KPMG’s revamped plans for Lake Nona center






Good morning, Orlando!

New York-based audit giant KPMG LLP is revamping the plans for its 55-acre training center.

If you recall, KPMG received $3.8 million in economic development incentives for the training center project, including $3.5 million in tax rebates from Florida and the city of Orlando for a seven-year period and a $320,000 Qualified Target Industries tax refund through the state, which is expected to create 80 jobs by 2019.

More here on what KPMG is requesting approval from the city to change.

The new KPMG center is expected to boost the local by bringing thousands of employees into the market, creating new jobs at the facility and hundreds of third-party contract operator positions.

And be sure to check out these other Thursday headlines:

Hard Rock HQ’s Orlando departure to result in 184 layoffs

Orlando-based casino, hotel and restaurant operator Hard Rock International Inc. told the state via a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification notice, that it will lay off 184 workers starting in April through July. The company said the layoffs will be permanent. More here.

First look: Lake Nona teaching hospital plans reveal future expansion

The University of Central Florida and HCA Healthcare’s application for a new teaching hospital in Lake Nona gave a first look of the new facility and the medical spaces it will create. More here.

Orlando ‘Shark Tank’ star to roll out products in Walmart this month

Hummus king Jesse Wolfe has scored one his largest deals yet. His company O’Dang Hummus, featured on CNBC’s show “Shark Tank,” last summer struck a deal with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT). And now, he will roll out his hummus salad dressing in 2,000 Walmart stores and neighborhood markets this month.

Ridership of Brightline — which eventually will extend to Central Florida — has exceeded expectations since the train began service between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, CEO Patrick Goddard told an audience at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday. More here.

Florida House Speaker Corcoran says budget deal reached

House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, indicated Wednesday afternoon that legislative leaders have reached agreement on a budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. More here.

Disney opens StudioLAB to build VR, AI ‘entertainment experiences’

Walt Disney Studios is launching an initiative dedicated to virtual reality and artificial intelligence. StudioLAB will reimagine, design and prototype entertainment experiences and production capabilities to promote feature films, as well as music and stage plays.

Lake Nona teaching hospital plans reveal future expansion

The University of Central Florida and HCA Healthcare’s application for a new teaching hospital in Lake Nona give a first look of the new facility and the medical spaces it will create.

Development Co. is seeking approval to build the UCF Lake Nona Medical Center, which will include a three-story teaching hospital with 64 beds and shell space for another 16 beds, a 60,000-square-foot, three-story medical office building, a power house for utilities, a helipad and 592 parking spaces.

The plans, which are waiting approval for the first phase, show that would later expand the first floor of the hospital and build a future bed tower.

The hospital is slated to open in 2020 on undeveloped property adjacent the UCF Health Sciences Campus currently used for agricultural purposes.

The hospital would sit between the UCF medical school and the building housing the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute at , which UCF plans to take over once the institute vacates the property. UCF has waited for nearly a decade to establish a teaching hospital.

“Every great medical school has a teaching hospital, and great hospitals are affiliated with top-notch medical schools. If you’re sick and have exhausted all the treatments of your local hospital, where do you go for the next level of care? Many people say Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Cleveland Clinic. All of those are teaching hospitals,” Dr. Deborah German, UCF’s first dean of the College of Medicine in Lake Nona, previously told Orlando Business Journal.

Once completed, the hospital will be a living/learning lab for training medical, nursing, physical therapy, pharmacy and social work students in teamwork skills and communication.

The main access to the hospital will be provided from Lake Nona Boulevard with secondary access points from Laureate Boulevard, Humboldt Drive and Drive.

$1B ‘Vertical Medical City’ downtown Orlando

-based developer Ponte Health Properties LLC wants to create what it calls “Vertical ” in Orlando — a $1 billion three-tower complex.

The proposed, privately-funded development would deliver medical services for people age 60 and older, ranging from preventive to critical care and assisted living.

Conceptual renderings show three connected towers with a total of 2 million square feet, and one of the towers would be 550 feet tall, which is 100 feet bigger than the SunTrust tower.

One of the towers would be for urgent care, surgery and recovery. Another would be for assisted-living for those age 60 and older, and the third building would be for physician and clinical offices. Health wants to have studio apartments for physicians and registered nurses as part of the project, as well as meditation gardens and a nutritional center.

