ORLANDO-Reacting to a relatively new commercial real estate development category, Van’s Inc. of Santa Fe Springs, CA is rushing to complete a 50,000-sf air-conditioned indoor skate park and an adjoining 10,000-sf outdoor skate park at the under-construction, 1.1 million-sf Festival Bay shopping center at the north end of tourist-intense International Drive in south Orlando.

Van’s is shooting for a Dec. 15 opening which will make the recreational equipment retailer of skateboards, inline skates and bicycles the first commercial player on the Central Florida block of extreme sports facilities. Skaters would pay by the hour, week or membership to use the facilities.

Van’s officials couldn’t be reached at GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline to learn construction costs. But construction industry estimators tell GlobeSt.com both parks will probably be built at about $80 per sf or $5 million total. Van’s also plans to operate a retail store at the facilities.

Van’s plans come as Walt Disney World and Woodward Camp of Woodward, PA complete negotiations on the construction of a $40 million, 150-acre pay-for-play arena at the Lake Buena Vista, FL tourist destination.

The Disney-Woodward venture would be built between the four-year-old, 140-acre Wide World of Sports complex and the 1,000-room All Star Resorts hotel. GlobeSt.com reported those plans in a July 31 article.

Disney-Woodward hope to have the facility operating by late 2002 or early 2003. Disney’s ESPN cable television sports network has been broadcasting extreme-sports competitions for the past three years.

Skate part development interest is also catching on in nearby Central Florida communities where smaller-scaled facilities are planned. For example, in tiny Tavares (Pop. 9,980), the county seat of Lake County, the city council plans to complete a $150,000 skate park in December at the city-operated Woodlea Road sports complex off State Road 19. A $95,000 skate park was built last year on YMCA property in Tavares.

Across the country, skate parks are popping up in numerous suburban locations. In Duluth, a northeast Atlanta suburb, the first ESPN-sponsored park is expected to open in early November at the Discover Mills mall.

The 45,000-sf park is being built at an estimated construction cost of $3 million or about $60 per sf, local construction industry estimators tell GlobeSt.com. The park, one of a dozen in the Atlanta suburbs, will host the nationally broadcast X-Games on ESPN.

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