buddy Dyer and Teresa Jacobs effectively coordinate over the years to pull off big projects has been impressive. They need to continue that coordination by fixing the looming Sunrail fiscal problem and getting the airport link built, if they're going to have a short at Amazon. They will also need to give away the remaining plots in the Creative Village as part of any relocation incentive package, at that strikes me as the most attractive location in the Orlando area for a large corporate campus.
  10. jliv

    Orlando Museum of Art Downtown property?

    I don't think money is a problem here: under the Florida statutes governing how tourist development taxes can be spent, museums are a venue type that the Orange County hotel tax revenue can be spent on. There is probably a better case for an OMA on steroids to enhance tourism than the performing arts center; think of all of the traveling blockbuster exhibitions, requiring large blocks of space over months, that the current venue cannot host that could be successfully staged in a more prominent venue downtown. Cities like New York, London, and Paris heavily promote these exhibitions as part of their tourism promotion strategy, and Orlando could certainly join this circuit of large cultural exhibitions that originate from the likes of the Smithsonian and the V&A. Pure speculation here, but if I was to go public with a proposal that includes public funds, I'd probably have a bulletproof strategy in place before going to the public. That includes a solid business case with revenue projections, cornerstone partners, and, of course, plans for a world-class building. Perhaps there is silence because of a private entity, outside of the reach of sunshine laws, who is developing the proposal. Given that there will be heavy public debate once that proposal is presented, especially if taxes are involved, then silence is good. Anyhow, the timing right now isn't appropriate because the 2nd phase of the performing arts center just started construction... Just my two cents...
  11. Skyscrapers in American cities have always been about ego and prestige, by developers who understand little about what makes a city (which is possibly the most important human innovation of all). People who live in cities like to be around people (it's why I will never live in the suburbs again), and the best cities are designed for constant human interaction. Skyscrapers do nothing for that.
  12. jliv


    Amazing...I wish they hadn't rebranded the area "Mills 50"...About as silly as "ViMi", another strange portmanteau they tried in the 90's to make it sound "hip". It will always be Colonialtown to me, down to the big "Ralph Kazarian" sign or that crazy sign with the current temperature selling air conditioning to remind you of how bloody hot it is in Central Florida. (the "car crash" sound from those Ralph Kazarian commercials still haunts me in my dreams)...
  13. jliv

    Winter Park & Maitland

    i'd love to see an Ace Hotel in Winter Park (unlikely, but I can dream)...http://www.acehotel.com/
  14. jliv

    Downtown Orlando Project Discussion

    Berlin has a lot of great examples of smart infill development. Here's a pic from Google Earth (albeit 9 years old) of a one-story space at the corner of Hauptstrasse and Akazienstrasse in Schoeneberg. The Starbucks is no longer there; it's currently occupied by an upscale cookware/grocery shop. No parking in front; just a nice open plaza with tables for dining. The Germans recovered from the RAF by building smart cities. We Americans recover from "urban renewal" by building a bunch of ugly 7-Elevens fronted by parking lots.
  15. jliv

    Downtown Orlando Project Discussion

    The great thing about shipping containers, is that you can move them once the land that is hosting them becomes repurposed for new construction. You could simply move your "mall" to another underutilized parcel and build traffic in the area until developers catch up.