“Six weeks ago, we didn’t know we were going to be building this project,” Ponte Health founder Tabitha Ponte told Orlando Business Journal. “It was not intended to be a full-scale development. It was an exercise to see the capabilities of our group for creating something like this for Chicago. But as we progressed and presented our project to health care professionals, we started receiving interest and we explored it.”

Ponte estimates the project will create more than 1,000 jobs, and she expects it to have a $2 million-$3 billion annual economic impact, based on similar health care developments.

The company, which is seeking an equity partner, said “a major health system has stepped forward with intent to lease one of the three towers” and operate the emergency and surgical part of the project, but Ponte declined to reveal the identity of the medical partner.

Orlando Health, Florida Hospital and Lake Nona’s GuideWell Innovation Center, which is where Ponte Health has its office, all told OBJ that they are not involved in the project.

Ponte Health currently is looking at building the project on the surface parking lot at 110 W. Jefferson St., according the city of Orlando. Nothing formal has been submitted to the city regarding the Vertical Medical City at this time, although the city has received two conceptual photos and an inquiry.

Ponte said she also is looking at several other downtown sites and will need just 1.5 acres to build on, and she wants to close on a site within the next 90 days.

Ponte Health also has considered building the complex near the future Lake Nona teaching hospital that will be built by the University of Central Florida and Hospital Corp. of America (NYSE: HCA), but Ponte has not talked to or Lake Nona developer Tavistock Development Co. about that idea.

If the development does get built in downtown Orlando, it would be between the Florida Hospital and Orlando Health downtown campuses, but Ponte said the new Vertical Medical City wouldn’t compete with them. “We are doing something different; it’s a particular demographic we are serving. My scale would be significantly lesser and specialize in a hospice and assisted living. I’m trying to create an experience for a demographic that’s not currently being taken care of. It will be a contemporary experience — modern with extensive green spaces within the building itself. I want it to feel like you’re still outside.”

She said the project also will also be high-tech with artificial intelligence systems and other technologies to help patients. “When I was a hospital patient after suffering a small stroke, I kept thinking, ‘Why is the building not helping me?’ That’s what’s really driven this company and project — our intent about the building helping the patient.”

Ponte said the group has a Feb. 8 pre-application meeting with the city of Orlando.

Here is the projected timeline of the project:

  • Approval for development: Summer/fall 2018
  • Foundation/site package: Spring/summer 2019
  • Break ground: Fall/winter 2019
  • Building package: Spring/summer 2020
  • Vertical construction: Winter/spring 2020
  • Construction completion: Winter/spring 2023
  • Occupancy: Summer/fall 2024

Lake Nona parent launches Tavistock Hotel Collection


Billionaire Joe Lewis’ Tavistock Group on Jan. 30 announced the launch of the new Hotel Collection that will oversee two new hotels planned to break ground in this year.

The new entity will oversee a “growing” hospitality portfolio, including the Tavistock Lake Nona Resort and the Tavistock Town Center Hotel in the southeast community. Kit Pappas — a 30-year hospitality veteran who previously was COO of  hotel developer and manager Capella Hotel Group — was appointed vice president of hotel management.

“It’s significant when an organization like Tavistock — known around the globe for its smart investments and commitment to excellence — says they want to create an innovative opportunity in your industry,” Pappas said in a prepared statement. “We now have an opportunity to create new brands and experiences with the same excellence, creativity and ingenuity that Tavistock is known throughout the world for, and I for one wanted to be a part of that from day one.”

Along with the Lake Nona project, the new Tavistock Hotel Collection will include additional properties in the future that focus on “exceptional services and delivering one-of-a-kind experiences.” In fact, sister company Tavistock Development Co. LLC recently bought Fort Lauderdale’s Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina, with plans to reimagine it as the city’s social harbor.

“As we look to our future and that of Tavistock’s growing portfolio of world-class properties, the creation of the Tavistock Hotel Collection will allow us greater opportunities to engage with our customers and create more fulfilling experiences,” Tavistock Development President Jim Zboril said in a prepared statement. “This collection will only further these efforts by offering us these additional engagement opportunities.”

Meanwhile, here’s a closer look at the two Lake Nona properties:

Tavistock Lake Nona Resort

The new eight-story iconic performance resort and spa will feature one of the nation’s largest man-made Crystal Lagoons bringing the “beach” to Central Florida in 2020. The project, which will feature 250 guest rooms and 80 condos, will be built between the Lake Nona Golf & Country Club and the USTA National Campus. It’s expected to appeal to athletes, leisure travelers, incentive groups and families. Amenities will include 20,000 square feet of meeting space, an expansive rooftop lounge, a 120,000-square-foot beach volleyball venue, and a major fitness and spa campus. Miami-based Arquitectonica is the project architect.

