Orlando City are picking up and moving. One block, to be exact.
On Monday, club president Phil Rawlins and Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer revealed an updated location for Orlando City SC’s downtown soccer stadium, shifting the site one block west of the original location along Church Street in order to ensure the venue will be ready for opening day in 2016.
The shift west comes immediately after the city dropped eminent-domain proceedings against the Faith Deliverance Temple, the church whose property was the final piece of the real-estate puzzle for the footprint for the $110 million stadium. In order to begin play at the new stadium in 2016 – Orlando will spend 2015 at the renovated Citrus Bowl – the team couldn’t afford to delay construction any longer.
The basic design of the stadium will remain the same, with plans calling for a capacity of 19,500, but the new site includes additional space for future development, infrastructure and premium amenities.
“We applaud the mayor for finding an alternative solution that is a win for everyone involved,” Rawlins said in a statement. “The new location allows us to remain on schedule to play our matches in the new stadium starting with the home opener in 2016. Our fans will benefit from added amenities created by the new location such as more entertainment areas prior to and after the matches.
“Importantly, this is also a win for the community of Parramore,” he added. “Orlando City is committed to Parramore’s future and we will serve as a role-model for service and citizenship. We have a proven track record of delivering on our promises, and we look forward to working closely with our community partners.”
Orlando City also announced they will form a committee of Parramore leaders to help stadium designers incorporate elements of the community into the structure.
“We recognize the rich tradition of the community and its deep connection to residents,” Rawlins said. “Therefore, we will incorporate elements into the stadium, such as the Carver name in respect to the legendary theatre that resided on the site many years ago, to honor the heritage and educate visitors on the history of Parramore.”
The new venue, designed by Populous, a firm that has designed a range of MLS and international soccer stadiums such as Sporting Park, BBVA Compass Stadium and Wembley Stadium, will also feature roof canopies that cover front-row seats on the east, west and north ends that are designed to “enhance and amplify” the crowd noise in addition to offering protection from the elements.
Other amenities include luxury boxes, lounge areas with views of the field, a single-deck supporters section with an open-air “pub-style” area on an elevated concourse for use only by supporter-section members and a full-size lion statue on a rotating base.