Universal Orlando Resort may be looking to buy up a nearby plot of land to develop into a new theme park, according to the Orlando Business Journal.
Before Tuesday’s vote that approved a massive $500 million Skyplex project on I-Drive that Universal Orlando was heavily opposed to, two Orange County commissioners told the Orlando Business Journal that the company was interested in a large lot on Universal Boulevard that is currently owned by a private equity firm named Colony Capital LLC. Apparently, Universal Orlando holds an option to buy the land.
Universal has not yet commented about the land buy, but rumor is that the theme park company already has an offer in with Colony Capital for that land, but the deal has yet to close. Universal Orlando Resort, which is owned by Comcast Corp., would have the deep pockets needed to purchase all the land in one swoop.
However, if Universal can acquire the land, there’s the potential for multiple hotels, an abundance of retail or dining real estate, and even a theme park. Universal has been successful since the opening of the first Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion in 2010, but has suffered from being landlocked with very little land to purchase in the tourism corridor.
This move would be on top of Universal’s recent aggressive construction boom with plans to open the new Sapphire Falls Resort next year, the Volcano Bay water park in 2017 and a slew of other new attractions based on properties like King Kong and Fast & Furious.
Hal Kantor, an attorney working for Skyplex, told the Orlando Sentinel that they believe that Universal’s opposition to Skyplex was because of the close proximity of both projects.
“If Universal acquires that site (the Colony properties), then they start acting more like Disney. That’s what I think this whole thing’s about. It’s hundreds of acres,” Kantor said.
Other suitors for the land include Unicorp National Developments, which is working alongside Skyplex on a nearby development that would include hotels, theaters, restaurants and shopping areas located on I-Drive.