The Universal Orlando Resort has resumed construction on its planned Epic Universe theme park, owner Comcast announced today.
Universal had "paused" the billion-dollar-plus south campus project due to the pandemic-induced global travel industry slowdown last year. However, we reported over the weekend that Universal had been reaching out to local contractors about resuming the project. Today, Universal made the restart official.
"The restart of construction of Epic Universe is a terrific moment for our employees and for our theme park business in Florida," Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts said. "It is our single-largest investment in the state and represents our enthusiasm for the spectacular park and the economic opportunities it will generate."
"The resumption of the Epic Universe project couldn’t come at a better time," Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings said. "Our community has so many talented workers who will benefit from this massive project. I am confident it will deliver a huge economic boost to Orange County."
Epic Universe will be built on a 750-acre South Campus for the Universal Orlando Resort, located off Universal Boulevard, next to the Orange County Convention Center. The park is tipped to include Super Nintendo World as well as lands themed to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Fantastic Beasts, How to Train Your Dragon, and Universal's classic monsters.
Since Universal paused the project last July, many creative leaders associated with the new park, including Steve Tatham and Jason Surrell, have left Universal Creative. Universal said that Epic Universe's restart will result in the hiring of hundreds of new employees at the company, plus thousands more across contractors, leading to the eventual creation of 14,000 permanent jobs.
The original plan was for the park to open in 2023, but the delay of nearly a year in the park's development should push that back to 2024, at least. Universal has not yet announced an official revision to its planned opening date for the park.
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