Tavistock Town Center Hotel

The 16-story, 215-room as-of-yet-unbranded hotel is planned for the center of the overall, more than 3 million-square-foot Lake Nona Town Center, which is planned to become a destination for shopping, dining and entertainment when it debuts in late 2019. The 16-story, full-service hotel will be targeted to leisure travelers, business professionals and style-conscious guests. Amenities will include a 24-hour fitness center featuring Technogym equipment, an 80-seat restaurant and a vibrant rooftop pool and lounge with private event capabilities.

Check out the photo gallery for a closer look at the two properties.

The 17-square-mile Lake Nona is one of Central Florida’s hottest communities. It notched the No. 15 spot among the nation’s top-selling master-planned communities with 523 home sales in 2017, John Burns Real Estate Consulting reported. Additionally, the community already boasts more than 11,000 residents, 5,000 employees in its 650-acre life sciences hub, plenty of new activity in the 300-acre Sports & Performance District, and more than 11,000 students at its schools.




Rubio’s Coastal Grill, known for their amazing fish tacos that have taken California by storm. They’re now opening a location at the Lake Nona Landing Shopping Center due to open at the end of 2017.  This will be the 2nd location in Central Florida. Rubio’s Coastal Grill currently has a popular Winter Park location.

The San Diego-born chain, founded by a college-aged surfer and made famous for its fish taco recipe, rose to fame when it toppled Chipotle to become the top-rated Mexican restaurant chain in America in 2015

Rubio’s Coastal Grill has a strong comment to fresh ingredients and refuses to use additives like artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, added MSG, high-fructose corn syrup, food coloring, partially hydrogenated oils and much more.

Tavistock snags nearly 200 vacant acres near Lake Nona




An affiliate of Lake Nona’s developer spent cash to buy nearly 200 acres of cow pastures on the border of Orange and Osceola counties.

Springhead North LLC, an entity related to  Development Co. LLC, on Jan. 31 spent $15 million — or nearly $77,000 per acre — to buy three parcels of land from Carter-Lake Away North Land Trust, Orange County records showed.

The land isn’t contiguous to Lake Nona, but rather is on the east side of Narcoossee Road along Clapp Simms Duda Road in Orange County and along Cyrils Drive in St. Cloud, southeast of . Two parcels are in Osceola and the third is in Orange, property records showed.

It’s unknown what’s planned for the property and representatives from Tavistock were immediately unavailable for comment.

Daryl Carter of Maury L. Carter & Associates Inc. declined to discuss details of the sale, saying only that his family has been representing that land through trusts for about 40 years.

However, Carter did say proximity to Tavistock’s 17-square-mile booming community of is what made that land valuable.

“If you get in a helicopter only about 100 feet above ground, you can see Lake Nona and what Tavistock has done there with Medical City and everything else,” Carter told Orlando Journal. “It’s all very innovative, transformative, generational, impactful things. And this land is in that core of influence.”

Lake Nona is one of Central Florida’s hottest communities. It notched the No. 15 spot among the nation’s top-selling master-planned communities with 523 home sales in 2017, John Burns Real Estate Consulting reported.

Additionally, the community already boasts more than 11,000 residents, 5,000 employees in its 650-acre Medical City life sciences hub, plenty of new activity in the 300-acre Sports & Performance District, and more than 11,000 students at its schools.

Innovation Way: Moving East Orlando into the Future



In October 2004, Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine wrote,East Orlando “Ultimately, innovation is about continually pushing back the boundaries of what is possible. The article was titled, “The Way to the Future.” This could easily have been a direct reference to East Orlando’s Innovation Way high-tech corridor.

On August 13, Joe Wallace, executive director of the Orange County Research & Development Authority stated, “Southeast Orlando is poised for huge economic opportunity,” during his remarks to an Urban Land Institute panel discussion on Research Park and Innovation Way. He emphasized Innovation Way is on the leading edge of regional innovation, business development and job growth. But how did we get here and what’s next for the region?

How We Got from Then to Now

An aerial shot of and Research Park from the 1960s (left) with how the campus and surrounding area looks today.

This “Blueprint for the Future” was first outlined in Orange County Mayor Richard Crotty’s 2005 State of the County Address. Mayor Crotty’s intricate, but comprehensive scheme outlined his vision for a high-tech business development strategy for east Orange County that would link the northern developed portion of Orange County with the “largely undeveloped” southern portion.

