ORLANDO-Downtown Orlando is seeing new life with thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions worth of new projects planned or completed. Indeed, Downtown Orlando is growing more diverse as it strives for live-work-play status, but there are still sore spots for O-Town to overcome in its self-proclaimed economic renaissance.

The recovery has its roots in the newly-minted Amway Center. On Oct. 1, a $480 million, multiuse sports and events facility made its debut. Home to the Orlando Magic, the 875,000-square-foot Amway Center has put thousands of people to work and is driving revenue businesses that otherwise might have closed during the ongoing economic slump. “We have an events center that seats about 20,000 with parking for only about 2,500 cars,” Thomas Chatmon, executive director of the Downtown Development Board, tells GlobeSt.com. “That means the majority of patrons have to park off-site in the central business district and walk to the event. That’s wonderful for western downtown’s retail, restaurant and entertainment venues. The Amway Center has already helped decrease the retail vacancies downtown.”

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