County Board Votes 'No' on World's Tallest Roller Coaster in Orlando
An Orange County (Florida) board voted today to recommend against approving the construction of the world's tallest roller coaster on Orlando's International Drive.
The county's planning and zoning board voted 4-3 against the proposal for the $460 million Skyplex development, which would include a 570-foot polercoaster, called The Skyscraper. The development was planned for the intersection of International Drive and Sand Lake Boulevard, about one mile south of the Universal Orlando Resort.
Universal Orlando was one of the most outspoken opponents of the project, sending representative to argue against it at today's hearing. Universal's representatives said that the project lacked a proper traffic-impact study. They also argued for imposing a height restriction as a condition for allowing the project to go forward, which would prevent the polercoaster from being built as planned. A 570-foot tower located a mile south of Universal Orlando easily could be seen from the Universal property, though it is unclear how much it could be seen from inside the theme parks.
The Skyplex's developers fought back by accusing Universal of bullying.
Ultimately, though, while Skyplex won some support, it was not enough to earn an recommendation for approval. Still, the vote today was advisory, and the proposal goes to the Orange County commission for its vote in December. If the commission votes no, the project, as currently proposed, is dead. But the commission could choose to ignore the planning board's vote and approve the project anyway. One local reporter tweeted that might happen:
Four years ago, the City of Orlando killed a proposed Orlando Thrill Park by denying zoning changes requested by that park's developers. That project would have brought 14 amusement rides to International Drive, including one coaster over 400 feet tall. Orlando Thrill Park's site was even closer to Universal Orlando, near the Wet 'n Wild water park.
As long as it wasn't made by Merlin. The Orlando Eye was such an eyesore
The developers have been doodling and redoodling these plans for years, and almost every coaster manufacturer has been linked at some point. This is one of those projects that's never going to happen but with all the hype the developers have dug themselves into a corner. I bet they're secretly pleased with the decision as they can blame the authorities and not have to confess they were getting nowhere themselves anyway.
Can a coaster around a pole be any good? I never liked coasters with tight turns and how due to it's design it constantly needs to slow down otherwise the pressure could get to high on the riders and the structure.
Robert: "The development was planned for the intersection of International Drive and Sand Lake Boulevard, about one mile south of the Universal Orlando Resort."
Feelin' a little threatened, are we Universal? ;)
Universal is just scared that they might lose a dollar they had no problems with fun spot orlando when they put all their coasters in so they need to just suck it up
A result of lobbying efforts by Universal
Universal also apparently has a height restriction to follow at no higher than 200ft due to its proximity to neighborhoods. Which with the Skyplex aiming to be over 570 ft tall, it would be about 400 ft taller than anything Universal is allowed to build. But now consider that the Orlando Eye was allowed to be built at 400ft, which the Skyplex would be located closer to than Universal, I believe the area needs more places like this that help re-define the I-Drive experience and bring it back to destination status.
Sand Lake and I-Drive are already a traffic problem. . Add in Top Golf, Mangoes and the other development and you have the recipe for 24x7 gridlock. Also consider that there's essentially no detour to get around this intersection, except going THROUGH Universal or almost all the way down to Sea World.
I can see why the project would get axed with a price tag of $460 million(!). But I'm not sure why it would be such a big deal to Universal, unless they were jealous that they couldn't do such a project like Domenik implied.
That Sand Lake Road and International Drive area is already a complete mess with all the traffic. I for one, do not want something like this in that area. How about placing it on the south end of Internationa Drive/Universal Blvd? There is a fair amount of open space down there and the traffic flow would be better.
Universal resides in the City of Orlando and is restricted by 200 foot restriction due to the proximity of the residential neighborhood.
That 200 foot height limit is a FAA regulation which also applies to Disney World which is why nothing at Disney World is over 200 feet.
There is an interesting conspiracy theory mentioned in the most recent post on tpt regarding this issue and that is LAND.
Regardless of which company is threatened by whatever proposal, this quest for the largest/ tallest/ biggest rollercoaster is a slippery slope. When does it end? And why is it so important? I understand the talent and knowledge required to design and build larger and larger structures has helped progress the worlds of architecture and engineering. But at what point do we start saying, this is actually a bad idea? Look at the Burj Khalifa... tallest building... only a few years ago had about 30-40% unoccupied offices. Of course the largest building will charge exorbitant amounts of fees to stay there. Again... why is that so important?
If you only have one true attraction it has to be a signature attraction. Sand Lake Road construction is coming in 2016 to help with traffic. But the Skyplex complex needs the walk by traffic that I Drive provides to support the balance of the business that are involved. While the tower gets the press the complex is almost 400k square feet they need a lot of foot traffic.
They're going to saturate the Orlando tourist market, if they haven't already. Everyone and his cousin is building some kind of tourist thingamajig. Remember that park which opened a couple years ago, and is already closed? Me neither.
Honestly, I am glad they are being told no.
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