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Dcfilmknight

Orlando vs. Vegas

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I am an Orlando native, but I now reside in the Los Angeles area. Since then, Vegas has increasingly drawn my interest with its "boomtown" mentality both amongst investors and the public at large. Having surpassed Orlando in hotel rooms, convention space, high rise construction and even initiated it's own WDW style public transit, is Vegas doing something Orlando isn't? Or perhaps is the entertainment factor moving away from family oriented entertainment and towards more adult oriented fair? And, if that is the case, can Orlando keep up?

Also, what is up with downtown Orlando's height limit when the 40 story + Mandalay Bay Hotel is directly across from McCarran Internation?

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Not only is directly across from McCarran, it is just about at the very end of the east west runway

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Not only is directly across from McCarran, it is just about at the very end of the east west runway

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Its all about flight patterns.

What Vegas is doing that Orlando isn't is casinos...I was in Vegas in December and while I enjoyed myself, I wouldn't want that kind of entertainment in Orlando. We've discussed this before. Orlando is a much more livable metro IMO than Vegas.

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Its all about flight patterns.

What Vegas is doing that Orlando isn't is casinos...I was in Vegas in December and while I enjoyed myself, I wouldn't want that kind of entertainment in Orlando.  We've discussed this before.  Orlando is a much more livable metro IMO than Vegas.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I would agree that Orlando is much more of a "complete" city than Vegas is. I say that b/c Orlando is more diversified in it's business community and other aspects of a city than Vegas is. The OP is right in the sense that Vegas is one the new Western boom town but Orlando is growing in its own right. Vegas has a different entertainment base than Orlando so there will be some differences.

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... downtown Orlando's height limit when the 40 story + Mandalay Bay Hotel is ...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I just returned from a week in Rome .... an "extremely" lively urban core if you haven't heard. There are shops on every block ... several cafe's per block. The height limit is about 7 stories. Having skyscrapers has almost nothing to do with having a lively urban core, especially if it occupied by tourist. Is this an Urban website or a Skyscraper website?

Mandalay Bay Hotel may be 40 floors ... but it probably doesn't do anything for the Vegas residents except provide some jobs in the hospitality industry. And those employees probably live out in the suburban sprawl and shop in suburban malls. Part of the problem not part of the solution.

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I totally agree Cwetteland, you hit the nail right on the head. Urban liveliness is measured at the street level, not the skyline.

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Also, what is up with downtown Orlando's height limit when the 40 story + Mandalay Bay Hotel is directly across from McCarran Internation?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Folks, the issue with the height restriction in downtown Orlando is this: Actually there isn

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^ OK, I agree with everything you say. IMO, KORL has a lot to lose in landing efficiency if the core goes above 450' and also IMO the city has absolutely nothing to gain by going above 450' so we should all quit whining about height (restriction or not). Let's focus on the quality of the first 50' and downtown will be great.

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Thanks for the informative thread. I think most of us here already realized that it has more to do with the Executive Airport. I for one don't really care about the height limit thing anymore, its obviously not about that. Every downtown in Florida has taller buildings, yet Orlando is keeping up with the rest of them easily, and surpassing them on a lot of fronts.

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Interesting analysis of the "so-called" height restriction. I guess, its true that you learn something everyday. However, I agree with cwettland. Lets focus our efforts of how the buildings meet and interact with the street.

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While I certainly understand and appreciate the above comments I must say that I disagree with several of them.

I believe that there are several good reasons for allowing buildings above 450 feet in height to develop within the downtown Orlando core. By doing so however I do not mean in any way to minimize the importance of how a city and its people interact from the street level to the first ten or twenty feet in height.

Doing so would allow for a wider array of potential developers to bring their projects to Orlando as increased height usually equates into increased profits which, unfortunately, are what most developers are after.

It would also allow for the increased density of the city center without having to spread as quickly and as haphazardly into adjoining and long established neighborhoods.

I submit that being held, artificially, to a restricted height limit will in the end be detrimental to the development of Orlando as a true urban center.