In April, 2010, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners approved Ordinance No. 2010-05 creating a “Jobs-to-Housing Linkage Program” for Innovation Way. This ordinance clearly defined the Mayor’s transformational vision in the Board’s findings: “….creating economic catalysts, such as clean industries and technology parks…creating and retaining high-value jobs and businesses…vital to the sustainable economic growth of Orange County and Metro Orlando and diversification of the region’s economic employment base.”

Plans called for the 90,000-acre corridor to extend from the University of Central Florida (UCF) south to International Corporate Park, then west toward Lake Nona and end at Orlando International Airport. It is the heart of East Orlando’s ‘innovation ,’ dubbed by some as the “new Silicon Valley of the East.” Central to the plan is the widening and extension of Alafaya Trail (SR 434) south, past Avalon Park to SR 528.

From the residential locations of Waterford Lakes, Avalon Park, Moss Park to Lake Nona, business and residential development are thriving. “We will see thousands of high paying jobs created by companies locating and expanding in Innovation Way and the , along with those jobs will come the need for support jobs such as retail, housing construction and others” said Carol Ann Dykes of UCF’s Technology Incubator in a 2008 report.

Of course, ‘Pushing back the boundaries of what’s possible’ means change is often a double-edged sword; as there are winners and losers, and change brings disruption. Despite getting off to a bumpy start, Innovation Way planners have modified and improved their plans and honed in on the good in order to maximize return on investment and the economic power-shot this can bring to East Orlando.

The Emphasis is on Economic and Environmental Balance

The Nemours Children’s Hospital, part of the emerging Medical City at Lake Nona, is visible traveling eastbound on S.R. 417 on August 10, 2013. The hospitals, medical research and bio-tech facilities of Medical City are one of the key Innovation Way “anchors.”

To achieve this, one of the most ingenious Innovation Way developmental framework features is the emphasis on the long-term, ‘sustainable economic opportunity and results’ advanced by Orange County’s Future Land Use Element, Goals, Objectives and Policies and the September 2007 East Central Florida Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. It incorporates best practices thinking that strives to minimize undesirable consequences that could undermine future economic health and quality of life.

The UCF Connection

The ‘culture of economic innovation’ and diversity owes much to UCF’s specializations in technology, business, finance, research and medicine. It has a core partnering role in developing everything from Innovation Way’s agri-technology to its defense and aviation/aerospace initiatives.

It continues on in the Research Park complex that has grown up around UCF and extends to Lake Nona’s Medical City, which includes the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, University of Florida Research and Academic Center, Orlando VA Medical Center, Nemour’s Children’s Hospital, Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, the M.D. Anderson – Orlando Cancer Research Institute and the UCF College of Medicine.

A Glimpse of the Future

According to the Board of Orange County Commissioners Ordinance No. 2010-05, the specific “high tech/high value jobs” goal is to generate growth in high tech fields like “medicine, physics, biology, chemistry, engineering…especially those dedicated to research and development.” High value jobs include jobs in any industry, with average annual salaries that exceed 115 percent of the average wage in Orange County as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics or the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation.

The implications of this are enormous. According to an economic impact study conducted by the Milkin Institute and Arduin, Laffer & Moore Econometrics, the medical college alone could generate $1.4 billion a year in economic activity and more than 6,400 jobs by year 10. The Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission estimates by year 10, the life science cluster could create 30,000 jobs with $7.6 billion in economic impact.

According to a December 2005 Innovation Way Economic Development and Environment Resource Management Study, biotechnology and life science industries feature more than 500 biotech companies, 42,000 workers and $3.6 billion in annual earnings. The photonics industry has also added about 70 companies, 20,000 workers and generated $20-50 million in annual revenue. The potential development of a Research Park# at International Corporate Park (ICP) will provide added opportunity.

Finally, the balance provided by this infusion of high tech/high value jobs (avg. wage above $80,000) will provide much needed balance to the lower wage employment offered by the travel, tourism and hospitality industries.

These winds of change are a tailwind for Southeast Orlando innovation and prosperity.


Florida Hospital would invest $100M in Lake Nona’s Sanford Burnham

and Tampa’s H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center have joined forces to compete with the University of Central Florida for an asset transfer agreement of the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute at Lake Nona.

