Executives from US Thrill Rides, Mango's Tropical Cafe, HHCP, & Euforria announce Skyplex, home of the world's tallest roller coaster Skyscraper, coming to I-Drive in 2016 (photos by Seth Kubersky)
After months of rumors and speculation, a press conference was held in a run-down former go-kart track off International Drive to confirm that the "world's tallest roller coaster" is on its way to Orlando. Skyplex is the name of a new entertainment complex to be constructed between I-Drive and and Canada Ave, which will have a first-of-its-kind 570-foot-tall Polercoaster -- dubbed the Skyscraper -- at its center.
Many details about the project -- including exactly what shops or restaurants it will host, when exactly it will open, and how they will handle any increase of traffic on already congested I-Drive, are still (quite literally) up in the air.
Here are the details we do know from today's announcement event, which featured ride designer Bill Kitchen making a dramatic arrival in a helicopter:
- The Skyplex is located north of Sand Lake Road on the east side of I-Drive, behind the Perkins and Popeyes.
- Skyplex will be located on the site of the defunct Fun N Wheels complex and adjacent bowling alley. It appears the Burger King there will be removed for the new complex.
- Skyplex with be across the street from the Mango's Tropical Cafe under construction. Both projects are developed by David and Joshua Wallack.
- Skyplex covers 12 acres, with 300 feet of frontage along International Drive. The complex will also hold a 2-story retail space, for a total of 495,000 square feet of facilities.
- The Skyscraper tower will be 570' tall, with the roller coaster wrapped around the outside, and an observation deck at 535'. There will also be a restaurant and bar at the top of the tower.
- The roller coaster will take 60 seconds to reach the top from the ground-level boarding area, and perform its first inversion at 55 stories above the ground. The total track length is 5,200 feet, and it will reach speeds of 65 m.p.h., with a total ride time of about 3 minutes.
- Skyscraper coaster cars will seat 8 (2 rows of 4) and feature "cummerbund" lap restrains with no over-the-shoulder harnesses.
- Tickets will cost "under $20" for an all-day "unlimited" ride pass, and the ride can handle about 1000 passengers per hour.
- A 1,500-car parking garage (with available valet parking) at the tower's base will enter and exit onto Canada Ave, in hopes of directing traffic away from I-Drive.
- There will also be a water and light feature built at the Skyplex.
- The project will be designed by US Thrill Rides and HHCP, and constructed by S&S and Euforria, with real estate services by CBRE Group.
- Total budget for the project is $200 million. "EB5" foreign investors are being sought, but Skyplex representative Joshua Wallack says that the project already has commitments for financing.
- Groundbreaking is planned for 2015, with an opening some time in 2016.
Google Map image of the Skyplex location
US Thrill Rides' Bill and Michael Kitchen with the Skycraper concept art.
Details from the Skyscraper concept art.
After the press conference, I went up in a helicopter to survey the site. Here are some images captured at 550 feet, approximately the height riders will be during their first inversion on the Skyscraper:
Aerial views of the future Skyplex