jliv

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About jliv

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    bearosmith

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    London/Orlando

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  1. 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.
  2. 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...
  3. 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.
  4. Mills/50

    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)...
  5. Winter Park & Maitland

    i'd love to see an Ace Hotel in Winter Park (unlikely, but I can dream)...http://www.acehotel.com/
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Downtown Orlando Project Discussion

    Yeah, the Tulsa downtown itself was a bit sad, but the Blue Dome District did redeem it. Actually, Tulsa and Oklahoma City both impressed me, given the "Bible Belt" stereotypes I had upon arrival. Oklahoma City has a lot of interesting infill in the Midtown, Automobile Alley, and Bricktown areas. I'd love to see Eola South/Thornton Park take on more of that flavor.
  9. Downtown Orlando Project Discussion

    Don't we have a couple of bloggers who read these forums that could champion such a thing and stir up some momentum? The Tulsa mini-mall was very cool; I live in London and frequent the Boxpark in Shoreditch, and the Tulsa setup was obviously inspired by it (http://www.tulsaboxyard.com/). Oklahoma City has a smaller version of it in its Bricktown area, but it is obviously a thing now in the States.
  10. Winter Garden/Ocoee/Oakland Projects

    I had that typical challenge yesterday while visiting Orlando of where to take my elderly parents to dinner besides Winter Park (my mother loves her chain restaurants, which always causes problems for me), but I thought of Winter Garden after reading through these forums. What a surprise! It's the kind of development I've always craved in Central Florida: a nice escape from the sea of Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen outlets. Bike trails/urban parks are the catalysts these days for driving new development, and I hope this provides a model for other communities in Central Florida to step up their game and consider active recreation in their planning decisions.
  11. Downtown Orlando Project Discussion

    I've been on an extended business trip for the past couple of weeks through Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Atlanta, and the infill development in all three of those cities puts Orlando to shame. I think I mentioned repurposed shipping containers on this forum in the past, as a cheap way to bring pop-up retail to urban areas (which Orlando could sorely use). Freakin' TULSA now has a container pop-up mall in its Blue Dome District! I won't even mention the absurdly amazing Ponce City Market in the old Sears Roebuck building in Midtown Atlanta and all of the new development along the Beltline.
  12. Creative Village [Proposed]

    Creative Village... Health Village... Medical City... Convention District... Sounds like some emir in Dubai has been naming large Orlando developments (or a Chinese communist apparatchik)... Summers in Portland, winters in Orlando...I'll take it!
  13. The Brightline

    (I'm going to get political for a moment, so if you don't like someone expressing their personal opinion, then move on...) I read Alan Greenspan's memoirs in 2007, and a couple of things stuck with me about him and his philosophy. First, he was REALLY CLOSE to Ayn Rand. Don't really need to go into the tenets of her "objectivist" philosophy, but suffice to say it says a lot about his thinking as an economist. Second, he expressed a view in his book that government's primary role was to "protect private property", which is a very conservative/libertarian view. It largely fits with the mindset of the residents and officials in Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River counties (largely Republican) who are creating roadblocks for this project. They are using government and the civil court system to protect the values of their property, as there is a belief amongst them that increased railroad traffic will degrade their quality of life, and thus, the value of their homes. Selfish interests always come first. However, within a year of the book being released, as we all know, the banking sector was on the verge of collapse due to many of his policies and the lack of regulation and oversight in the investment banking sector that had degraded over the latter part of the 20th century. Guess who had to step in for the public good to prevent a devastating, worldwide financial collapse? The federal government, with its massive bailout negotiated by both outgoing president George W. Bush and incoming president Barack Obama. So, it showed that government has an added goal of looking after the public good, balancing individual interests with the greater quality of life for the community. It kinds made Alan Greenspan look very misguided, in hindsight. (OK, BACK ON TOPIC NOW) I'm struck by how hands-off the Rick Scott administration and the FDOT has been on this. There are plenty of things the FDOT could do to help protect the public interest along the route. For one thing, taking leadership with progressing the Tri-Rail Coastal Link project and extending it by putting stations in the counties north of Palm Beach County would go a long way in counteracting the "quality of life" impacts the residents are perceiving. It wouldn't make everyone happy, but the local officials funding the myriad of lawsuits would welcome the economic benefits of commuter rail. Therefore, the market-driven strategy of All Aboard Florida would be enhanced by government help in boosting the state benefits of the project. Anyhow, they've already sunk 300M into the Orlando "multi-modal" station. They keep saying the station was already in the long-term plans for the airport, but I'm calling a "fig a fig and a trough a though". It was clearly to benefit the All Aboard Florida project. One would think that providing compromises to bring all parties to the table would be the best option to move forward, right? But this is Rick Scott, who rode the Tea Party/Freedom Caucus into Tallahassee. Just another example of how businessmen don't necessarily make good political leaders, who have to work to build consensus to get anything done. Ask his buddy Orange-Dude-in-the-White-House how that "business acumen" is working out for him. OK, back to all the fun musings about Florida development...
  14. Downtown Orlando Project Discussion

    http://www.tavistock.com/art/ Not insignificant.
  15. Orlando Attractions Area News & Developments

    I had the best time I've ever had at a themed attraction in September of last year in Weston-super-Mare near Bristol in the UK: http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/08/dismaland/. It was intended as a p**s-take on amusement parks with a modern art bent from the famous Banksy, but for me, it wound up being outrageous fun. Banksy staged it to inject some life into a decaying English seaside resort; I couldn't help but think that Orlando could use a few "attractions" like this; lots of cheeky humour through political and culture satire. It sounds like hipster hell on paper, but it strangely worked as a night out for adults. Why hasn't an enterprising attaction developer engaged clever multimedia artists yet to draw people who typically hate on Orlando? #outofthebox