The City of Orlando will vote today on a proposed plan by the Orlando Magic to build an entertainment complex next to the new Amway Center. The Magic want to buy 7.82 acres of land the city owns which houses the Orlando Police Department Headquarters, a City parking garage, and neighbors the Orlando Union Rescue Mission, one of Orlando’s oldest and largest homeless service providers (which the Magic also want).
But here’s why this is another bad deal for Orlando. According to the agreement:
First, the Magic want to purchase the land from the City for only $12.7 million. The City of Orlando just finished paying off the parking garage with bonds from parking revenue at a cost to taxpayers of $11.5 million. That’s just for the parking garage.
That same City parking garage also generates around $300,000 in city revenues which will now be lost. Did Dyer factor those revenues into his budget he just passed?
In addition to that, there is no new Orlando Police HQ yet so that means the City of Orlando will rent the OPD headquarters back from the Magic at a cost of $100,000 per year. Yes, it makes sense: let us sell you our Police HQ and then rent it back from you immediately since OPD has no other place to operate.
Buddy Dyer is also agreeing to pay another $2 million in taxpayer dollars to help the Magic build the conference center. Another corporate welfare giveaway with your tax dollars!
But wait – the deal gets worse. Dyer and the City Council are ready to agree to this proposal even though the city does not have a ballpark estimate for how much Pine Street Extension could cost taxpayers. They are agreeing to a deal that will cost an undisclosed amount of money…again.
On top of all this, the City of Orlando is taking responsibility to clean up any contaminated and toxic land for the Magic on the project site, despite not knowing the costs or extent. Most of the land in Parramore is now being exposed as contaminated and it looks like the threats and risks extend further than Dyer and the City of Orlando want to admit.
So if you are left scratching your head at why Buddy Dyer and his fellow city commissioners think this is a good deal for taxpayers, you’re not alone. Here we go again.