Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Port Canaveral plans for new entertainment complex and a new CEO

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2015 at 9:00 AM

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA SOONER-COLLETT
  • Photo via Sooner-Collett

Most of the focus regarding Port Canaveral over the past week has been around the unexpected resignation of Port CEO John Walsh. While few would argue that Walsh led with a bit of an iron fist, his business friendly approach (while playing a part in downfall) has brought major investment into the port.

A big part of Walsh’s contribution to the port has to be The Cove, a large entertainment and dining complex that the port is currently developing. The complex is "anchored" by Exploration Tower, which has been impacted by the lack of new developments within the district.

The week before Walsh resigned, the Port Authority signed off on the latest proposal by some developers. That happened during a special workshop focused on The Cove and the future of retail within the port complex.

The approval will allow the developers to have interested parties sign letters of intent, an important step in any large commercial development. The proposals so far focus on restaurants, retail and a possible hotel though the hotel aspect has been silent in the most recent talks.

Most of the new developments will likely be opened by 2017 with groundbreaking in 2016 for many of the businesses. Currently, at least three parties are interested in developing plots within The Cove, including one group that currently owns the Port Canaveral Milliken’s Reef restaurant. While multiple stakes holders will be involved in the owning, building and managing of businesses within the complex, The Cove will have a uniform design standard throughout.

On the agenda for this past Wednesday’s Commissioners’ Meeting there was an item to allow for interested third parties to solicit new attractions for the development. Attractions have long been part of The Cove development. The idea of these smaller one-off attractions is, in part, to keep visitors in the area before/after their cruises while also giving the beach and KSC visitors another option in the area.

One possible attraction recently proposed was a smaller Florida focused aquarium that would be owned and operated by the Brevard Zoo.

Unfortunately, we will have to wait to find out what type of attractions The Cove may see as the attraction solicitation item was pulled from the agenda of last Wednesday’s meeting, the same meeting that Port CEO John Walsh announced his resignation (effective Jan. 21, 2016).

There is no indication that the Walsh’s resignation will affect the entertainment district plans, especially the ones that were approved earlier in the month during the special Cove focused workshop. Details on when the proposed attraction agenda will be taken up by the Port Board of Commissioners. 

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