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Council Watch

Church holds out on city's soccer stadium dream; new rules at Amway Center benefit Magic more than city



Sure, there would be plenty of feel-good civic thawing coming with the approach of Orlando in February on this week’s council agenda: It’s almost Get Active Day (GAD!); we need to talk diversity and Black History Month, people. But most important, of course, we’ve the melted Velveeta boosterism of the UCF Knights Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Champions Day to contend with! Fittingly, sports would be a continuing theme throughout this pep rally.

The city approves a resolution of necessity for acquisition of the soccer stadium property.
Translation: As has been somewhat highly publicized, though the city has spent $8.3 million to acquire the majority of the property it wants to build its new $84 million soccer stadium upon, there remains one holdout: a black church in Parramore. The city was willing to go in at twice the property’s $695,000 appraisal, but the Faith Deliverance Temple was aiming for $35 million, plus $3 million to rebuild. Suffice to say that the city wants none of the appearance of avoidance of sacrilegious gentrification, and is willing to pull out the “eminent domain” wild card of property condemnation. The city is still pretending to negotiate though, because appearances matter.

The city approves the first amendment to the events center use agreement between the city and Orlando Events Center Enterprises LLC (or, the Orlando Magic).
Translation: Speaking of venue boondoggles, the city continues to own the $480 million Amway Center, even though every concession has been made to give Rich DeVos and his Orlando Magic the actual ownership that matters. This long-winded amendment doesn’t change the infrastructure of the confusing ownership and use agreement, but it does clarify some parts of it that appear to favor the Magic’s bottom line. Look for new regulations on salty snacks, garage marquees and cruise ship packages! Whatever. It’s all magic to us.