Disney recently made a HUGE announcement about a $1 billion project it had planned for the Lake Nona area of Orlando.
In 2021, Disney purchased around 60 acres of land in Lake Nona, calling it a “regional campus” for thousands of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products team members (some would even relocate from California to Florida). The timeline for the project was extended, but then Disney announced it would not move forward with that project. So what’s going to happen to all that land the company purchased? Well, we have SOME idea.
Disney bought the land from Tavistock Development Co. LLC. According to The Orlando Business Journal, there’s a chance that Tavistock may have some control over the land again now that Disney has backed out of building its employee campus there.
A deed posted to Orange County public records for the sale of the property to Disney in 2021 contains clauses about “rights of first offer and first refusal for the seller; the existence of a memorandum of repurchase option between Tavistock and Disney; a development agreement between the two entities; and detailed use restrictions about what Disney as the buyer could build there.”
So what does that mean? It means that Tavistock may have the option to buy the land back from Disney now that Disney has canceled the project for it.
According to a land expert, Trevor Hall, executive vice president of Colliers, real estate deal clauses like this could allow a seller to buy back property if the buyer doesn’t do what was intended with it. He said, “If they were a typical developer strapped for cash, it would be one thing — they’re not. They’re among the strongest developers in the world, so they have an interest in the ability to control the future of that property.”
However, a Disney spokesperson could not confirm whether such an agreement existed between Disney and Tavistock and said that Disney was “considering next steps for the property,” per The Orlando Business Journal. A Tavistock spokesperson declined to comment.
Some folks in the Central Florida business community believe Disney could eventually change its mind about ending the project, depending on the outcome of the company’s ongoing situation with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. In that case, some believe Disney could hold onto the property until that issue is resolved and then reconsider the employee campus at a later date.
UPDATE: According to the Orlando Business Journal, not only does Lake Nona’s master developer have a say in what happens to the land, but also the timeframe in which it happens.
Orange County public records show a memorandum of repurchase option between Tavistock subsidiary Lake Nona Land Co. and Disney’s Dynamic Campus LLC said that Disney needed to reach these construction milestones:
- “Completion of 250,000 square feet of interior construction and a certificate of occupancy issued by seven years from the property sale closing date. That puts it at Sept. 14, 2028.”
- “Completion of a total of 500,000 square feet of the project by 10 years from the closing date, putting it at Sept. 14, 2031.”
Learn More About the Future of Lake Nona Here
Stay tuned to DFB for more Disney news.
I’m sure most of the California employees are happy and relieved about this. From my understanding, most didn’t want to relocate to Florida. Not because of the political climate, but because they prefer California.
Lisa S says
Like Florida needs more jobs or more people at this point! With the influx of people that land will be redirected to a new project in 2 minutes if Disney sells it back, or has to due to contract.
Richard Mercer says
If Ron deSantis thinks he can (to keep it clean) play around with Disney, he may be in for a surprise…
Robin G says
Florida is growing so quickly and housing is at such a premium, I’m sure those folks won’t be missed. Something happened when people figured out they could work remotely and live in an area with no snow and no state income tax. Rent and home prices have skyrocketed.
Richard – If you been following this story, the project hit more icebergs than the Titanic. This latest move had very little to do with the Governor. You must realize that not only the Evil Ron De Santis, but the state legislature of the state of Florida are the ones that put all this stuff on his desk to sign. You are not going to mess with Florida at this time. Population up, economy booming and education is getting better by the day. Florida is on a roll. Universal is on a roll…..Disney World is doing really good, but Disney the Corporation- not so well. All of Igers cuts that are done to increase stock prices and corporation values are going to be “blamed” on the governor, but its all a ruse for corporate profits.
Richard Mercer says
Thanks for the inside info Twilliam.
IF ONLY … it were possible for Disney World to be declared an independent public trust and separated from the Disney Corp and the State of Florida …. I know it’s just a fantasy, but isn’t that what Disney World is all about?
People are attracted to Florida because of the weather and beaches – the Caribbean of the US. But wages are low, taxes exist in the form of an abundance of toll roads, education is moving backwards not forward, women’s rights are being stripped away, the political atmosphere is toxic, and the list of unattractive reasons not to move to Florida keeps piling up. Disney is one of the shining stars that lures tourist to the state and provides the bulk of revenue to Florida. Not to mention all the people they employ, all the related businesses that rely on those tourists that Disney attracts (restaurants, airlines, hotels, rental car companies, etc.) and the major source of tax revenue they provide directly and indirectly. The loss of Disney’s $1 billion project in Lake Nona will be felt. Personally I would love for Disney to invest in other travel worthy destinations in the US, particularly New York State. NYC is internationally known and Disney already has plays on Broadway. Why not utilize New York State’s Lake Region and create an all-season in-door/out-door resort. People already travel to the Empire State for fun and culture. A Disney Themed Resort and Park would expand Disney’s reach. Just a suggestion.