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New Orlando Arena Set for Fall ’10 Tipoff

Wed December 23, 2009 - Southeast Edition
Zoie Clift

A sports landmark is in the works in downtown Orlando, Fla.

The Amway Center, which is scheduled to open in fall 2010, will be home to the NBA’s Orlando Magic and at 875,000 sq. ft. (81,290 sq m) and 8.75 acres (3.5 ha) it will nearly triple the size of the Orlando Magic’s current home arena.

“This will be one of the most technologically advanced event centers in the world when it opens,” said Robert L. Rayborn, RA, LEED AP Construction Executive Sports and Public Assembly Group of Turner Construction Company, which is managing the project.

The center, which also is set to host national events and concerts, will feature a modern mix of metal and glass exterior materials. There will be a 120-ft.- (36.5 m) tall glass tower (with features such as 200 LED lights and an observation deck on top) that will serve as a landmark for the downtown area while anchoring the arena to the adjacent I-4 highway. It also is being designed to meet criteria for environmentally sustainable construction under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system.

“We will be the first NBA arena to be certified as LEED to my knowledge,” said Rayborn. He said there are currently two other LEED buildings that have been certified that he knows about including the Phillips Arena in Atlanta and the American Airlines Arena in Miami. He said the new Consol Center in Pittsburgh for the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins also is scheduled to be a LEED facility.

According to Rayborn, LEED credits are available for construction features that include recycled content of materials, the use of regional materials and construction waste recycling.

The total cost of the Amway Center is $480 million. Of that $270 million will come from Orange County’s Tourist Development Tax, $114 million from the Orlando Magic, $30 million from the state of Florida, $18 million from interest earnings and the city of Orlando is committing $100 million toward land and infrastructure. The city of Orlando will operate the new center.

According to Turner Construction Company, there were around 525 workers on-site last month. Gate Precast and Schuff Steel are currently working evenings and the project is averaging around 10 workers per overnight shift. “Challenges are a 25- month construction schedule coupled to a very technical advanced structure,” added Rayborn.

Equipment on site includes tower cranes (Peiner SK405s from National Crane Services, Inc.) with 76 and 168 ft. (23.1 and 51.2 m) jib and 80 and 164 ft. (23.3 and 49.9 m) jib, rated at 22,000 lbs. (9,979 kg) each. The total roof structure weight is 2,140 tons (1,941 t) including all connection material (gussets, stiffeners, etc), catwalks, hoist platform, ring beam, nuts, bolts, etc. The long span truss weight is 794 tons (720 t). Mobile cranes and Manitowoc 2250 lattice boom crawler crane were used for erecting the roof structure while a Link-Belt 248 lattice boom crawler crane and a 100-ton (90.7 t) crane were used to erect the steel portions. Around 3,000 tons (2,721 t) of structural steel and 33,000 cu. yds. (25,230 cu m) of concrete were used on the project.

According to information provided by Joel Glass, vice president of communications for the Orlando Magic, the new arena is part of the city’s Downtown Master Plan, a plan that also involves improvements to the Citrus Bowl and building a new Performing Arts Center.

Populous was selected as designer of the center and the main construction team for the project includes Hunt Construction Group in association with Rey Group, R.L. Burns Inc., HZ Construction Inc. and Albu & Associates. Local architecture firms C.T. Hsu + Associates and Baker Barrios Architects Inc. assisted with the arena’s design. Both firms were selected as part of the city’s Blueprint Initiative, which outlines a goal of 24 percent minority participation in contracting for the project.

“The Orlando Magic recognizes the importance and long-term benefits of using Minority Business Enterprises and Women Business Enterprises [MBEs/WBEs] in the development of Amway Center,” said Alex Martins, COO of the Orlando Magic.

To date, 35.6 percent of the contracts, equaling $85.9 million, have been awarded to local minority and women business enterprises, including companies in Parramore, the neighborhood in which the center is being built.

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