Also, as to the references to Paris, Rome, and other European cities; while it is true that such city centers [or is it centres] are composed of buildings often no more that five or ten floors in height it must be mentioned that such city center cores cover areas several times larger than Orlando

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very informative thread.

I still think there is plenty of room for midrise buildings in orlando, however I think the city should at least have 1 flagship building to stand out and set a precedent. I think the Pizzuti block would be a perfect location for this. What I don't want is a downtown like Atlanta or Dallas, with numerous tall buildings with almost no midrise or mixed-use.

No, orlando doesn't need to focus on building taller, but 1 or 2 500+ footers would really make the city stand out even more.

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o, read my response here as to how I feel about Las Vegas.

In short, Vegas' growth is concentrated near the tourist-oriented strip, where orlando's downtown is far away from the tourist action. A major advantage I feel Orlando has over Vegas.

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Thanks Camillo Sitte. That was an extremely informative response. The initital reason for bringing up this topic was the general feeling, i get at least, is that Orlando is still a city on the edge of the real and the world of make-believe and it is still trying to find its identity. While i don't think having a huge skyline does that for a city, i am happy to see the direction the city has recently been taking. We can't forget that Orlando has buildings designed by some of the most respected architects in the world (Team Disney, Swan & Dolphin, AAA headquarters and more) that may beat out any other city in Florida. However, I think it would be cool to see something like those in the city core.

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While I certainly understand and appreciate the above comments I must say that I disagree with several of them.

I believe that there are several good reasons for allowing buildings above 450 feet in height to develop within the downtown Orlando core. By doing so however I do not mean in any way to minimize the importance of how a city and its people interact from the street level to the first ten or twenty feet in height.

Doing so would allow for a wider array of potential developers to bring their projects to Orlando as increased height usually equates into increased profits which, unfortunately, are what most developers are after.

It would also allow for the increased density of the city center without having to spread as quickly and as haphazardly into adjoining and long established neighborhoods.

I submit that being held, artificially, to a restricted height limit will in the end be detrimental to the development of Orlando as a true urban center.

Also, as to the references to Paris, Rome, and other European cities; while it is true that such city centers [or is it centres] are composed of buildings often no more that five or ten floors in height it must be mentioned that such city center cores cover areas several times larger than Orlando

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Thought I would add in the response I received from Buddy Dyer (while he was still Mayor) on the height limit. It pretty much is in line with what was said here.

February 21, 2005

To: Timothy Watts

Subject: Downtown height limits

Dear Mr. Watts:

First, I would like to thank you for your positive feedback about development in downtown. I understand your concerns about the possibility of a homogeneous looking skyline.

The FAA does not actually set a limit for the buildings in downtown. However, they do make advisories about possible unsafe obstructions. It is ultimately the decision of the local joint airport zoning boards for OIA and the Executive Airport.

City staff is studying ways to allow for taller structures however this may require modifications of landing procedures at the Orlando Executive Airport.

As these studies progress I will keep citizens informed. Thank you for your inquiry and I hope I was able to answer your questions.

Sincerely,

Buddy Dyer

Mayor

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Thanks Camillo Sitte. That was an extremely informative response. The initital reason for bringing up this topic was the general feeling, i get at least, is that Orlando is still a city on the edge of the real and the world of make-believe and it is still trying to find its identity. While i don't think having a huge skyline does that for a city, i am happy to see the direction the city has recently been taking. We can't forget that Orlando has buildings designed by some of the most respected architects in the world (Team Disney, Swan & Dolphin, AAA headquarters and more) that may beat out any other city in Florida. However, I think it would be cool to see something like those in the city core.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I hear what you are saying and I agree that the quality of Architecture in Orlando needs to take a leap forward. I submit that in fact Orlando needs to take an even greater leap than it seems you are suggesting.

I will admit upfront to my own biases: my mentors are perhaps some of the most progressive, the most [biting my tongue] 'avant-guard' architects currently working [as in actually building] and one of the most prominent and prolific architectural historian/theorists in the world [some would no dount disagree and that is fine].

While the Orlando area is indeed fortunate to have buildings, as you mention, by the likes of Graves, Stern, Isozaki, etc. I believe that Orlando would benefit greatly from a concerted effort to establish a much, much more progressive paradigm.

