2009 Message from the Mayor
to Community Partners
January 30, 2009
Dear Community Partner:
As a part of our commitment to provide ongoing updates, I am pleased to
report on the progress of the Community Venues. You’ll recall we are
reviewing the financing plan for the Venues as a result of Tourist
Development Tax (TDT) revenue not being realized. This is based on
Orange County’s projections of a five percent decline in TDT, coupled
with the current economic climate and challenging financial markets.
Based on my direction and that of my partner, Orange County Mayor Rich
Crotty, City and County staff met this week to further discuss possible
funding alternatives. Several weeks ago, I outlined considerations for
staff to utilize as a guide when developing solutions to go forward with
Complete all three venues. Bring
the projects out of the ground to provide the economic safety net
our residents and businesses need during these challenging times.
Develop a prudent funding model
that utilizes only those public sources already committed by the
City and County and does not burden local taxpayers.
Preserve the commitment to
downtown, and maximize the economic impact from this investment.
Explore redesign or reconfiguration of the projects to leverage the
investment in a revitalized urban core.
Mitigate impacts to the project
schedules. Analyze all funding options and determine which structure
allows the projects to proceed and deliver much-needed economic
stimulus to our community.
Since then, staff and our outside
financial experts have continued their analysis and work. Under the
current financing plan – and assuming the County’s projected five
percent decline in the TDT – the construction of the performing arts
center would face at least a three year delay. Additionally, the needed
TDT revenue for the Citrus Bowl would not be realized until at least
2020 … a 10-year delay.
Again, I cannot emphasize enough how critical a package of public works
projects like the new Events Center, the Dr. P. Phillips Performing Arts
Center (DPAC) and a renovated Citrus Bowl Stadium are to our region
during tough economic times. We are talking about much-needed jobs and
economic benefit for our residents and businesses. These are amenities
we need to position Orlando for decades to come. We cannot simply
wait. It is time to move forward with enhanced Community Venues for our
Below is an overview of the key points being considered as we continue
our due diligence:
Maximizing Current Revenue Sources
Currently, the Community Venues financing plan is comprised of
multiple sources, including revenue from the Community Redevelopment
Agency (CRA) and the TDT. As I advised in the last update, a review of
downtown real estate values was recently completed to produce a
conservative revenue forecast for the CRA. The projection shows positive
growth despite the current economic downturn.
Due to recent growth in the CRA, the City is evaluating the viability
of directing additional CRA funds toward the construction of the
performing arts center. This potential alignment could substantially
reduce the use of TDT revenues for this project.
The Interlocal Agreement clearly establishes a priority that TDT
revenues must first fund the performing arts center prior to being
available for the Citrus Bowl. Reducing the TDT obligation for DPAC
would allow TDT revenue to flow much quicker and more directly to the
Citrus Bowl. This realignment will allow the Citrus Bowl to proceed with
a minor delay versus waiting a decade or more, while allowing DPAC to
proceed close to its initial timeline.
In the meantime, staff continues its analysis of cost-reduction measures
including timing, project schedules, site configuration and other
options to reduce the overall project budget for the Venues.
Specifically, DPAC understands that it must reduce its total project
cost by $25 million without impacting the quality design of the venue.
Discussions have also continued between adjacent property owners
including CNL and the First United Methodist Church – Orlando, in an
effort to explore site reconfiguration for the performing arts center,
or options to allow the project to go forward with a modified project
Additionally, staff is also evaluating moderate structural upgrades to
the Citrus Bowl that can be made prior to the complete renovation in
order to keep the venue competitive in the bid for Bowl Games and
As City and County staff complete due diligence on an adjusted financing
plan, recommendations will be brought forward to the Orlando City
Council, the CRA, the Board of County Commissioners and community
I appreciate the continued community collaboration as we work to develop
a plan that realizes the vision of three world-class Community Venues
for Central Florida’s residents. Please let me know if you have any