After breaking the news about the October 16th City of Orlando Appearance Review Board’s major opposition to the proposed MLS stadium design, audio recordings from the first meeting further show this is the wrong stadium, in the wrong location, at the wrong time. But just two months later, the same Appearance Review Board is all of a sudden recommending approval of the project, with some conditions, according to today’s agenda.
In October, the audio from board members included brutally honest criticism and definitely caught City officials and soccer team representatives by surprise. Let’s not forget, the October courtesy review ended with a joke about how it felt like they were back in architecture school after all the criticism, questions and suggestions.
One major concern that continues to be ignored is the fact that City officials and the soccer team intend on building a huge stadium literally just feet away from Faith Deliverance Temple. In fact, the planned entrance and pedestrian pathway are right up on the property line of the church. Back in October, this topic was addressed among other “problems” with the project, but no answers were actually provided.
“It’s just going to look funny to put this, what, 70 or 80 feet tall at its peak right next to a church?” asked one member. “And I don’t see how it works.” He added “it’s just strange.”
But the criticism piled on. “I was really disappointed when I looked at it because I thought we had a great opportunity to make a really nice stadium…it didn’t do anything for me.”
Just a month and a half ago, WFTV Channel 9 News reported how Board members called Orlando City stadium designs “underwhelming” while providing full audio recordings from the meeting with architects slamming the stadium design and location in historic Parramore. One board member, Matthew Taylor, questioned the quality of materials in addition to the design saying at the time “Why aren’t we using more high-quality materials, especially in the base of the building and really looking at design aspect of what this could be as another iconic venue in the city?” Another member said the MLS stadium does not measure up to the new Dr. Phillips Center as a community venue.
Earlier, WFTV also broke news about the $15 million added cost to City taxpayers for the abrupt decision by Mayor Dyer to move the soccer stadium. Just this week, WFTV Channel 9 News outlined the more than $27 million of hidden and additional public costs associated with the MLS soccer stadium project. While the City already spent millions of dollars to acquire land surrounding Faith Deliverance Temple, team officials made it clear the future development of that area will be city projects – meaning more public investment and costs.
Despite the original disaster at the Appearance Review Board, something seems to have changed in just a few weeks for the already behind-schedule stadium project. According to the December 2014 Appearance Review Board agenda, staff will recommend approval of the stadium. The agenda outlines minor conditions, but does not address the concerns on the record from the October Appearance Review Board meeting.