ORLANDO-Expo Centre, a 100,000-sf, 68-year-old Downtown landmark will be starting a new life next fall as Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, a newly created school at the University of Central Florida.

The building at 500 W. Livingston St. is getting a $6-million facelift in a deal the city has struck with UCF. Classes are tentatively scheduled to start in 2005. The university is also moving its film school to the Expo Centre site. About $4 million of the renovation funds is coming from a special city taxing district. The university is contributing the other $2 million from a recent $4.2-million state grant.

Undetermined, however, is the fate of the adjoining 290-room Omni Marriott Hotel which has managed Expo Centre’s bookings and provided catering services to Expo guests for the past 20 years. Under the city-UCF deal, the hotel would continue using the 25,000 sf of ballroom space at the Expo Centre for at least two more years, city staffers following the transaction tell GlobeSt.com.

Downtown brokers speculate the city has long-range plans to build additional exhibit and meeting space in a newly developed office building on the hotel’s one-acre parking lot. City staffers tell GlobeSt.com department heads are considering several development options for the parking area. Expo’s existing exhibit space totals 70,000 sf.

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