ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – By late 2020, the Cinderella Castle will not be the only castle in Orlando’s tourist district, because 3.5 miles away will be the world’s largest White Castle. The fast-food chain announced Monday it’s bringing its tiny square hamburgers to Florida.
“There’s no other place that we wanted to be other than Orlando,” said Jamie Richardson, a White Castle spokesperson. “When it comes to specifically finding a site that was a process, it took us some time but when we saw it, we knew it was the one.”
The largest White Castle ever will be constructed at the future O-Town West development. Crews haven’t broken ground yet but when it’s complete O-town West will span a few hundred acres. The development will start with an 82-acre shopping area with plans to lease to restaurants, shops and a hotel in 2020.
The site was purchased by the developers Unicorp led by President Chuck Whittall. Unicorp also purchased the Orlando Icon, Starflyer and other restaurants and attractions to Central Florida.
“It was time for us to do another deal,” Whittall told News 6 hours after White Castle announced it’s leasing at O-Town West.
The site is at the corner of Palm Parkway and Daryl Carter Parkway: 2.1 miles from Sea World, 3.5 miles from Disney World and 6.9 miles from Universal Studios.
“Where else would you find a couple of acres between Universal and Disney that is undeveloped,” Whittall said.
Whittall said he held off buying the land because it was somewhat hard to get to, with the only available exits off I-4 being Sand Lake Road and 535.
“I kept saying, it’s not right, it’s not ready yet, it’s still a little premature,” Whitall said.
That was until officials with the I-4 Ultimate Project announced they were adding an exit on Daryl Carter Parkway.
“Then all of a sudden it popped. It was time to do it,” Whitthall said. “The interchange got announced, they are going to close Crossroads at Disney, they are going to put a new interchange right on our property.”
That new interchange has also already attracted a new apartment complex and shopping center called Vineland Pointe.
“Cheesecake Factory just went there, a theater is going to go there, a Target is going to go there so everything happening on the east side of the highway is wonderful for us,” Whithall said.
It's also wonderful for the economy, according to UCF Professor of Hospitality, Kevin Murphy.
“The growth is additional tax income, additional jobs, additional expansion of the economy so those are all real positive things for this kind of growth,” Murphy said.
O-Town West hopes to open in 2020. White Castle hopes to have its doors open in late 2020.