Universal Orlando Reveals Land Expansion Price

February 3, 2016, 9:43 AM · In its most recent earnings report, released this morning, Universal owner Comcast revealed that it paid $130 million for the 475 acres of land that it recently bought near Universal Orlando. Comcast said only that the land was near one of its theme park properties, but the size matches the parcels near International Drive in Orlando that the company recently purchased.

At this price, the purchase averages about $274,000 an acre, which would be a crazy, ridiculously good price (for Universal) on commercial property in the heart of Orlando's tourist zone. A quick search of commercial property sales databases online showed asking prices of $500,000-$650,000 an acre for commercial land in the area bounded by Disney and Universal.

The Sand Lake Road complex that Universal bought is spread across several parcels, but the main parcel, located northeast of the Orange County Convention Center, is about 340 acres. That's plenty of room for a major theme park, including hotels and other retail development. For comparison, Universal Studios Florida occupies 107 acres.

Want to put this purchase in broader perspective? Try this:

Universal has not yet announced any plans for the property.

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Replies (10)

February 3, 2016 at 1:52 PM · Conversely though, Universal's then owner, Vivendi, sold that same property plus apx. 1300 additional acres for about $70 million during the early part of this century. It's not a bad deal now, but it would have been so much better if Vivendi didn't fire sale all of that valuable property back then. Vivendi basically gave that land away.
February 3, 2016 at 11:43 AM · If you're looking for an atrocious and limiting land fire sale, when AB InBev sold what became SeaWorld Entertainment, InBev kept all the land around SeaWorld Orlando and sold it off piecemeal. This severely limited expansion opportunities and led to the park being surrounded by a bunch of ordinary chain hotels and restaurants. Sure, those hotels have resort-area signage and some SW branding elements, but there's no master plan and no walkable resort area. It severely hampered SeaWorld's ability to create a Universal Orlando / Disneyland resort for its three parks in that location. (SW would have been much better off building a parking deck where Aquatica is, and putting Aquatica in the SW parking lot along with shops/restaurants/hotels.)
February 3, 2016 at 11:57 AM · We can confirm that Universal is planning on using two new secret franchises called “Get the Hell Out of Here” and “No Trespassing”. I found this out when I went down to the site to take a look around. They confirmed these new franchises when I asked some of the people who were looking around the site trying to figure out where the churo stand should go.
February 3, 2016 at 12:54 PM · Standing & Applauding the Jef Elliott post.
February 3, 2016 at 1:44 PM · Hey has anyone heard what Universal plans on doing with Nintendo? I feel like they announced a partnership with Nintendo and then did nothing. Shouldn't they be planning on revamping a section of a theme park or building something new? or somewhere new? or both?
February 3, 2016 at 3:01 PM · There must be a "No Dumping" franchise too. I just heard three more "Fast and Furious" movies are coming. I can think of a place to put the new franchise attractions.
February 3, 2016 at 4:11 PM · If they build a third park - it will be the first serious threat to Disneys domination of the tourist industry in Orlando.

Build three parks, increase operating hours, improve transport connections and you will see people move over to Universal, and their resorts.

As great as the Universal resorts are now, they are seen by a majority as a (superb) diversion for a few days.

February 4, 2016 at 11:41 AM · I look forward to them extending Universal. I just hope it doesn't take them as long as Disney is taking to create the Stars Wars Land.
February 4, 2016 at 1:08 PM · Nintendo is reportedly, according to insiders, replacing Kidzone at Universal Studios. A Mario Kart ride next tech attraction, A Donkey Kong mine train type coaster with next tech features, Peach's Castle, are what I've heard so far on Orlando United. Supposedly 2 E tickets & 2 C ticket attractions. Nothing official though.
February 6, 2016 at 1:24 AM · That just made me imagine the third Universal gate as a Magic Kingdom style park. Hub & spoke layout, with a Main Street-type entrance leading up to Peach Castle, and then branching out into other lands. I'm not saying or suggesting that they would have a Nintendo park. Just imagining the Disney-style park layout with Peach Castle in the middle.

Whatever happens, I trust Universal to do an amazing job. My only hope is for a monorail to connect the new area to the old area, as nobody wants to ride buses on I-Drive or I-4.

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