ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando City Council approved an agreement Monday afternoon to move the EA Sports facility from its Maitland headquarters to Orlando's Creative Village area downtown.
The facility would be located near downtown's University of Central Florida and Valencia College campuses. EA Sports plans to relocate 700 jobs to downtown, bringing its job count to 1,000 employees by 2025.
The $62 million facility downtown will be a 180,000-square-foot building five stories high. It will also have an attached parking garage.
Several UCF and Valencia College students attended Monday's City Council meeting in support of the new move. Many said they're happy about these plans and the chance for more jobs and potential internships.
"It’s a perfect business opportunity for them and for the people. It’s going to bring more jobs" said Valencia College freshman Christopher Hughes.
Hughes said it's also good news for the Creative Village area as a whole.
"I think it’s actually perfect to be downtown. Look at all of the entertainment, new jobs, good area where people are going to be back and forth."
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer told News 6 he supports the move.
"In order to grow an industry cluster, we have to have an anchor tenant like EA and bring 700 jobs," Dyer said.
Dyer added that the city is offering a tax incentive for money EA Sports would generate downtown. He said the funding for the tax incentive comes from the Community Redevelopment Agency's trust fund, which is used to redevelop downtown.
"We are estimating that they’ll generate about half a million dollars in tax increments, so that adds up to the 15 years and that could mean they bring down $9 million in a shorter time," said Dyer.
EA echoed Dyer's excitement for the relocation plans. The company released a statement calling it a move with game-changing potential.
“We’re excited to continue the long history of EA’s Tiburon studio in Central Florida. Not only will it be an opportunity to build a state-of-the-art facility to help our teams do their best creative work, it will also be game-changing for the potential we can have in the downtown area and the community around us. It gives us the space to invest and grow in our teams in the Orlando area, and build upon the great relationships we have with the City of Orlando, the Orlando Economic Partnership, UCF, the Florida High-Tech Corridor Council and many others helping to elevate the importance of the interactive entertainment industry to our state’s future. We look forward to this next chapter for EA in the city of Orlando, and the great work with can do with our community to continue inspiring the electronic artists of the future.”
-Daryl Holt, Vice President and General Manager for EA Sports Orlando, Austin and Madrid
Construction for the new EA facility could begin the start of 2020 and is expected to be completed by late 2021.