Disney will no longer be moving forward with developing a new corporate campus in the Orlando area that a report in The New York Times said would have cost some $1.3 billion, with much of that money presumably to be spent in the local economy in central Florida under the abandoned plans.
Beyond the construction stage, the effort would have moved roughly 2,000 jobs into the same area, providing yet another boost to the local economy as these people and their families (some of whom work in an area inside Disney known as Imagineering) spent the average salaries of $120,000 a year. Comments credited to Disney exec Josh D’Amaro didn’t specifically mention the company’s ongoing stand-off with Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, but that back-and-forth has reached such a fever pitch that it’s difficult to imagine the developments as separate. Disney’s “battle with the governor and his allies in the Florida Legislature figured prominently into Disney’s decision to cancel the Lake Nona project, according to two people briefed on the matter,” according to the Times.
Disney has even sued state authorities in Florida after a governor-backed team moved to void previously approved development plans after that supervising board with the governor’s backing took shape.
The mutual antagonism traces to statements Disney made in opposition to the Florida GOP-led initiative known as “Don’t Say Gay” that limited classroom discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida schools. Both through additional legislation and state administrative action, those restrictions have since been expanded and now cover every grade before college in Florida public schools.
One of the original perks for Disney leading it to pursue the now cancelled corporate expansion in central Florida was a tax credit that would have led, according to numbers in the Times, to what could have passed half a billion for Disney on their accounting documents over two decades, and hundreds of staff members for Disney already moved to the area where it was planned their work would now be based. The governor’s team said in a prepared statement provided to the Times that “nothing” ever emerged following Disney’s announcement of plans for the abandoned Orlando-area expansion, which just doesn’t seem accurate. Other construction projects associated with Disney’s longstanding presence near Orlando are still planned. Read more at this link.