Skyscraper, world's tallest roller coaster, announced for Skyplex on I-Drive

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Executives from US Thrill Rides, Mango's Tropical Cafe, HHCP, & Euforria announce Skyplex, home of the world's tallest roller coaster Skyscraper, coming to I-Drive in 2016 (photos by Seth Kubersky)
  • Executives from US Thrill Rides, Mango's Tropical Cafe, HHCP, & Euforria announce Skyplex, home of the world's tallest roller coaster Skyscraper, coming to I-Drive in 2016 (photos by Seth Kubersky)

Executives from US Thrill Rides, Mango's Tropical Cafe, HHCP, & Euforria announce Skyplex, home of the world's tallest roller coaster Skyscraper, coming to I-Drive in 2016 (photos by Seth Kubersky)

After months of rumors and speculation, a press conference was held in a run-down former go-kart track off International Drive to confirm that the "world's tallest roller coaster" is on its way to Orlando. Skyplex is the name of a new entertainment complex to be constructed between I-Drive and and Canada Ave, which will have a first-of-its-kind 570-foot-tall Polercoaster -- dubbed the Skyscraper -- at its center.

Many details about the project -- including exactly what shops or restaurants it will host, when exactly it will open, and how they will handle any increase of traffic on already congested I-Drive, are still (quite literally) up in the air.

Here are the details we do know from today's announcement event, which featured ride designer Bill Kitchen making a dramatic arrival in a helicopter:

  • The Skyplex is located north of Sand Lake Road on the east side of I-Drive, behind the Perkins and Popeyes.
  • Skyplex will be located on the site of the defunct Fun N Wheels complex and adjacent bowling alley. It appears the Burger King there will be removed for the new complex.
  • Skyplex with be across the street from the Mango's Tropical Cafe under construction. Both projects are developed by David and Joshua Wallack.
  • Skyplex covers 12 acres, with 300 feet of frontage along International Drive. The complex will also hold a 2-story retail space, for a total of 495,000 square feet of facilities.
  • The Skyscraper tower will be 570' tall, with the roller coaster wrapped around the outside, and an observation deck at 535'. There will also be a restaurant and bar at the top of the tower.
  • The roller coaster will take 60 seconds to reach the top from the ground-level boarding area, and perform its first inversion at 55 stories above the ground. The total track length is 5,200 feet, and it will reach speeds of 65 m.p.h., with a total ride time of about 3 minutes.
  • Skyscraper coaster cars will seat 8 (2 rows of 4) and feature "cummerbund" lap restrains with no over-the-shoulder harnesses.
  • Tickets will cost "under $20" for an all-day "unlimited" ride pass, and the ride can handle about 1000 passengers per hour.
  • A 1,500-car parking garage (with available valet parking) at the tower's base will enter and exit onto Canada Ave, in hopes of directing traffic away from I-Drive.
  • There will also be a water and light feature built at the Skyplex.
  • The project will be designed by US Thrill Rides and HHCP, and constructed by S&S and Euforria, with real estate services by CBRE Group.
  • Total budget for the project is $200 million. "EB5" foreign investors are being sought, but Skyplex representative Joshua Wallack says that the project already has commitments for financing.
  • Groundbreaking is planned for 2015, with an opening some time in 2016.

 

Google Map image of the Skyplex location
  • Google Map image of the Skyplex location

Google Map image of the Skyplex location

 

US Thrill Rides' Bill and Michael Kitchen with the Skycraper concept art.
  • US Thrill Rides' Bill and Michael Kitchen with the Skycraper concept art.

US Thrill Rides' Bill and Michael Kitchen with the Skycraper concept art.

 

Details from the Skyscraper concept art.
  • Details from the Skyscraper concept art.

Details from the Skyscraper concept art.

Aerial views of the future Skyplex
  • Aerial views of the future Skyplex

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After the press conference, I went up in a helicopter to survey the site. Here are some images captured at 550 feet, approximately the height riders will be during their first inversion on the Skyscraper:

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Aerial views of the future Skyplex

helicopter2jpg

helicopter3jpg


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