I think that the city suffers from a kind of self-consciousness that creates a climate where otherwise experienced and intelligent people give praise to the kind of, please forgive me, lowest-common-denominator tripe that is passed much like a bad meal from the likes of FBB et al. These observers, many here it seems, are so conditioned and starved for real Architecture that they rationalize all this FBB and similar like excrement by saying something like, 'well, it could have been worse.'

I use this example because I know that they [FBB] specifically use the work of my above-mentioned mentor whom I both worked for and with as 'guides' for what they distill. I can almost picture their studio with all of the Rizzoli, Monacelli, and Phaedon monographs lying open on desks as they copy the basic forms and then strip them bare of whatever meaning and beauty they once had so as to be palatable to architecturally disinterested developers.

If I sound arrogant I do not mean to, it is just that I have always had a difficult time in understanding, really understanding why the copy is so often preferable to the real thing. 'On time, on budget, and without soul' is not a solution IMHO.

Anyway, I too see Orlando standing on the edge of a precipice; to the right is a bright future borne of vision, risk, and hard work, to the left is the continuation along the same path of mediocrity, and straight ahead is certain death. It will indeed be interesting to see which direction the city chooses to move in.

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Why does KORL still exist to begin with? When Denver opened their new airport a few years ago, the old Stapleton Airport near downtown was closed and the property has been redeveloped into a huge master-planned community. In our case, the existing street grid heading east from downtown Orlando could be extended through the new development--how awesome would that be?

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I'd like to see down town move south across 408 or west across I-4 first. But currently I'd say that that about 80% of down town (including uptown and midtown) is run down and could be used for redevelopment without expanding teritory.

If anything KORL could be another Baldwin ... but I think it's cool that exec aircraft can find a home so close to the city core. That's a special bonus that Orlando has.

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I hear what you are saying and I agree that the quality of Architecture in Orlando needs to take a leap forward. I submit that in fact Orlando needs to take an even greater leap than it seems you are suggesting.

I will admit upfront to my own biases: my mentors are perhaps some of the most progressive, the most [biting my tongue] 'avant-guard' architects currently working [as in actually building] and one of the most prominent and prolific architectural historian/theorists in the world [some would no dount disagree and that is fine].

While the Orlando area is indeed fortunate to have buildings, as you mention, by the likes of Graves, Stern, Isozaki, etc. I believe that Orlando would benefit greatly from a concerted effort to establish a much, much more progressive paradigm.

I think that the city suffers from a kind of self-consciousness that creates a climate where otherwise experienced and intelligent people give praise to the kind of, please forgive me, lowest-common-denominator tripe that is passed much like a bad meal from the likes of FBB et al. These observers, many here it seems, are so conditioned and starved for real Architecture that they rationalize all this FBB and similar like excrement by saying something like, 'well, it could have been worse.'

I use this example because I know that they [FBB] specifically use the work of my above-mentioned mentor whom I both worked for and with as 'guides' for what they distill. I can almost picture their studio with all of the Rizzoli, Monacelli, and Phaedon monographs lying open on desks as they copy the basic forms and then strip them bare of whatever meaning and beauty they once had so as to be palatable to architecturally disinterested developers.

If I sound arrogant I do not mean to, it is just that I have always had a difficult time in understanding, really understanding why the copy is so often preferable to the real thing. 'On time, on budget, and without soul' is not a solution IMHO.

Anyway, I too see Orlando standing on the edge of a precipice; to the right is a bright future borne of vision, risk, and hard work, to the left is the continuation along the same path of mediocrity, and straight ahead is certain death. It will indeed be interesting to see which direction the city chooses to move in.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

First of all, your reply does not come across as arrogant at all. Your knowledge and eloquent explication of the topic is both refreshing and illuminating. I will have to say that from everything that i have read and perceived from afar (being on the west coast), Dyer came across as being able to steer Orlando's downtown development down the primrose path.

However, regardless of what happens politically in Orlando, I believe the climate has already been forever altered. Orlando is growing up. The residents are in a position now to shape the future of their city amd it will be exciting to see what happpens.

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