DeSantis’ Disney fight blows up major Florida real estate projects: Wall Street Journal

DeSantis’ Disney fight blows up major Florida real estate projects: Wall Street Journal
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in November 2020 (Creative Commons)

Walt Disney’s scrapping of a $900 million development in Florida has derailed other major real-estate projects that are already underway, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The company canceled plans for office space and the relocation of 2,000 workers from California earlier this month amid a brutal feud with Florida’s governor and Republican presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis.

The planned office park in Orlando had been a central part of an 11,000-acre planned community – and Disney's cancellation has put the whole development in jeopardy, the Journal reported.

Disney’s development would have taken up 60 acres of an 11,000-acre planned community called Lake Nona that's being built by Tavistock Development Co. Many of the other commercial and residential projects – as well as other housing developments in the Orlando area – had planned on the influx of Disney workers.

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More than 2,100 apartments have been built since Disney announced it was moving – compared to only 750 in the three years before, according to the Journal. Construction of another 1,200 was planned.

“Its pullout could contribute to a glut of homes in the community,” the Journal reported.

The Lake Nona development also includes restaurants and a hotel, which had banked on Disney bringing in business.

Disney “would have been a transformational development project for Lake Nona,” said Lisa McNatt, a market analytics expert based in Orlando.

“It would have resulted in a strong uptick in higher-income jobs that could have benefited the Orlando area at large.”

The fight between Disney and DeSantis started when Disney criticized a Florida law that bars classroom discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity. Several lawsuits have been filed since, with Disney accusing DeSantis of retaliation.

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