Hospital has robust research programs and a commitment to collaboration with top-quality research and biopharma organizations. As a long-time research partner through the Translational Research Institute, Florida Hospital has the experience to leverage the investment that has been made in Sanford Burnham Prebys scientific infrastructure. For these reasons we have engaged with them in discussions to steward the medical research enterprise at Lake Nona into the next phase of operation,” showed documents provided by Sanford Burnham to  Journal.

Florida Hospital essentially would turn the 175,000-square-foot facility that’s winding down operations into a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, which would be a first in Central Florida.

“Our proposal represents a tremendous opportunity to advance cancer care and research in the state of Florida. Florida Hospital and Moffitt Cancer Center are the top two providers of cancer care in the state. Bringing together these two organizations will accelerate the pace of advancements, bringing both hope and life-saving treatments to Central Florida more quickly,” Steven Smith, Florida Hospital senior vice president and chief scientific officer, said in a prepared statement.

The implementation of the designed plan focuses on five core programs that will be modeled on the existing Phase I program at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa and include:

  • Basic and translational research: It will allow the hospital to create new methods of care in a research environment and attract biotechnology and biopharmaceutical investments.
  • Precision medicine research clinic: It would convert 10,000 square feet of renovated space for cancer patients, who are at the highest risk of progression or poor response to therapy, to enroll into clinical research protocols.
  • Phase 1 clinical research: It would be a clinical care unit providing access to breakthrough treatments through Phase I clinical trials and research protocols not currently available in Central Florida.
  • Drug discovery: This will bring basic, translational and clinical research at the site to accelerate the discovery-to-treatment process and bring new therapies to patients.
  • A stem cell laboratory: That will have immunotherapy technology to fight against leukemia.

Renovations would begin this year: Upgrades for the stem cell program would take nine months to complete, and renovations for the precision medicine and Phase 1 clinical research programs would take roughly a year to finish.

Florida Hospital estimates the proposed strategy will create at least 205 private sector jobs by the fifth year, and 315 jobs over 10 years. The average base salary of jobs created will be $84,946. Included in the job numbers are 50 of the Sanford Burnham employees who are trained in drug discovery. In addition, eight contracted technical staff members would be retained.

Meanwhile, also wants to turn the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute into a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. Its plan would result in 300-plus high-wage jobs and include more than $85 million in private investment. Read more on UCF’s plan here.

Both Florida Hospital and UCF will present their proposals to the Orange County Commission on Jan. 23.


Adventist Health System buys Lake Nona land for $9M

Adventist Health System, parent of Hospital, just bought more land in southeast ‘s community that potentially could be used for several medical purposes, including a freestanding emergency department and/or an outpatient surgery center.

Freestanding emergency centers typically are owned and operated by licensed hospitals. The facilities are not connected to a main hospital campus, but offer the same comprehensive 24/7 emergency services. The number of such facilities is on the rise in Florida, in part due to overcrowded ERs and a desire to grow hospital system revenue. Such facilities also act as a toehold for future hospitals.

Adventist spent $8.975 million on roughly 15 acres on the north and south sides of Lake Nona Boulevard, according to documents filed on Dec. 15. The land is adjacent a 67.24-acre site Adventist bought last year, which currently is zoned as grazing land and doesn’t have any structures built on it.

The land is 13 miles from Florida Hospital East Orlando on Lake Underhill Road.

Adventist representatives were not immediately available for comment on what it plans to develop on the site.

The latest land sale deed restricts Adventist to a maximum of 145,000 square feet to be used for medical offices, an emergency department, an outpatient surgery center, and health and wellness services that can include chiropractic services, general physical therapy and rehabilitation services. The deed also allows for dining, vitamin and nutritional supplement retail sales, day care and a church or other place of worship.

Lake Nona’s currently houses the Orlando VA Medical Center, which opened last year, and the 5-year-old Nemours Children’s Hospital, and plans are in the works for a 100-bed University of Central Florida/HCA teaching hospital expected to open by the end of 2020 adjacent ‘s 50-acre College of Medicine campus.

Snapshot of $172M worth of Lake Nona projects underway

The fast-growing, 13,000-resident Lake Nona community in southeast Orlando is dotted with cranes, piles of earth and the machines to push ’em around.

Among developer Development Co.’s projects underway are three valued at  $172 million combined:

Flip through Orlando Journal‘s slideshow for a closer look at these developments emerging out of former pasture land.

Lake Nona is home to several businesses, including the new $430 million KPMG training and innovation center and New York-based Drive Shack Inc. (NYSE: DS), a new global golf entertainment company opening its first location in Lake Nona in 2018.