Disney loses $1 billion in Florida Campus may go over other developers

Disney CEO Bob Iger and the Disney World castle in Florida
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images, Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

  • Disney̵[ads1]7;s decision to scrap the $1 billion campus could affect nearby projects.
  • CoStar Group told The Wall Street Journal that thousands of homes were built after Disney announced the campus in 2021.
  • However, the development group that owns the land says Disney’s decision will not affect it.

Walt Disney’s decision to scrap its $1 billion campus in Orlando, Fla. this month could cause many surrounding development projects in the Lake Nona community to fizzle out, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Walt Disney bought the land to build the campus in the Lake Nona community in 2021, but ultimately decided not to follow through, the Journal reported May 18. Hundreds of employees who began working at the new campus had already moved to Lake Nona before Disney announced it would abandon the plan.

Lisa McNatt, director of market analysis for CoStar Group, told the Journal that when Disney first announced plans to build in Lake Nona, 2,100 new condo units were built as a result, with 1,200 units under construction. By comparison, McNatt told the Journal, only 750 units had been built in the previous 3 years.

Representatives for Tavistock Development Co., the group behind Lake Nona, told the Journal only that it had been “intentionally curating the range of organizations, innovators and entrepreneurs that drive our ecosystem.”

They also told the Journal that 95% of multi-family housing at Lake Nona is currently occupied.

McNatt said Disney’s presence “would have resulted in a strong increase in higher-income jobs that could have benefited the Orlando area at large.”

The decision to shelve plans was part of the company’s quest to cut costs, the Journal previously reported, as well as the ongoing political battle with Gov. Ron DeSantis, which began after Disney spoke out against a law supported by the governor that would limit discussions of sexual orientation and gender in public schools.

Insider’s Kelsey Vlamis previously reported that if the feud continues, the state of Florida could see significant financial losses if Disney, the second-largest private employer in the state, decides to pull out more projects in the state — though that’s not quite happening yet, the Frist reported.

“I think DeSantis has more to lose, as this incident became clear, depending on whether, as a pretty skilled politician, he can somehow put a good face on this,” Richard Foglesong, a leading expert on Walt Disney World history and policy. told Insider.

Representatives of Disney, Tavistock Development Co. and DeSantis did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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