Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Ripley's buys large tract of land in the tourist district, and no one is really sure why

Posted By on Tue, Jan 3, 2017 at 6:00 AM

click to enlarge Image via Random Hangers
  • Image via Random Hangers
Universal Boulevard has a become a hot spot for new developments with Andretti, TopGolf and tons of new apartments opening over the next year. Now Ripley’s is looking to get in on the action. The famous attraction company, known best for their odditoriums, recently purchased 23.2 acres across from the Orange County Convention Center.

The $23 million purchase could mean more Ripley’s attractions coming to the Orlando market. The property is near the large Universal property strongly rumored for a new theme park, hotels, and other resort amenities. It’s also next to the new TopGolf and Andretti Indoor Karting attractions.
Ripley’s does have one Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium in Orlando next to I-Drive 360. Built and opened in 1992 that nearly 9,000 sq. ft. museum is the only presence of the Orlando-headquartered amusement company, but Ripley’s does have a number of other brands that have no Central Florida presence.

With I-Drive 360 pulling in major crowds and at nearly full leased, Ripley’s could be looking to make its’ own village of attractions nearby. In St. Augustine, Ripley’s has found success with its’ Red Train Tours that circle the historic town center. Those hop-on and hop-off sightseeing trams are similar to the trolleys that currently operate along I-Drive. Orlando also doesn’t have anything similar to the haunted houses that Ripley’s operates nor do we have anything similar to their mirror mazes. Ripley’s does currently have a small headquarters office nearby. Having a single location to showcase the numerous different attractions available for potential franchisees would be beneficial to potential future expansion plans. Being directly across from the convention center also positions the property to be ideal for larger corporate events.

The property is near residential areas though so noise might of concern. Such a prominent location near both the Beachline and I-4 would also be ideal for a new warehouse and office complex. Universal is strongly rumored to be moving some offices to its’ property nearby and the tourism industry association, IAAPA, is opening a new headquarters less than two miles away. Darden Restaurants, Rosen Hotels, Visit Orlando, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, and theme park design company Dynamic Attractions all have major offices nearby.

With so much happening nearby Ripley’s has many options for its new 23-acre property and for now they’re not revealing what they plan to do with it.

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