When it comes to our elected officials competing for jobs, I’m all for it.
Whether its Ron DeSantis, or Rick Scott back when he was governor, traveling to other states like California, Illinois, or New York to approach companies about coming to Florida, I’m there rooting for them.
“Take em them all and bring them to Orlando. ‘You don’t know the half of it?’ They’re gonna know when that business is cutting the ribbon here in Central Florida. Heh, heh.”
Sadly, the competition can go hyper local from time to time. Like yesterday, when Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced Electronic Arts would be moving to the Creative Village Downtown bringing somewhere between 600-1000 jobs with them (story HERE).
And that those jobs would be coming from Maitland just a few miles down the road on I-4.
I mean it’s a celebration, but we shouldn’t be celebrating too hard.
The Lockhart neighborhood, which is less than three minutes away from where EA currently sits in one of Maitland’s busiest areas is where I grew up. I know the area well and there is a lot going on. Most of it positive with eyes on a future that appears to want to be more than just a downtown suburb.
Maitland Blvd aka the 414, is undergoing a massive expressway renovation and widening. This was to alleviate the gridlocked caused partially by traffic around the current EA headquarters and to open up the route to the 429 which can get you to either Winter Garden or Apopka in less than 20 minutes.
Apartments and condos have sprouted up directly behind EA and it currently houses some of their workers with hopes of luring even more young professionals to fill their units.
Retail spaces in the Gateway Crossings area and just down the road past the Orange/Seminole County border are still being improved with business that want to feed these workers during lunch and want to be an easy shopping destination for them before and after work.
And yes, there is the Lockhart neighborhood. Which is always forgotten in the scope of development for both the City of Orlando and Orange County. It would be great to continue seeing next level business development that could continue to keep the area connected.
Now, let’s get leveled for second. There are other important entities in the area. Seminole State College has a campus there. Advent Health and ADP also employ quiet a few in the area. It’s not the end of the world.
But what we have is an area that ready to support growth, and has already demonstrated it’s ability to be a business satellite for the downtown area, being abandoned for an area that will only become more crowded in the years to come.
The solution here is replace EA with another business that ensures that both areas keep humming. Luckily, we still have time before the move is scheduled to take occur.
That means going back to what got us here in the first place. Find another company to fill the void in Maitland. Preferably a company that is from out of the area, so that we’re not faced with the same problem.
And in the future, the goal here should be to create a Greater Orlando Metropolitan area where business can thrive anywhere, not just the downtown. That’s true job creation strength there.